How can I meet my wife's basic needs?
As a husband, it is your responsibility to nurture and cherish your wife, to instruct your wife, and to meet her needs. You are to love your wife as you love yourself. (See Ephesians 5:22-29, 33.) As you gain insight about your wife’s needs, it is imperative that you take steps to fully meet those needs. As you love your wife as Christ loves the Church, she will be motivated to reverence you. (See Ephesians 5:33.)
Following is a description of seven basic needs of a wife, accompanied by projects that can serve as tools to equip you to be a Godly husband, one who loves his wife as Christ loves the Church. “He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:28).
1. A wife needs a husband who demonstrates spiritual leadership.
A husband can lead his wife in her spiritual journey by consistently pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ, honoring Scriptural convictions, making wise decisions, and demonstrating genuine love. As your wife sees you establish Godly standards in your life, she will be motivated to set similar standards in her life and to submit to your leadership.
Maintain Biblical Disciplines
How are you striving to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord? (See II Peter 3:18.) Review the following list. Which of these activities could be observed in your life? Which of these activities should be observed in your life?
- Regular reading and study of God’s Word
- Consistent memorization of Scripture
- Daily meditation on Scripture
- Faithfulness in prayer
- Regular church attendance
- Fellowship with committed Christians
- Conversation about spiritual matters
Ask the Lord to show you how to increase in Godliness. As you establish personal goals for spiritual maturity, ask a brother in the Lord to hold you accountable for reaching those goals.
Live by Scriptural Convictions
What evidences of Scriptural convictions do you have or purpose to have? Set aside a period of time in which you can document your convictions and the basis for each one. Here are some examples:
- Demonstrating love for God by loving your wife, children, and others. (See I John 4:20.)
- Purposing to make your home a center of Godly learning and living. (See Psalm 101.)
- Avoiding actions or activities that might cause your wife, children, or others to stumble. (See Romans 14.)
It is not enough to simply identify Scriptural convictions; you must be determined to make decisions that are guided by those convictions and standards. Be an example of obedience and faithfulness to your wife as you uphold Godly convictions in your family.
Do these obstacles hinder your consistent obedience to Godly standards?
- Wrong priorities
- Guilt from past failures
- Lack of wisdom
- Losing your temper
- Bondage to enslaving habits
- Influence by, and attention to, television
- Companionship with wrong friends
Determine steps to overcome obstacles and walk in the victory that has been purchased for you by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Demonstrate Genuine Love
Your wife needs to see a demonstration of genuine love in everything you say and do. Let the prayer of the Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi be your guide: “I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
List the ways that you demonstrate love to your wife. Then ask her to explain which ones do or do not express love to her, and why.
2. A wife needs to know she is meeting her husband’s vital needs.
A wife finds security and purpose in knowing that she is meeting needs in her husband’s life that no other woman can meet. She needs to know that she is precious in his eyes. (See Genesis 2:18, 21-23.)
The scourge of a woman is jealousy—the fear of being displaced. Your wife needs to be confident not only that you love her but that you also desire her companionship and sincerely need her assistance.
Share Your Needs
Your wife needs to know that as your helpmate, she “completes” you. (See Genesis 1:21-24.) To give your wife the satisfaction of meeting your needs, explain your needs with openness and clarity and share what she can do to meet those needs and accomplish your top priorities for the family.
It is human nature for a husband to not want to share his needs with his wife, because he doesn’t want to risk losing her admiration. However, you will win your wife’s love more effectively if you honestly share both your failures and your successes.
Thoughtfully Praise Your Wife
Is your wife now meeting needs in your life that no other woman can meet? Compile a list, share your insights with your wife, and express gratefulness to her for meeting those exclusive needs. Here are a few examples to consider as you compile your own unique list:
- She can give you the joy of a physical relationship without guilt. (See Proverbs 5:19-20.)
- She is a safeguard to your hasty decisions because of her need for security and consistency.
- She discerns the real needs of the children.
3. A wife needs a husband who cherishes her.
Cherish means “to protect and love (a person)” and “to care for tenderly; nurture.” A wife needs reassurance that her husband cherishes her, valuing her above all other people, possessions, or activities. Your wife needs to know that your delight in her goes beyond the things she can do for you. If she does not feel cherished, she becomes insecure.
List the character qualities and personality traits that first attracted you to your wife. You may want to write this list in your prayer journal, as a reminder to intercede for your wife in regard to her weaknesses and as a reminder of reasons you “rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Proverbs 5:18).
Deepen Your Wife’s Security Through Acceptance
A wife needs to know that her husband accepts her “unchangeables,” especially the ones she herself has difficulty accepting. You have a unique opportunity to love your wife by helping her learn the Scriptural basis of self-acceptance.
List any unchangeable physical features, family circumstances, and past experiences that your wife finds difficult to accept, such as a physical handicap, poverty, or divorced parents. Ask the Lord to show you how each of these unchangeables has produced or strengthened in your wife character qualities or attitudes that you admire. Share these insights with your wife and help her understand ways that God has benefited her life through those situations that were, or are, beyond her control.
4. A wife needs a husband who protects her.
A wife wants her husband to be alert to her spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical strengths and weaknesses and to lovingly provide wise direction and security.
Scripture instructs husbands to dwell with their wives “according to knowledge,” giving honor unto them “as unto the weaker vessel.” (See I Peter 3:7.) A wife needs to be well understood, so that her husband can discern when to be firm and when to be lenient.
Establish Appropriate Boundaries
Your wife especially needs your protection in the form of establishing boundaries so that she will fulfill her responsibilities within appropriate limitations. Work with your wife to discern her top priorities and ensure that she has the time and resources needed to fulfill her responsibilities.
Does your wife need your protection through the loving provision of boundaries in any of the following areas?
- Lack of sleep
- Unfinished projects
- Inappropriate clothing
- Poor eating habits
- Neglecting personal appearance
- Destructive self-criticism
5. A wife needs to have intimate communication with her husband.
A wife yearns for intimate communication with her husband. Intimate conversation is a key factor in maintaining oneness of spirit in your marriage. Your wife needs to know that she can safely share her deepest emotions with you.
You would be wise to establish a regular time to invest in your wife by giving her your undivided attention. Your investment will earn an amazing return!
Set Aside Time for Talking Together
Have you and your wife established a regular time to have uninterrupted, intimate conversation? If not, make it a priority to discuss that goal with your wife within the week. (Your enthusiasm about the idea will bless your wife, but you may have to persuade her to make the commitment to give you her undivided attention, especially if she tends to be a diligent wife and mother.) Persevere. It’s worth it.
Consider places your wife would enjoy going in order to have special time with you:
- Breakfast at ________________.
- Lunch at ___________________.
- At home during ______________.
Acknowledge distractions that frequently hinder intimate conversation when you and your wife are together:
- Having your mind on other things
- Phone calls
- Talking to friends you meet
- Loud music or other irritating noises
- Interruptions by the children
Ask the Lord to make you alert and sensitive to distractions, and purpose to avoid them or eliminate them, whichever would be most appropriate.
Address Fears and Concerns
Most wives have deep fears and emotions that they have never shared with their husbands. It is your responsibility to lovingly and patiently help your wife identify and verbalize her fears and gain wisdom from God to resolve them.
During your times of intimate conversation, consider choosing one of the areas listed below and asking her how she feels about it. After listening attentively to her initial response, ask, “In addition to that, do you have any other feelings about it?”
- Insecurity if her husband dies
- Growing old
- Becoming unattractive to her husband
- Poor health
- Failure as a wife and mother
- Being displaced by another woman
- Husband losing his job
- Future of the children
As your wife confides in you, admitting her fears, ask the Lord to give you wisdom to help her resolve each one, through Christ.
6. A wife needs a husband who honors her.
A wife needs to know that her husband honors her. You can honor your wife in many ways, such as being attentive during conversation, using good manners, and praising her.
Practice Good Manners
Review the following list of good manners. If you are not practicing some of them, make a conscious effort to practice the habits that would particularly bless your wife.
- Making her aware of your schedule and priorities
- Being punctual
- Refraining from using crude language
- Personal cleanliness, neatness, and grooming
- Lifting heavy objects for her
- Seating her at the table
- Putting your dirty laundry in its proper place
- Helping her on and off with her coat
Make a commitment to be attentive to your wife. For example, when she asks you a question, stop what you are doing, look at her, answer her question (even the little ones), and communicate your love for her through your tone of voice as well as your facial expression.
7. A wife needs a husband who invests in her life.
A wife needs her husband’s support and encouragement to learn new skills and broaden her field of interests. Your wife needs to know that you do not take her for granted and that you are eager to invest in her life spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially.
Offer Support and Encouragement
Your wife needs your active leadership in your relationship. Consider the suggestions below, and invest in your wife’s life as the Holy Spirit shows you specific ways that you can support and encourage her.
- Provide opportunities for her to develop her gifts, skills, and talents. This may involve opportunities within your family, your church, or your community. Be sensitive to your wife’s desire for more training, if she would like to pursue new areas of service.
- Together, define the responsibilities that each of you has in your family.
- Visualize how you can add new dimensions to her responsibilities so that she can recognize the future value, and eternal value, of what she is presently doing.
Seek to Meet Your Wife’s Needs
When you entered the covenant of marriage with your wife, you made a lifelong commitment to love her, which includes meeting her needs as your wife. Such a commitment demands faithfulness, endurance, and love that is willing to make sacrifices. Rely on God’s grace and wisdom as you seek to become a Godly husband who understands his wife’s needs and successfully fulfills his responsibilities.