When Mark and I had young kids, I spent most of my time at home with the children. While being a mom was my main focus, I craved a creative outlet and I pretty much became a professional volunteer. Mark didn’t understand that. He couldn’t imagine why I’d want more on my plate. “You don’t get me!” I would say to him when he would try to talk me out of adding more to my life. He was trying to help me but I felt like he was crushing my spirit. Getting to know each other well takes time and effort.
That’s why it’s so important for us as couples to take the time to understand each other. We must ask our husbands, “What do you wish I knew about you? What’s important to you?” Asking opens the door to reciprocal sharing and greater understanding for both of you. Then, hopefully, they’ll want to hear our answers to those questions too.
Mark and I wrote some of these different perspectives in our books Lists to Love By for Busy Wives, and Lists to Love By for Busy Husbands. I combined a few of them in this post to discuss what both the husbands and the wives wish each other knew.
Wives desire appreciation.
Here is what Mark says about this:
I still struggle showing Susan the appreciation she needs, but I am trying to do better. Once I actually realized that Susan needed to hear me say words that show her I appreciate her, I’ve done better.
So when you’re feeling unappreciated, share that with your husband. Better yet, give him specifics: “When I go out of my way to do ________, I’d really like to hear ____________.” Set him up for success!
Husbands desire validation.
This is slightly different from appreciation. Appreciation is saying thank you, validation is going all out. My daughters noticed this first about Mark. When he does something, (anything!), he announces it and wants a big show of appreciation. “Wow! Honey, you did a great job!” Or, in other words, Mark says he wants to hear, “You are the man!” He wants a cheerleader, so… go, Mark!
Wives desire attention.
In chapter eight of his book, Lists to Love By for Busy Husbands, Mark writes about this:
By giving your wife your full attention, it shows that you truly respect and care for her. And, hey, she’s going to get bored with you in a few minutes anyway, so go ahead and just stop what you’re doing and listen to her!
So if you want more attention from your husband, let him know instead of growing bitter because he’s not giving you the attention you need.
Husbands desire respect/conciseness.
This is a big one for Mark and many men. When our children were little, I would talk to Mark like I was talking to one of the kids, “Hey! Pick that up.” That was not respectful. In my book, Lists to Love By for Busy Wives, I talked about how men also want their wives to respect their choices and abilities.
Your husband needs you to value and trust his opinions and decisions, even if he proves to be wrong sometimes.
The other thing your husband might want is for you to be concise; at least I know this is what Mark wants. This one is hard for me because I speak in story-form. I want to paint a picture but Mark just wants the snapshot version. Then when he misses the point because he got lost in the details of what I was telling him, I get upset. Again, be clear with your husband about what you expect.
Wives desire patience.
Patience is one of the great pillars of love, and it’s reasonable to expect this from your husband. If he’s not patient with you, again, let him know how you feel. Practicing the conciseness we talked about earlier might also help him be more patient.
List eight in Lists to Love By for Busy Wives and Lists to Love By for Busy Husbands has more of the things that couples wish the others knew.
To hear more discussion on this topic, listen to our podcast below.