I read a post on Pinterest the other day that made me stop dead in my tracks. It was an infographic type image comparing a wife’s needs vs a husband’s needs. To say I was appalled is a massive understatement. Here’s the gist of it:
A Wife’s Needs: Affection, Financial Commitment, Family Commitment, Conversation
A Husband’s Needs: Sexual Fulfillment, Admiration, An Attractive Spouse, Domestic Support
Please tell me I’m not the only one who can see something wrong with this? When I clicked through to find out more about the article, it was about how to ‘affair proof’ your marriage. I’ll just let that sink in for a minute.
In a world where women are shamed for standing up for what they want, where growing our self-esteem is challenging and we fight for equality, how on earth is something like this actually still being shared? Not only that, but men are shamed for being emotional, overly connected and too ‘feminine’ as well. Something like this puts us squarely back in the 1950’s!
But here’s where my issues with this get real.
It’s My Responsibility To Know My Husband’s Needs (And His To Know Mine)
Let me explain.
If I was at a point where I needed to work out what it is my husband needed, I would ask him. We talk regularly and we ask each other often ‘what can I do for you’. This isn’t about one of us being submissive and the other leading. This isn’t about someone’s needs being more important than the others. This isn’t about general ‘needs’.
This is about knowing that our needs change all the time, that sometimes one will need more support than the other and that being open and honest with each other is key to being able to communicate these needs effectively.
If at any time I felt like I didn’t understand my husband’s needs, or felt like he wasn’t able to communicate them to me, then it’s our communication skills we need to work on.
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Women Have Sexual Needs Too
Why is it so difficult to accept that women are sexual beings as well? And, contrary to what this infographic tries to paint the picture of, my husband isn’t always trying to get into my pants. Nor do I feel like I need to ‘serve’ him or fulfil all of his sexual needs.
My husband knows I have sexual desires too. And he supports them. But we never, ever feel like we have to have sex in order to make each other happy.
We go through so much in our marriages, ups and downs, times of stress and times of elation. There will be times in your marriage where sex isn’t an option. You need to know that you have a strong and stable relationship without it.
Furthermore, you need to approach your sexual needs as a couple – not as one person’s responsibility to fulfil the other’s needs and desires.
This Paints A Horrible General Picture
Think about all of the stereotypes these ‘needs’ cover. It makes women look weak like it is our role to give up any financial independence or ability to earn an income and rely completely on our husband for financial stability, it implies we need to have conversations (but our husband’s don’t) and that we need our husbands to commit to our families, like that isn’t a given in any family.
On the flip side, it shows husbands as being sexual creatures who need their wife to admire them and do whatever is requested for sexual fulfilment. It shows them as being shallow by needing an ‘attractive spouse’ and that it is a woman’s role to keep herself looking attractive so her husband doesn’t stray. And of course, it shows that a husband needs his wife to be domestic and provide a house that he wants to come home to.
Does this sound like it’s out of the 1950’s marriage handbook or what? I swear if I rolled my eyes any harder they’d fall out. I’m even ‘angry typing’ as I write this article.
What Happened To The Need For Feeling Valued?
Here’s the absolute truth about your husband’s needs. And your needs as a wife for that matter. It all comes down to one basic thing.
Your husband needs to feel valued.
You need to feel valued.
When you really break our ‘needs’ down, this is what is at the core of it all.
When we argue with our husbands or feel like there is a breakdown of communication, it is usually because we aren’t feeling valued. And if you want to tie it back to the premise of the infographic and its aim of ‘affair proofing’ a marriage, the real way to ‘affair proof’ any relationship is to value the other partner.
Because when we value our husband and when we too feel valued in return, then you don’t get much more ‘affair proof’ than that.
So stop reading silly little graphics that tell you what your husband wants and actually ask him. Stereotypes have no place in marriages. Talk to each other and understand each other’s expectations. Show your husband you value him and show him how he can value you too. And if you need help, get it.