What does your wife need to be truly content in your marriage?
We asked marriage therapists and relationship coaches to share the most common things women say they need from their spouses. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Women want a spouse who’s aware of their wants and needs.
Awareness isn’t simply about remembering your anniversary or bringing home flowers every now and then. Awareness in a relationship means so much more than that, said Heather Gray, a life coach and writer based in Wakefield, Massachusetts.
“This is about noticing that she always packs her lunch at night before going to bed and packing it for her. It’s about knowing that Wednesdays are staff meeting days and her boss is hard on her and asking her how the day went before she volunteers it,” Gray explained. “It’s not about reading her mind as is often assumed. It’s about knowing her preferences and moving accordingly without her having to ask.”
2. Women want a spouse they can trust completely.
She shouldn’t have to worry about who you’re texting at night or if you’re going to be overly flirty at the office holiday party. A woman wants the security of knowing her spouse is fully committed to remaining faithful, said Elizabeth Schmitz, co-author of Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage.
“To be truly in love is to be unequivocally and unconditionally dedicated to the one you love,” she said. “Women in happy marriages describe the one they love with words and expressions like trust, honesty and loyalty. They feel confident that their spouse will never let them down or lie.”
3. Women want their spouses to help out with the kids, without having to be asked.
Your kids’ diorama assignment isn’t going to get done without some parental effort. Wives want their spouses to be just as willing to help with their kids’ day-to-day needs as they are, said Vikki Stark, a psychotherapist at the Sedona Counselling Center of Montreal.
“A while ago, I went to a conference about couples’ therapy and the speaker made a point that was so right-on that the whole audience burst into laughter,” Stark recalled. “She said, ‘what women really want is for their husbands to help the kids with their homework in a kind and patient way.’ She said there’s another word for that — it’s called ‘foreplay!’ The truth is, nothing melts a woman’s heart more than seeing her husband take a sincere interest in second grade math problems.”
4. Women want to be thanked for things they do every day.
You know all the things your wife does for you, the kids, the household and the universe at large? Extend thanks to her for all of it and do so often, Gray advised.
“Women feel taken for granted when no one notices them or everything they do to keep the household running smoothly,” she said. “The everyday things are often taken for granted. Take a moment to notice what she does every day and say ‘thank you.’”
5. Women want men to listen to their problems, not solve them.
When your wife regales you with the latest drama at work or an ongoing problem with her mother, sit back and listen. Your instinct may be to jump in and try to help, but she likely just wants you to be her sounding board, Stark said.
“Clients often say that as soon as they start to tell their husbands about some worry or problem, he jumps in with all the best intentions and tries to solve it,” she said. “This is because there is one thing husbands all across the globe want: they want their wives to be happy. But women need good listeners and what women want most is someone with whom they can talk out all the dimensions of a problem. Talking things through helps women think and solve so if men can hold off providing solutions and instead encourage their wives to talk it through, the result will be much more satisfactory to the wives.”
6. Women want a partner who is her best friend.
Your wife is, without a doubt, a busy woman. She does it all and does it well and at the end of the day, she simply wants to come home and unwind with some Netflix and her best friend. (That’s you!)
“There is no equivocation when it comes to this point,” said marriage expert Charles Schmitz.”Women want a man who shares the burdens, provides her support, is her cheerleader, cares about her health and well being and communicates constantly with her about everything and anything. She wants a partner who is her friend.”
7. Women want permission to be imperfect.
In the grandstands of life, you should be your wife’s biggest cheerleader. If you notice her falling apart even just a little, encourage her and remind her that you’re always there to fall back on, Gray said. (Of course, your wife should take on the same super supportive role for you.)
“When you see your wife in moments of weakness, cut her some slack and let her know that you get it,” Gray said. “Validate how hard she works and let her know that it’s OK to lose it from time to time.”