Core Needs of a Woman
Participants will understand that in God’s word, He created men and women to complement each other, not to be identical to each other. Although men and women have basically the same needs, the way each sex prioritizes those needs differs quite dramatically. This difference in priority is the cause of many misunderstandings and much unnecessary unhappiness. By understanding each other’s needs and complementing each other the way God intended we are not competing with each other, but rather building each other up. In order to build a satisfying marriage relationship, a husband needs to understand what needs are most important to his wife.
I. Husbands and Wives are True Partners:
First of all, let’s look at what God’s word tells us about the nature of the relationship between husbands and wives (Genesis 2:18-24). When God made Eve, he did not make her from Adam’s skull bone, which would illustrate her dominance of Adam or from his foot bone, to show that he should dominate her, but rather from his rib bone, the bone nearest his heart, to show that they should be loving partners, walking side by side through life. However, in any partnership, someone has to be the senior partner. Otherwise, how would it be possible to always reach a decision? Ephesians 5:23 says that the husband is the head of the wife in the same way that Christ is the head of the church. Think about this. Christ died for the church! He willingly sacrificed himself and what He wanted to do in order to help (that is, to save) the church. So being the senior partner, the head of the wife, isn’t about always getting your own way. It’s also about doing what is best for your wife and family, even when you may suffer a bit as a result!
II. Husbands Must Love their Wives Unconditionally:
Participants will understand that God made women so that they crave emotional intimacy that is, love, most of all. That’s why God says, over and over, in Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, 33a that husbands must love their wives. The word God uses here is “agape” (ah-gah-pay). Agape means you must love your wife because you have decided to love her. Not because she pleases you. Not because she deserves your love. Not because you feel loving emotions towards her. Husbands must love their wives unconditionally, because they have decided to love them. This is the same way that God loves us. Emotional intimacy is not as important to men as it is to women. But because it is very important to women, God has commanded husbands to love their wives. And because emotional intimacy may not be that important to husbands, husbands must constantly remind themselves that it is very important to their wives. Husbands, you must be very sure that your wife understands clearly that you love her very much.
III. How to Show Your Wife You Love Her:
How are you going to be sure that your wife understands that you love her very much? Ask her if she feels that you love her. Ask her what you do that makes her feel unloved. And tell her you love her! Often! But your actions will also say a great deal about your love for her. God’s word tells husbands to protect their wives physically. In Colossians 3:19 husbands are reminded not to be harsh with their wives. Being verbally or physically abusive does not demonstrate love. Husbands must provide a safe, secure environment for their wives, or they will not feel loved. (I Peter 3:7) Be considerate of your wife. Spend time with your wife, give honest compliments to her from time to time, be physically affectionate, bring her a bouquet of wildflowers or a special treat, and help her in small ways occasionally. All of these things will say “I love you”.
Husbands and wives have the same needs, yet prioritize them differently. Husbands, resolve today to meet your wife’s need to feel loved and cared for. Your wife will love and respect you for genuinely caring about her.
Why do we need to understand our spouse?
Participants will learn that one of the big reasons for conflict in marriages is that couples fail to make each other happy. In this situation couples become frustrated because their needs are not being met. This means that as a husband or wife you may be failing to care for your spouse.
Couples will learn that in order to properly care for our spouse, we must first understand them. Lack of knowledge contributes to this failure because men and women have great difficulty understanding the value of each other’s needs. Men tend to try to meet needs that they would value and women do the same. The problem is that the needs of men and women are often very different and we waste effort trying to meet the wrong needs.
The importance of having our needs met is so strong that when they’re not met in marriage, we may be tempted to go outside marriage to satisfy them. This poses a huge risk for contracting HIV. But aside from avoiding HIV, meeting important emotional needs of our spouse should be because we love and care for them.
When a man and woman marry, they share high expectations. They commit themselves to meeting certain intense and intimate needs in each other on an exclusive basis. This means that each person agrees to only allowing their spouse to meet these intimate needs and also only meeting the intimate needs of their spouse. Sex is one of these intimate needs that should only be shared between husband and wife.
Participants will learn that Marriage is a very special relationship. Promises are made when we marry someone and this means we should be committed to meeting some of their important needs.
Loving your wife
Love your wife in the same way you love your body and yourself. (Ephesians 5:28-33)
The Bible tells a husband to love his wife as his own body. Take a moment to analyze what you do for your body and how you feel about it. You provide physical care for your body throughout the day. If you are hungry you may eat or if you are tired you may sleep. When your body has a need or an urge, you are quick to take care of it.
Likewise, a husband should care for his wife throughout the day, attending to her needs and providing for her in different ways. A husband should feel the pain of his wife’s illness and rejoice in her health. A husband must learn his wife’s sexual desires and move to meet those needs. Basically, whatever need or desire a wife may have, whether it is physical, spiritual, emotional, sexual, or relational, it must be met with the husband’s full attention and effort. In this way he can serve her and love her as he does his own body.
The most important needs that women have.
Affection is the expression of care and is probably the most important need of a woman. Affection shows security, protection, comfort and approval- important ingredients in any relationship. When one spouse is affectionate toward the other, the following messages are sent:
o You are important to me.
o I will care for you and protect you.
o I’m concerned about the problems you face and I will be there for you when you need me.
Participants will learn that simple gestures and actions can say those things. And there are many other ways to show our affection: holding hands; eating a meal together, taking a walk together; phone calls; sending a text message; a small gift like flowers; and conversations with thoughtful and loving expressions like “I love you”. All of these can effectively communicate affection. Affection is, for many women, the essential cement of a relationship. A house is not sturdy with only blocks but not cement. Without it, many women feel totally alienated. With it, they become emotionally bonded to their husband. If you feel great when your spouse is affectionate, and you feel terrible when there is not enough of it, you have the emotional need for affection. Don’t forget that affection is the environment in which sex is most enjoyed and a wonderful marriage is developed.
Unlike the need for sex, conversation is not an emotional need that can or should be met exclusively in marriage. Our need for conversation can be met by almost anyone. But as it is one of a woman’s important emotional needs, whoever meets it best will gain much of her heart and she can easily fall in love with that person. For a woman, it’s crucial to your marriage that your spouse is the one who meets your need for conversation the best and the most often.
The need for conversation is not met by simply talking to someone. It is met when the conversation is enjoyable for both persons involved. Good conversation is characterized by the following:
o Using it to inform and investigate each other
o Focusing attention on topics of mutual interest
o Balancing the conversation so both have an equal opportunity to talk
o Giving each other undivided attention while talking to each other
Conversation fails to meet this need when:
o Demands are made
o Disrespect is shown
o One or both spouses become angry
o When it is used to dwell on mistakes of the past or present.
Unless conversation is mutually enjoyable, a couple is better off not talking to each other at all. An unpleasant conversation not only fails to meet the emotional need, but it also makes it less likely that there will be an opportunity to meet the need in the future. That’s because we tend to prevent our spouse from meeting our needs if earlier attempts were painful to us.
Men and women don’t have too much difficulty talking to each other while they are getting to know each other before marriage. That’s a time of information gathering for both partners. Both are highly motivated to discover each other’s likes and dislikes, personal background, interests and plans for the future. But after marriage, many women find that the man who would spend hours talking to her, now seems to have lost all interest in talking to her, and spends his spare time watching television, going out with friends, reading, or working.
HONESTY AND OPENNESS
Each of us wants an honest relationship with our spouse. Participants will learn that Honesty and openness between husbands and wives builds trust and trust makes it possible to build strong emotional bonds between husbands and wives. For a wife, honesty and openness with their husband gives them a sense of security and helps them become emotionally bonded to him for meeting that need. Honesty and openness between spouses means giving your spouse accurate information about your thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities and plans for the future. If spouses do not provide each other with honest and open communication, trust is undermined and the feelings of security can eventually be destroyed. They cannot trust the signals that are being sent and feel they have no foundation on which to build a solid relationship. Instead of adjusting, they feel off balance; instead of growing together, they feel as if they are growing apart.
They will learn that Honesty and openness helps build compatibility in marriage. When you and your spouse openly reveal the facts of your past, your present activities, and your plans for the future, you are able to make intelligent decisions that take each other’s feelings into account. And that’s how you create compatibility — by making decisions that work well for both of you simultaneously. This means coordinating your daily activities and thinking about your future together.
But aside from the practical considerations of honesty and openness, those with this need feel happy and fulfilled when their spouses reveal their most private thoughts to them, and feel very frustrated when they are hidden. That reaction is evidence of an emotional need, and if that is the way you feel, include honesty and openness as one of your most important emotional needs.
ECONOMIC AND MATERIAL SUPPORT
Participants will learn that people often marry for the financial security that they expect their spouse to provide them. In other words, part of the reason they marry is for money and survival. For women who marry for financial security or other reasons, they can become very frustrated and unhappy if their husband is unemployed or not providing economically for the family. The need for financial support for women becomes greater after children arrive.
Like many of these emotional needs, financial support is sometimes hard to talk about. As a result, many couples have hidden expectations, assumptions and resentments. How much money does your spouse have to earn before you feel satisfied you are being supported? Your analysis will help you determine if you have a need for financial support, and if so, whether or not this need is being met.
Another point to remember is that when an important emotional need is met, love units are deposited in very large numbers. In other words, if someone were to meet this need for you, might you fall in love with that person? Does a person’s income or wealth make him or her more attractive to you? And are those without money unattractive? If so, you probably have a need for financial support.
In addition to a greater need for income and economic support, many wives need their husband to become active in helping to raise and train their children.
This is not child care — feeding, clothing or watching children. Family commitment, on the other hand, is taking a responsibility for how the children will turn out, teaching them the values of cooperation and care for each other. It is spending quality time with your children to help insure happiness and success for them as adults.
But the need for family commitment is not met by just any form of training. It is only met when the training is enthusiastically approved by you. It can all be ruined if your spouse uses training methods and objectives that go against your standards. Your participation and agreement regarding training methods and objectives are essential before this need can be met.
It is important for husbands to understand their wives’ core needs and strive to fulfill them. When fulfilled, wives feel much more appreciated and emotionally connected with their spouses. They feel loved, cherished, protected and an important part of their husband’s life. If both husbands and wives needs are met within the relationship, they become a stronger unit and share a healthier and happier marriage.
Core Needs of a Man
Many of us have a deep desire to be respected, valued and appreciated – especially by our spouse. There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way. Even God wants us to appreciate Him.
Respect and admiration is one of the easiest needs to meet. Just a word of appreciation or a compliment, and you can brighten someone’s day. On the other hand, it’s also easy to be critical. A small word of rebuke can make someone feel awful, ruining their day and making them feel uncared for. A wife and husband have the power to build up or tear down the other with just a few words of admiration or criticism.
The Bible tells a wife to respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33). This is the first and most important need of a man. Some believe that respect is something we all must earn. But just like love, respect from spouse to spouse must be unconditional. Our calling to respect just like to love is a calling regardless of what the other person does. It’s sacrificial. At the top of any man’s list of needs is respect from his wife; God created men that way.
Participants will understand that a man who doesn’t receive respect from his wife is a man who begins to wither on the inside. When a wife respects, nurtures, and affirms her husband, his love for her will grow. On the other hand, when a wife does not regard her husband as valuable and neglects him, his feelings for her may begin to fade.
Participants will be reminded that when a man and woman get married, they promise to be faithful to each other for life. They agree to be each other’s only sexual partner. They made this commitment because they trusted each other to meet their sexual needs, to be sexually available and responsive to each other.
But in most marriages, one spouse, usually the husband, has a much greater need for sex than the other. This tends to create a significant conflict if his need is not being met as often as he would like or the way he would like it to be met. That’s why it is very important for spouses to understand which spouse has the greatest need for sex, and how they can satisfy that need together. Without that understanding and skill, it is very likely that one spouse will begin to look for sex outside of the marriage.
Most people know whether or not they have a need for sex, and most people know that both a husband and wife need sex. But let us not confuse the need for sex with the need for affection. To help us sort them out, let us think of it this way: affection is an act of love (hugging, kissing, hand-holding, etc.) that is non-sexual and can be shared with friends, relatives, children with absolutely no sexual motive. However, if affection tends to have a sexual motive, it is a symptom of the need for sex, not the need for affection.
If a spouse feels happy and contented when making love or if a spouse feels that they don’t make love often enough or if a spouse is unhappy with the way they make love, then he or she has a need for sexual fulfillment.
Spouses will learn that an attractive person will not only get your attention, but may distract you from whatever it was, or you were doing. In fact, that’s what may have first drawn you to your spouse — his or her physical attractiveness.
Men are very visual people. This means that’s husbands care about the appearance of their wives. This also means that even happily married men can struggle with being pulled toward images of other women. This should not pressure wives to look or be a certain way, but wives should be aware that their husbands appreciate them making an effort to take care of their health and appearance. Our choice of clothing, hair style, and personal hygiene affects our attractiveness.
DOMESTIC AND HOUSEHOLD SUPPORT
Domestic support involves the creation of a peaceful and well-managed home. It includes cooking meals, washing dishes, washing and ironing clothes, house cleaning and child care. In many communities it is assumed that all wives naturally carry out all of these tasks. This is still the case in most places. However, as times are changing some women have jobs and other activities outside the house. This is a good thing, but the household duties and cleanliness should not be neglected. A wife should be committed and dedicated to making her home and family healthy and well.
Most wives share very few of their husband’s recreational interests. Many couples before and right after marriage start off by doing recreational things together – going to the church, taking a walk, taking small trips. However, after time they may go their separate ways. The husband may start joining his friends in recreational activities he enjoys most and leaves his wife to find activities that interest her. That’s a dangerous place to be. If someone else of the opposite sex joins your spouse in their favorite recreational activities, they may be at risk to fall in love with that person. If you are not together when you are enjoying yourselves the most, you are missing a chance to deepen your love for each other. The one you should love the most, your husband or wife, should be the one with whom you share both the good and bad times in life.
Spouses will learn that it is important for husbands to strive to understand their wives’ needs, but it is equally important for wives to try and understand their husbands’ needs. When both spouses make the effort to understand one another better they will experience a more mutually fulfilling relationship. When wives try to please their husbands by doing things that would fulfill their own needs, their effort will go unnoticed because men have different desires. In the next lesson, we will look at the differences in men and women have needs and try to understand them better. God made men and women different and it is part of our responsibility in marriage to be compatible despite our differences. The desire for a happy and healthy marriage is incentive to work together to reach a level of compatibility and fulfillment.