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Basic Needs of Husbands and Wives

Understanding the basic needs of husbands and wives rests in the understanding of womanhood and manhood and the differences God created between them. In today’s world, the equality of men and women has been drawn out so much that to suggest differences between male and female is very unpopular. However, to ignore the differences is both unrealistic and unbiblical. God created male and female, and He created them with unique differences. These differences are not a matter of worth or importance, they are just differences.

Basic Needs of the Wife

1) A Wife Needs Someone Who Understands Her

“Husbands. . .be considerate as you live with your wives. . .” (1 Peter 3:7 -- or “dwell with them according to knowledge”, as it says in the King James version). Men often have a tendency to be preoccupied with demands and interests outside of the home and to overlook things that are important to his wife. Every woman has habits, fears, tendencies, likes, and dislikes. In marriage, she feels the need to be understood and the husband demonstrates his understanding of her by living with consideration toward her. Notice the Scripture does not say simply that a husband should know his wife, but that he should live with her according to his knowledge of her.

2) A Wife Needs Someone Who Accepts Her as She Is

The Scriptures speak of the intimacy of marriage as "knowing" one another. Marriage is disclosure, letting each other know the heart and mind -- the real you. Such disclosure can be either painful or wonderful, depending on acceptance. A husband sends clear messages of rejection to his wife by actions such as comparing her negatively with other women, criticizing her person or performance, or not taking notice of the things she feels defines her. Acceptance does not mean approving of everything she does, but it does mean recognizing her God-given gifts and talents, and supporting and encouraging her to become all that God intended her to be.

3) A Wife Needs Someone Who Cherishes Her

This is a step beyond acceptance. Cherishing is another way of saying a wife needs to be loved, but loved deeply and tenderly. Love is probably the most basic need of a wife in marriage. A wife needs to experience the tender affection of her husband. She needs the security of being held close to his heart, not just for what she has to offer him, but because she is very dear and priceless to him.

We should note here that meeting these first three needs is a cumulative process. Each depends on the former. A husband cannot accept his wife if he does not understand her, and he cannot cherish her if he does not understand and accept her.

4) A Wife Needs Someone Who Demonstrates Strength and Wisdom in Leadership

“Husbands. . .be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3:7). When the Bible refers to a woman as the “weaker partner” it does not necessarily mean weaker in every way, and it certainly does not mean inferior. It does, however, reflect the need for a woman to depend on the strength and leadership of the man.

Some men have the tendency to flaunt their strength or use it to dominate the woman, exploiting the woman’s weakness. Such “strength” loses its attractiveness very quickly, and causes the woman to resent the strength of the man and to resist his leadership. Other men lack the wisdom and diligence to take responsibility and leadership in the home, causing the woman to depend on her own strength and to bear a load she was not intended to carry.

But a husband who uses his strength as God intended, will work for the protection of his wife and children, by shielding them from hardship and harm whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, and overall by leading them with wisdom and patient consideration.

5) A Wife Needs Someone Who is Faithful

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.” (Song of Songs 8:6). Intimate love demands the exclusion of all others. There is a very proper jealousy in love that say, “I belong to you and you belong to me”. A wife needs the security of knowing that not only does her husband love her, but that he loves no one else in the same way.

Of course, there is an improper jealousy rooted in selfishness that demonstrates itself in suspicion and fear. But nonetheless, a wife needs a faithful husband and a husband who understands this need in his wife will carefully guards her trust. He does not flirt with other women, look at suggestive images, or entertain thoughts of other women. He guards his eyes and his heart, and focuses his love faithfully upon the ONE woman in the world who is his wife.

Basic Needs of the Husband

In many ways, the needs of a husband are the counterpart to the needs of his wife. God was considering the needs of the man when he created the woman, and so equipped her with just the proper resources for meeting those needs. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

1) A Husband Needs Someone Who Depends on Him

There is something about the dependence of a wife that calls to the manliness of her husband. His very nature wants to provide, to nurture, to care for, and to protect; and he finds satisfaction and fulfillment in meeting the needs of his wife. Even as the husband can misuse his strength to dominate, so the woman can misuse her weakness and dependence to manipulate. There are many women who use their tears, their headaches, and their whining to play upon the manliness of their husbands in order to get their own way. Such “weakness” gets tiresome very quickly. A wise wife allows her husband to be her provider, but does not control him through manipulation.

2) A Husband Needs Someone Who Accepts Him as He Is

Everyone has a basic need for acceptance, and since marriage is the deepest level of human friendship, it has the most potential for meeting that need. It likewise has the greatest potential for rejection. Nagging, criticism, and pointing out a husband's failures with others are probably the most common ways a wife signals rejection of her husband. Acceptance, as noted earlier, does not necessarily mean complete approval, but it does mean recognizing a person for who he is, as opposed to fighting that reality, and supporting him in becoming all that God intends him to be.

3) A Husband Needs Someone Who Encourages and Supports Him

In describing His intentions in making a wife for Adam, God said, “I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). The woman is a “help”. This does not mean that she is a tagalong or someone who comes in handy at times, but it means that she was specifically designed to fill a necessary role as a help to the man. Certainly, much of the wife's potential to encourage and support depends upon the husband's willingness to talk and work together. But a wise wife will recognize that every husband has weaknesses, and she will not allow her support and encouragement to be conditional on his actions or withheld in response to his failures. A very practical way in which a wife can encourage her husband is by her gratitude. Her smile, her expressions of thanks, and her willingness to find joy even in difficult circumstances will fill one of the most basic needs in his life.

4) A Husband Needs a Wife’s Feminine Touch in the Home

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1). While the husband is responsible for leadership in the house, he is inadequate by himself to build the home. He needs his wife to establish an atmosphere of order, beauty, cleanliness, and care. Contrary to modern thought, homemaking is not a dull, servile work for lower-intelligence women; it is a full-time, life-long responsibility which demands creativity, intelligence, and management skills of the highest caliber. In many ways the wife is the heart of the home, and as such, is the fulfillment of her husband. The career-minded wife leaves a void both in her home and in her husband which nothing can replace.

5) A Husband Needs Someone Who is Faithful

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her. . .” (Proverbs 31:10,11). Fidelity is imperative on both sides of the marriage relationship. Even as faithful love stirs the sweetest emotions in human relationships, so unfaithfulness stirs the bitterest emotions. There is probably nothing so devastating to a marriage as the realization that a third party has invaded the heart and realm of intimacy. Wives need faithful husbands; husbands need faithful wives. A godly wife will guard her manners, her speech, and her appearance, reserving her charm and beauty for her husband alone. “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).

Understanding one another's needs in marriage is the first step love takes toward meeting those needs. If we focus on our needs rather than on those of our partner, we may easily stumble in self-pity rather than move ahead in love. Much of the success in marriage depends on the willingness to give ourselves to meeting the deepest needs of one another. This is the exercise of love, and love is the cement of marriage.