What Your Husband Doesn’t Know

A Wives Only Wednesday Post

5 Things Your Husband Needs to Hear From You Consistently

In my previous post, I gave husbands the five things every wife longs to hear on a daily or near-daily basis. Today I’m speaking to wives about the things most husbands long to hear from their wives regularly.

I’ll say to you wives what I said to husbands last time: you may think he knows these things full well, but the truth he probably doubts them, and even if not, he still appreciates hearing them from you frequently. If your husband doesn’t know these things, if he doesn’t hear them from you consistently, then what your husband doesn’t know can hurt him and hurt your marriage.

I Love You

The things that say “I love you” to your husband aren’t the same things that say “I love you” to you. And although your husband likely doesn’t have the same insecurities you do when it comes to being loved, he still wants to feel your love. While expressions of affection, kind or romantic gestures, and even just hearing him say that he loves you might tick the love box for you, it is the things I list below that are most effective in making your husband feel loved. When you say and show him these things consistently, his heart will come alive.

I Appreciate You

Most husbands have a strong desire to provide for and protect their wives and families. It’s a key part of their identity. So it should come as no surprise that this is an area of vulnerability for many men. When you express your appreciation to him for all he does for you and for your family, it goes a long way toward making him secure in his identity. Thank him for the work he puts in both outside and inside your home. Tell him how much it means to you that he is a responsible, capable provider. Thank him for covering your family with his leadership and for wanting to do what is best for you.

I Need You

Even if you are a strong, capable, and independent woman, and maybe especially if you are, your husband wants to know that you need him. Invite his participation in your everyday life. Ask him to help by providing practical assistance, even if you feel like you can handle it all yourself. Ask for his input on the problems you are wrestling with. Ask him to pray for you. Tell him how important it is to you to hear his opinions. Most husbands long to be helpful and supportive. Let him be that for you.

I Want You

This may be a bit of a leap for you, especially if you have a lower sex drive or if you aren’t used to expressing yourself sexually. I understand that women tend to have “responsive” desire, where they typically don’t feel desire except in response to being aroused during sexual interactions. Whereas men tend to have “assertive desire.” which means they feel desire in anticipation of arousal and sexual activities. Despite this important difference, your husband still longs to know you want him sexually, and the best way to send that message is to initiate sex with him regularly. I should clarify that subtle hints or expressing willingness and availability won’t be received by your husband as a desire for him. No, if you want to tell your husband, “I want you,” it will take much bolder action. My friend and fellow marriage blogger, Chris of The Forgiven Wife, has some helpful insights on what initiation looks like to most husbands.

I Respect You

There is a reason that the biblical instructions on marriage in Ephesians 5 conclude with this statement,

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Whereas feeling loved is most often highest on a wife’s list of needs, feeling respected is a higher priority for most husbands. In his book, Love and Respect, Emmerson Eggerichs explains this important dynamic in great detail. In the book, he describes “the crazy cycle,” in which a husband who feels disrespected often responds by being unloving, which in turn leads to greater expressions of disrespect and more unloving behavior. The good news is that the crazy cycle can be reversed by intentional acts of respect (on the wife’s part) or intentional acts of love (on the husband’s part).

crazy energizing

What does respect look like? Showing respect mostly means giving priority to the things he says matter to him, regardless of whether or not you”get it.” As a small example, Jenni doesn’t chew gum around me because she knows I have a strong dislike for it. Respect can also mean sticking to the budget, dressing in ways you know he likes or texting him when you safely reach your destination. The point is to find out what’s important to him and then acting accordingly. And as it turns out, showing appreciation, relying on him, and expressing your desire for him, as explained above, will also contribute to your husband feeling respected.

If you want to love your husband well, and I believe you do, think about expressing it in the areas described above. These are the things your husband is hungry for. These are the things that he longs to hear from you on a regular basis.

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