The other day we received this letter from a newly engaged couple.
"I hear a lot of talk about how men and women have different needs, and I am the first to admit it's true. However, I have a tough time trying to pinpoint these needs so that I can better understand my fiancée. I think she feels the same way about me. Can you help?"
Every cell of our bodies, as men and women, differ. The skeletal structure, for example, of women is shorter and broader. Women's blood contains fewer red cells, making them tire more easily. Women have a larger stomach, kidneys, liver, and appendix, but smaller lungs. Scores of other physical differences may influence the way each person in a relationship feels and behaves. But in addition to the more obvious physical differences between the genders, societal expectations and modeling contribute to a plethora of differences between the sexes – all culminating in several gender-specific unique needs. Intresting to know!
Many relational problems evolve because men try to meet needs that they would value and women do the same. The problem is that since the needs of men and women are often so different, we waste effort trying to meet the wrong needs. If we are truly committed to valuing our life partners, we must not only understand and appreciate our partner's differences, but we must commit ourselves to meeting their unique needs. Notice it said Commit.. serving eachother .. not being selfish??! LOL
Willard F. Harley, in his popular book "His Needs, Her Needs," has given us a great tool to do just that. He identifies the ten most important martial needs of men and women. You may or may not agree with all of them, but they can serve as a good discussion starter:
She needs affection – It symbolizes security, protection, comfort, and approval. A hug expresses affection. For the typical wife, there can hardly be enough of them. Yes! Yes! Yes! I would love more PSOA (public show of affection) And it is a proven fact that humans need skin to skin contact, hugs, kissess, just to feel that warmth of his breath on my neck or his body heat.. (hint hint)
He needs sexual fulfillment – Just as women crave affection, so do men want sex. And they don't just want their wives to make their bodies available. They need to feel their wife is as invested in sex as they are. Umm.. well I don't see us having too many probs in this area, I have been told we have a very high labeto.. but I think some of my lady friends have either a chemical imbalance or trumatic pasts that doesn't help in the bed room. But when your man knows you WANT and NEED him.. watch out.. grawwwwwllll purrrrrr lol
She needs conversation – Not just talk about her husband's problems or achievements, but about her problems and her hopes. She needs quality conversation on a daily basis. YES! I do feel a lacking in this department. He gets to talking about his job, and tecnical terms and it's like whoooooooshhhh over my head or we just talk about superficial things, normal day to day house and family bla..
He needs recreational companionship – After sex, the need for recreation rates highest for men. He needs time spent in a mutually satisfying activity – whether it is sports, shopping, cooking, painting, etc. I think us both taking up golfing will help meet this need. We have some comon ground to talk about, the tecnnial terms and just the time spent together is soooooo nice. Can't wait till we can get out on the green again.
She needs honesty and openness – Mistrust destroys a woman's marital security. If a husband does not keep up honest communication with his wife, he eventually undermines her trust and destroys any hope of security. I can say I have never had a trust issue with my husband, but I know others are not that lucky. If we didn't trust each other I don't see how we could survive our current situation of him working out of town so much. Life is so much simpler when you are not worrying and fretting if you are being lied to or wondering where your man is wondering off to.
He needs an attractive spouse – A man does not need a supermodel for a wife, but he wants her to make an effort to be attractive to him. He wants her to dress in clothes he likes and do her hair in a style that is appealing to him. Remember when you first started dating?? How you would go to the nines for him? LOL Not that I do that, but I do make an effort to shave my legs. One of my husband's pet peevess is me wearing make up.. he would rather I just have a fresh natural look.. so I get off easy and just use mostizer with sunscreen (keeps me soft and helps stay off wrinkles lol) and when we do happen to go out I just put on a bit of eye liner and mascarra.
She needs financial support – A husband's failure to provide sufficient income sends shudders through the underpinnings of a marriage. A woman needs to know that her husband is taking care of their family's needs and their future. I know this one is a very touchy subject in many marraiges. A man's ego is so tied into being a good provider and when he feels like he is not.. ohh my cann he be grumpy. As long as I know my husband is doing the best he can I am happy. I have told him that I don't want him to work just so we can have STUFF, but just so we can have the basics.. but I think he has forgotten that and seems driven to take the out of town work that provides the higher income. But I admit it is good to know that he feels taking care of his family is a priority and it is nice to be able to go and get my nails done now and then or go shopping with the girls (not that it happens that often)
He needs domestic support – Old-fashioned or not, most men fantasize about a loving, pleasant home where few hassles occur and life runs smoothly. This is an ouchy one for me.. I feel like I am one of the worlds worst house keepers, book keeper, cook.. I have just not been trained up to do these things well. But when he is coming home I work my booty off to have the house presentable and plan at least one really good home cooked meal.
She needs family commitment – Wives want their husbands to take a strong role in the marriage and express how important it is to them. They need to see evidence of a strong commitment to family life that is not overshadowed by work or anything else. And this is another ouchy area.
He needs admiration – Honest admiration is a great motivator for most men. When a woman tells her husband (who has been sweating it out at work) that she thinks he's wonderful, it inspires him and keeps him going. I adore my husband and I hope he knows it. There is so much about him that I respect and admire. I realy have been blessed because I know he is a rare breed these days. When I know he has had it hard at work I try and encourage him and remind him of all his good qualities.
Like we said, you may not agree with all of these "needs," but the number of people who have bought and read Harley's book is enough reason to take them seriously and discuss how each of your particular sets of needs differ. I havn't read this book but it sounds like it may be helpful to some people. I totaly recomend a book called Sheet Music and Sex Starts In The Kitchen.
Remember, if you commit yourself to meeting the unique needs of your partner, you will become irresistible to each other and insure faithfulness in your marriage. You will build a relationship that sustains romance, increases intimacy, and deepens awareness year after year. We have been married for 10 years now, high school sweet hearts and I have to say I love him more with each passing year. It is deeper and wider than the little 16yr old crush and sexual attraction we had started with. I give the Lord the credit for most of it, because when he is the center of our life and we look to him for guidance, there is Peace and Love and it flows.