It takes less than a day of sharing a room with your spouse to realize you don’t think the same way. And if you don’t understand these different needs and thinking patterns, navigating them can create fiery conflicts and hurt feelings.
Obviously, every person is different and some of these needs may not apply to your spouse, but in general, these are the different needs men and women crave, according to experts.
HE NEEDS: to be respected
SHE NEEDS: to be loved
When asked to choose between feeling inadequate and disrespected by everyone, or being alone and unloved, three out of four men chose being alone and unloved in a study social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn conducted for her book, “For Women Only.”
This is shocking for most women, but perhaps a better way to say this is that a man doesn’t feel loved without being respected.
Women need to feel loved. How they feel loved the most varies with each woman, but in general women tend to appreciate phrases like, “I love you,” whereas men usually prefer, “I’m so proud of you.”
HE NEEDS: to express love through frequent s*x
SHE NEEDS: to feel appreciated to desire s*x
Some women have a higher s*x drive than their husbands, but in general, men tend to want s*x more often. Marriage therapist Aaron Anderson said it’s important for women to remember that men want to have intimacy with their wives to express how much they love her – not just to have s*x in general.
Just like men, women enjoy s*x when it meets her needs. But unlike men, most women aren’t in the mood at a moment’s notice. She needs to feel connected emotionally before being intimate. She often needs to be able to think about it in advance, so she can get excited too. Feldhahn advises men that if they want more s*x, they need to give their wives more ‘anticipation time.’
HE NEEDS: to communicate by doing things together
SHE NEEDS: to communicate with conversation everyday
Most men are confused at the enjoyment women get from sitting and talking. Husbands want to communicate and bond with their wives, but they do so through shared activities rather than sitting and talking.
Sociolinguist Deborah Tannen observed this while studying videos where best friends were asked to have a conversation while it was recorded on video. For the girl best friends, this was natural. The conversation eventually evolved into discussing the problems of one of the girls. But for the boys, this was an awkward experience. Their conversations bounced from topic to topic until eventually they centered around an activity they set up to do together.
A wife needs to talk to her husband everyday. Talking is the activity. She needs to talk through her feelings: good, bad, funny, serious. To really connect, she needs this.
HE NEEDS: time to sort out his thoughts
SHE NEEDS: to sort out her thoughts through talking
Women are often hurt when their husband leaves in the middle of a conversation, and men sometimes angrily explode when pressed for a resolution. This is because most men and women sort through their emotions differently.
Men often need to process what they are feeling. They don’t know what they are thinking until they’ve done some long, hard pondering. A husband may retreat during conflict so he can think through what he’s feeling before he accidentally says something hurtful.
Women sometimes have to talk through things to really understand what they are feeling. Those feelings like to hide under the surface until she can express them verbally. When her husband leaves mid conversation, it cuts that opportunity for her.
BOTH NEED …
It’s not that wives don’t want respect and husbands don’t want to be loved, but these differences in priorities are sometimes what makes communicating in relationships feel so foreign. Everyone needs to be appreciated and understood – just learn how to meet those needs in the way they crave.