Sometimes, I expect too much from my wife, Susan. I expect Susan to be a mediator with the kids, to be like my mom, and to think like I do. Having said that, there are certain fundamental expectations of a husband.
Recently, I wrote 7 Things Your Wife Should Expect from You. Today, I’m sharing these 5 things your husband should expect from you. You’ll notice that I identify only five core things for women rather than seven. Perhaps you can identify more than I do. If so, you can share in the comments below.
1. Respect: One of a guy’s greatest needs is for reassurance that he has got what it takes. In fact, in his best-seller Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs, Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs says that this kind of affirmation is the number one fuel a man needs in his marriage. Without it, he can grind to a halt. So how are you ensuring his respect tank is kept topped up? You may hold your husband’s judgment and abilities in high regard, but do you ever let him know? A note or a few words of affirmation or appreciation can go a long way. Those spoken in front of your children or even friends are like adding high-octane fuel.
Respect doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything he says, of course. But it is possible to disagree respectfully, honoring his opinions, even if you think differently. Cutting comments or rolling of the eyes punch a hole in the respect tank. Reflect on these ideas for How to Show Your Husband Respect.
2. Trustworthy: Transparency in marriage must be like a plate of glass—you can see in from both sides. [Tweet This] So just as husbands need to be completely honest and true to their words, so do their wives. As I wrote about in Unlocking the Door to Intimacy in Marriage, my life is an open book to Susan: she can check up on all my computer and phone activities at any time. The reverse is true, too. We are committed not only to being honest about what we do but about how we feel. We do not keep secrets from each other. At the same time, there are some secrets women should consider holding—those about their husbands. Friendships with other ladies are important to women, but your husband shouldn’t be made to feel unduly “exposed” by what you talk about when you’re with them.
3. Faithful: Fidelity and purity are required in every marriage. Hearts and minds must be guarded. Sexual temptation isn’t an issue only for men. More women are becoming addicted to Internet porn as it proliferates. While that online lure may not affect you, what about the cyber dangers of social media—in the shape of an old school friend or guy you follow on Facebook, even a girlfriend’s husband. You secretly admire the way they talk to and talk about their wives and their families; if only your husband was the same way. For some women, emotional infidelity is much more of a temptation than a physical affair—and it can be easier to hide.
And sometimes unfaithfulness isn’t a blatant decision but a consequence of other choices, kind of by default. In the busyness of life, juggling work and children and church, your husband can lose out on your affections. The result is that the person who should be first in your life gets dropped to the bottom of the list. That’s a subtle form of unfaithfulness.
4. Helper: Acknowledging your husband’s role as leader of your family does not mean that he is a dictator and you are the doormat. It means that he has a huge responsibility to love you and serve you and your children well. Furthermore, being a “helper” suggests you are enabling him to achieve something he cannot manage on his own.
In some ways, a leader can only be as good as those who follow. How are you enabling your husband to grow as a leader? Do you welcome his initiative, bringing your insights to help develop a shared vision for your life together – for your family? Do you bring your strengths to supplement his areas of weakness? Or are you dragging your feet, questioning his judgment and resisting his efforts to fulfill the role God has given him?
5. Sexual Intimacy: Anyone who has been married for some length of time knows that physical intimacy does not always involve candlelight and passion. Sometimes it’s about duty and fulfilling meeting physical desires. When kids come along and life gets crazy-busy, it may be necessary to plan for specific times of intimacy. Susan and I discuss this in my podcast, What to Do When You’re Not in the Mood.
God instructs husbands and wives that their bodies are not their own and that they need to meet their partner’s needs. Yet we are wired so differently. Women commonly find that emotional connection is the pathway to sex while for guys it’s often the other way round—sex leads to emotional closeness. Recognizing this means that sometimes you’ll welcome your husband’s desire for you, even if you are not in the mood.
I have a headache can become an excuse you hide behind when really you’re withholding physical intimacy as some kind of punishment or for some other reason. When sex is withheld as a form of discipline, it undermines the rest of the relationship. Physical intimacy should not be performance-based, it should be freely given in marriage.
How are you doing in meeting these five essentials? What’s helped you grow in any of them? Please share your comments below.