Even in the best marriages, there are things that are left unsaid. Wouldn’t it be nice to get inside your husband’s head and figure out what he is really thinking? Well, I did the hard work for you. You’re welcome. Here are 4 things your husband won’t tell you… not because he doesn’t want to. He just probably doesn’t know how. So ladies, this one is for you!
1. He wants to be desired.
Even the manliest of men want this, despite the fact that they may baulk at this point and deny it vehemently. It’s just true. Men want to be desired. Dr. Sarah Hunter Murray, a well known relationship therapist says, “According to traditional gender roles and sexual scripts, men are supposed to make their female partners feel desirable, while not needing to feel desired themselves. In a typical romantic movie storyline, a male protagonist is largely responsible for wooing or courting the woman he is interested in. Think about the years Jim spent flirting with Pam on The Office, or of John Cusack holding a boom box high over his head in the hopes of softening the heart of his crush in Say Anything.”
But this does not mean he doesn’t have similar needs. They just may look different than what you think of when you think of being desired. I am not talking about flowers at work or a box of chocolates. A man’s version of desire looks different from a woman’s. Here are two sure fire ways to give your man the feeling of being desired:
- Initiate and enjoy sex. There is a lot of insecurity that goes on in a man’s head in the arena of sex, no matter how macho of a vibe he puts off. It is always nice for him to know that he is desired and that sex is not just a chore on your list to check off. Be the initiator! Let him know you love it before, during, and after. That goes so much farther than you know!
- Give compliments about him as a man, not just for the things he does. Sure men love when you praise him for the things he does (more on this in the third point), but getting compliments about who he is is woefully underrated by wives. Tell him he looks sexy. Praise him for being a good husband. Let him know that he is a catch. Compliment him on what a great dad he is. Verbal affirmation is usually high up on a man’s love languages, even if his five love languages results say otherwise.
2. He wants you to pay more attention to him than the kids.
This is a tough one because husbands cannot really express this without feeling guilty for wanting to put himself in front of the kids… and that is exactly why he doesn’t ever bring it up. But this goes through his head regardless. So sometimes, you need to tame the mama bear instincts and give your man some attention. And yes, I get that kids need more attention by nature: I have two of my own and understand this completely. But always giving your best and going overboard with the kids and having nothing left in the tank for your man does not help the situation. Make sure he is getting your undivided attention on a daily basis at some point and not just sloppy seconds.
By doing so, you are actually doing your kids a favor. This is counterintuitive but true: when you give your husband a decent amount of attention compared to the kids, you are doing more for the health of your kids than when you give the children all your attention. How you may ask? Because you are showing them a marriage the has the right relational priorities. Children want to see and experience a strong parental unit at home and when you put your husband first (and he puts your first), this allows for not only a healthier marriage but a healthier family unit. For more on this, see the post Put Your Kids Second.
3. He wants gold stars.
Whether he will admit it or not, your husband wants you to notice what he does for you. He wants your praise. He wants a gold star. You remember these stars from kindergarten?? It was a good day when you were rocking one of these. Why did you get them? Because you did something your teacher liked and they praised you for it.
Men aren’t hard to crack. We just want your gold star on our chest. We get the same feeling of awesomeness that you get when your man brings you flowers for no reason when you give him a verbal gold star. So go ahead and toss out some compliments and recognize the big (and little) things your husband does to make your life great.
This is a bigger deal than you might think for guys. The majority of men I counsel with say that they feel under appreciated and that they can’t win… so they give up. It’s easier to not try and be wrong than to try and still be wrong. Being valued is important in a marriage and only gets harder to do as the years go by because we start to take things for granted. So look for everyday things to say thank you for, call it out, and watch the health of your marriage surge from this small tweak in your everyday life!
4. He needs time to himself.
Ladies, let me just be clear: this does not mean he doesn’t love you. This does not mean that something is wrong. It’s just that guys sometimes need some time to zone out and do something he loves to do (or do nothing at all). This might be watching a football game or play sports. Maybe it is a hobby he is in to or it is time at the gym. Or he might just want to go clear his head. But he needs space every now and then. And this has nothing to do with you. It is just how we are wired, but it is kind of awkward to bring up. “Hey babe, I need to get away from you, that cool?” is not an easy one to throw out there. So sometimes he just doesn’t say anything.
My wife and I try to make sure that we each have some alone time every couple of weeks. I sometimes nerd out on blogging or book writing. Tracy sometimes will go to Target… without kids!! Whatever it is, just make sure you are giving each other time to yourself every now and then because most men won’t ask even though they want it.
So take some time and pour into your marriage today. That is one thing that you will never, ever regret!