My husband, Greg, and I recently traveled through Thailand and Malaysia with a group of other married couples. Making our way from port to port, we stopped at a remote island and signed up for what was described as an easy jungle hike through a rain forest. The excursion included visiting a majestic aquamarine lake, a turtle sanctuary and a shore called Monkey Beach. We had high hopes for an amazing day!
But as we hiked and sweated our way through thick foliage for what seemed like miles, we began to wonder how long this "easy" hike would be. We finally crossed a suspension bridge and found ourselves on sandy ground. To our right was a large waterless hole that our guide explained was the lake. "It's still dry in May," he said. We continued on to the "turtle sanctuary" where we saw a few baby turtles in what appeared to be a plastic baby pool. Last but not least, we arrived at Monkey Beach where we saw two monkeys tethered by leashes to a tree. Our hopes were once again dashed.
To my surprise, though, the highlight of our hike appeared when I turned and saw Greg with one of the monkeys sitting on his head. The hike may not have met my expectations, but again, he had brought fun and adventure to our marriage!
As Greg and I spent time on our trip looking back at the past 25 years of marriage, we laughed, we cried and we shared about the things we each had expected to be different. Just as we had high expectations for our exotic jungle hike, Greg and I can readily admit that we had some unrealistic expectations for marriage.
It's been a quarter century since we started the adventure of marriage together, and I've learned a few things about what Greg needs and desires from me. But more than that, I've come to realize that those needs are common to most husbands. Perhaps your husband shares them, as well. Some of your husband's needs may surprise you because of your own expectations for married life, but I'm confident you can learn, just as I have, how to move beyond your expectations to build a marriage that goes the distance.
While researching for my new book, I found 10 things a husband needs from his wife. Here are five of those needs:
- He needs you to take care of yourself.
Every husband needs a wife who is well cared for. A wife who continually gives to her husband from a place of emptiness will eventually end up worn out, and she may become bitter. Taking care of yourself — physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually — will ultimately benefit both of you.
- He needs your affirmation.
Research done by Dr. Terri Orbuch involved following the same 373 couples for more than two decades. She found several surprises as she studied them — one being that husbands actually needed affective affirmation more than wives did! Understanding that, you can be intentional about giving your husband the affirmation he longs for.
- He needs your respect.
You have a great opportunity to respect your husband in his God-given role as the leader of your family. Wise is the wife who realizes that fighting her husband for leadership in the home will hurt her marriage because it disrespects her husband.
- He needs your friendship.
Your husband doesn't just want your friendship; he needs it. Researchers have found that men who consider their wives to be their best friend report twice as much marital satisfaction as those who don't.
- He needs your physical touch and sexual intimacy.
Understanding how God made men and women different sexually will give you more insight into the man you love.
Whether you're a wife who's been married for six months or 60 years, you can learn about your husband's needs and grow in your role as his wife. Look beyond your marital expectations and pause to find joy in how challenging, wonderful and delightful the marriage journey really is!Erin Smalley serves as the strategic spokesperson for Focus on the Family's marriage ministry and develops content for that department. She's the author of several books, including her newest title, 10 Things a Husband Needs From His Wife.