What a Wife Needs from Her Husband: 5 Vital Things

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Hey there, gents. I’m so glad you’re here. This post is all about what a woman needs from her husband. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re looking to understand your wife just a bit better. That’s awesome. Learning what our spouse needs from us is one of the essential keys to a happy marriage

As I stated in the companion piece to this post, what a husband needs from his wife, is that needs in marriage and needs in relationships are incredibly complex. Not only are humans complicated folks, but each woman is unique and has her own distinct emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. 

This means that there’s no script or pattern to follow to become the perfect husband. Luckily, that’s not what your wife expects of you, and that’s not what she needs! And it’s always good to remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage. So what does a wife need from her husband? 

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of things that spouses need from one another in marriage. There will be things you’ll discover as you go; unique needs that your partner has. You’ll figure out how to help meet those needs or support your partner to help him meet those needs. As your marriage grows and changes, these needs might change and morph a bit too.

Instead of trying to create an exhaustive, all-consuming list of things a wife needs from her husband, this post will emphasize the essentials. If you can get these right, you’re well on your way to building a strong foundation of love, support, and connection.

A quick note: This post is written from my perspective, that of a heterosexual married female. While I don’t think these particular needs are exclusive to women or to wives, I’ve written from this perspective. You can certainly apply these precepts to your own relationship. These are things a husband often needs as well.

What a Wife Needs from Her Husband

Respect

Perhaps more than anything else, a woman needs and desires respect from her husband.

Marriage is a partnership of equals, and the most successful marriages are those that not only recognize this fact, but celebrate it. While you can–and should–appreciate the differences between husbands and wives and between men and women, your marriage will thrive most when you focus on it being a union of two complete partners.

Respect comes in many forms, but in marriage, it often looks like a reciprocal “give and take.” It means sharing everything: the responsibilities, the decisions, the burdens, and the lightening of the burdens. It means recognizing your spouse’s value and regularly letting them know you see and appreciate that value.

You can give your wife respect by listening to her ideas and opinions, and valuing her suggestions. Making household decisions is generally a shared venture in this modern age, but if you find you’re often slipping into an overly-authoritative role, make a concerted effort to consider her opinions more deeply. And sometimes, let her word be the final one. Compromise is an important part of respect in a relationship, and the sharing of decision-making and action-taking can be a huge element in this. 

Another way to respect your wife is by praising her openly and often, not only to her directly, but in front of others. Isn’t it awesome when you hear your spouse bragging about you to their friends? Talk your spouse up frequently, even if they are not present. This sets a foundation of mutual respect that goes beyond the marriage boundaries. It shows that you have tremendous respect for them and value what they bring to your relationship and to your life. And it shows you’re not afraid to recognize them for this. 

Affection

Everyone wants to feel loved. Love and affection are truly the hallmarks of an intimate relationship. What a woman needs from her husband is love, especially in the form of affection. There are different ways to show affection and be affectionate, though most often we think of affection in its physical expression.  To be the best husband you can be, it’s important to figure out how your wife feels most loved. (Hint, check out the five love languages for a deeper look at this).

Even if Physical Touch isn’t your wife’s primary love language, your wife longs to be touched and held affectionately.

Physical intimacy is important for all humans. Even science agrees that touch is essential to physical and mental wellbeing. And all of us can probably agree that being affectionate just feels good!

Affection can include sex (which is an important element in a romantic relationship), but it is integral not to forget the “softer” forms of affection as well. Holding your wife’s hand. Cuddling on the couch. Resting her head on your shoulder in bed, with your arms around her. A quick kiss in the kitchen. An unexpected passionate kiss. All of these actions, big and small, add up to make a woman feel loved and treasured. 

If affection has been lacking in your marriage, it’s something you can rectify fairly easily, simply by making the effort to express affection every day. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but merely working to connect physically each day can make a big difference in marriage. In fact, regular physical affection is one of the top habits of happy couples

Read Next: 15 Great Books on Marriage and Relationships

Deep Connection

Women want to feel deeply connected to their partners. This is connected to physical intimacy, but it also has a lot to do with emotional intimacy: really knowing a person. 

Your spouse is the person with whom you likely have the deepest connection. (There’s a reason, after all, that we look for our “soulmates.”) But there’s always room to go deeper, or to make the emotional connection stronger.

Deep connection on this level is one of the biggest things wives need from their husbands. And your wife wants to know that you value this emotional connection and that you are invested in it. 

Now, many men don’t have an issue with this at all, but for some men (and women, too) this type of profound connection is difficult, scary, or uncomfortable. The scary part? Having to be vulnerable and open up to another person. Don’t worry, many of us struggle with it. But ideally, your marriage should be a safe place to be your most vulnerable. 

How can you improve your connection with your spouse? 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Regular conversation with authentic communication

Just talking to your wife is the basis for connection. Your wife needs you to have conversations with her, not just about the mundane details of your daily lives, but about the deeper things, too. And the bigger picture. If you need some prompts for having deeper conversations, check out our list of 150 conversation starters for couples. Also take a look at our relationship check-in questions.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with your partner. Try your best to be honest about your feelings, your flaws, and your own story. More on how to be vulnerable in a relationship is coming in a future post.  

  • Opening up to your wife about your problems

Another way to deepen your connection is by sharing your problems and your struggles. From the smallest issues at work to bigger, more emotional concerns, starting to share these with your wife will not only strengthen your marriage, but will be good for your mental health, as well. 

Your Attention

This brings me to my next point: attention, which is related to building connection. (Spoiler alert: all of these tips are connected, ultimately.)

Your wife wants your undivided attention. Not constantly, but sometimes. Attention is easy to give, but our modern world, with all its distractions, makes it hard. One of the simplest ways to be more attentive to your wife is to put down your phone when you’re talking to her. Honestly, this small habit can make a big difference. (She might be guilty of it, too, so consider having device-free times during the day when you are talking or spending time together).

One of the best things you can do for your wife is to work on being a better listener. This is a touchstone of great communication in relationships, and when you become a great listener, all of your communication improves dramatically. 

When I first met my now-husband Nathan, I was impressed by how good a listener he was. He would remember small details from previous conversations and ask follow up questions about things I’d forgotten I’d even mentioned to him. It was something that definitely attracted me to him. 

He’s still a great listener these days, and he inspires me to be a better listener myself.

Listening is hard. It’s far too easy to focus on formulating our response or listening to what we “think” our partner is saying. When is the last time you actually listened to your partner? Their words, their tone of voice, their body language. You can try an exercise called mirroring together that helps the two of you improve your communication skills. It is part of Imago Dialogue. Learn more about it here.

Thoughtfulness

Finally, husbands. Your wife needs you to be thoughtful. Again, this can connect to the other things a wife needs on this list. Being thoughtful includes listening attentively and making space for quality time together. 

And in its simplest form, thoughtfulness means doing nice, meaningful things for your wife. Any way you can show your wife that she’s on your mind and that you prioritize her wellbeing. If you’re not sure how to do this, it never hurts to ask your wife! Ask her how you can help her out. How can you reduce her burden? How can you give her time for herself today? These are incredible ways to be thoughtful. 

Thoughtfulness can be acts of service like that, but it can also be small, meaningful gestures, like buying her a gift or leaving her a sweet, surprise note. (Again, this is a great excuse to learn about one another’s love languages). Thoughtfulness can be part of romance, as well. See our post on creating more romance in a relationship.


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