My wife Ashley and I recently sat down with a couple who had drifted apart and they were desperately trying to reconnect as a couple. We guided them through some questions to help them get to the root of where their relational drift had started and how they could take steps to reconnect. They weren't intentionally hurting or neglecting each other, and yet, they both felt hurt and neglected. Simply put, their needs weren't being met.
After some good discussion, they both realized where they had room for improvement in helping and serving each other. They seemed encouraged and optimistic about creating some new habits that would help them both. All marriages go through seasons where one or both spouse's feel that his/her needs aren't being met, and left unchecked, this can create resentment and eventually even divorce. Remedying the problem often begins with simply identifying what his biggest needs and her biggest needs actually are.
Every couple is different, so I don't like making generalizations, but after communicating with countless couples both online and in person, I'm convinced this list below accurately represents most men and most women. Obviously, you need to communicate with your spouse to determine how his/her needs may differ from this list below. There are many more needs than what I'm listing below, but this will give a good start. Instead of just listing needs, I'm going to break this down into four key categories:
1. In the OVERALL RELATIONSHIP, her biggest need is love and his biggest need is respect
The groundbreaking book "Love and Respect" by Emmerson Eggerichs beautifully outlines this simple yet profound principle that most women have a deep and abiding need for love and most men have an equal need for respect. This is displayed in both our words and our actions. Women long to hear the phrase, "I love you"with frequency and authenticity and men long to hear phrases of respect and appreciation like "Thank you" or "I appreciate you" with the same frequency.
2. In the BEDROOM, her biggest need is sensitivity, his biggest need is frequency
Men tend to (not always) have a greater need for high frequency in the bedroom, but they also need to be sensitive to the fact that wives are wired differently. Mutual pleasure and connectedness in the bedroom requires the husband to be sensitive to his wife's need for emotional connectedness and not just the physical act itself.
3. In COMMUNICATION, her biggest need is frequency, his biggest need is activity
The need for frequent communication for most women tends to be as important as the need for frequent sex for most men. When I say "activity" as a communication need for men, I mean that women tend to view communication/conversation as an activity in and of itself, but for men, we tend to base communication around some other activity. The activity could be something as simple as going on a walk or a drive or working together on a project. It tends to help men open up more.
4. In the HOME, her biggest need is security and his biggest need is peace
Most wives want the home to be a "safe place" where their husband is working in partnership with them to meet the family's needs and providing stability and security (financial, physical and in all other ways). For men, most want the home to be a refuge where they can experience tranquility away from the pressures of work and life. Every home (especially with young kids), will have plenty of moments of noise and chaos, but overall, work together with your spouse to create an atmosphere of encouragement, support, safety and tranquility for everyone under your roof.
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.