Marriage problems are difficult to generalize because each situation and each couple is different. But one thing is universal: at the root of most problems is a feeling of not being emotionally supported. Here are some tips on how to understand your partner’s emotional needs.
Our parental figures not only serve as our role models but also set our personal standards. And oftentimes, we unconsciously bring those expectations into our relationship. The bride brings with her everything that her mother and father taught her about what a good wife and husband should be. And that becomes her standard. The same thing goes with the groom.
The problem with some wives is that they don’t articulate their needs to their spouses, thinking that ‘if he truly loves me, he ought to know these things.’ But, our goal as a couple should be the mutual fulfillment of each other’s needs, thus, we have to ‘intentionally tell our partners what we want and need.’
Needs of men vs needs of women
Men and women are wired differently. Thus, their hierarchy of needs also differ. Maribel enumerates the top five needs of men and women, according to American clinical psychologist and marriage counselor Willard F. Harley:
a. Sexual fulfillment. Set aside time for lovemaking. Allow the kids to sleep in your room only three or four times a week, so you’ll have an opportunity for intimacy.
b. Recreational companionship. Husbands and wives should continue being friends and doing things together. Make time for a weekly date and an annual vacation, minus the kids.
c. An attractive spouse. Look after yourself, it will make you feel better and also keep hubby interested!
d. Domestic support. Most men like having domestic chores like cooking and cleaning done for them.
e. Admiration. Like us, men also want to feel appreciated, valued and cherished. Many illicit affairs start because wives neglect this need.
On the other hand, women crave other kinds of things.
a. Affection. Women often associate affection with security, comfort, protection and approval. When a man shows his wife affection, he also sends the message that he’ll take care of her, stand by her, and protect her.
b. Conversations. When women have intimate conversations with their spouse, it reassures them and make them feel loved and supported.
c. Honesty and openness. A woman needs to be able to trust her husband completely. When a man doesn’t maintain an honest, open communication with his wife, he undermines her trust.
d. Financial support. Women need to feel financial secure for their family’s needs.
e. Family commitment. A woman needs her husband to be a good father and to be committed to the family.
Ask yourself: Are you meeting the needs of your spouse? Which areas do you need to work on?