Meeting Your Husband’s 5 Most Important Emotional Needs

9780800719388Willard F. Harley’s excellent marriage book His Needs Her Needs, is an exploration of the major emotional needs of husbands and wives. He asserts that the major cause of extramarital affairs is unmet needs, spouses rely on each other to have their needs met. When one partner goes long enough without major needs being met, they are more susceptible to temptation. He presents the 5 most important needs for each spouse, interestingly demonstrating how the corresponding need in the opposite gender can either compliment or conflict with it. For example, the most important emotional need for wives is affection. They need shows of affection, like touching, thoughtful gifts, loving words, etc. The corresponding need in men is sexual fulfillment. Men tend to do well meeting their wive’s affection need during the courting phase of the relationship. However, after marriage meeting the affection need becomes less urgent, though for most men having their own sexual needs met becomes a more pressing concern. As focus on fulfilling the wife’s need for affection dwindles, wives tend to be less in the mood for meeting their husband’s sexual needs, largely because affection in other areas of life is a large part of foreplay. It’s important to note that this cuts both ways. When women become less interested in ensuring their husband’s sexual fulfillment, men become frustrated and are less inclined to put effort toward showing their wives affection. When both parties take a stance of intentional selflessness toward their partner, the system works better. When one or both become overly focused on their own needs, things tend to break down.

Yesterday I posted an article that looked at the 5 most important needs to women. The following are the 5 most important emotional needs for husbands:

• Sexual fulfillment- Men are sexual and sexuality tends to be the most important need for many men. Please note that this is being classified as an emotional need, not a physical one. There is a tendency to think of men’s sexuality as being a mere physical need, but men largely experience affection sexually. There is a element of physical need, but the emotional element cannot be ignored. It is to men what affection is to women. Men’s sexuality is usually deeply connected with their sense of identity, which makes it important for this need to be met, as not having this emotional need met will affect the husband to his core.

251604_10151004434496599_528697307_nRecreational Companionship- Recreational companionship refers to engaging in activities together. Where women need conversational connection, men need to do fun things with their spouse. During the courting phase of the relationship, this is easier. Dating usually revolves around engaging in activities together. After marriage it’s not uncommon to find it easy to engage in their own hobbies and activities, going their own ways. Men have a need for companionship in activities. They like it when their spouse does things with them. This is largely because men tend to be doers and enjoy action over discussion. Relational companionship need not be active participation, though it’s a good thing when husbands and wives engage in activities together. Wives can watch their husbands, support them, or take an active interest in order to meet this need.

• Physical Attractiveness- This is a harder need to understand for many people. Men are very visual creatures. They tend to experience a lot of sexual attraction through what they see, which is why pornography for men is largely visual, because men respond to visual stimulation. This doesn’t mean that the wife must fit into the same dress she wore on their wedding day or resemble a supermodel at all times. Rather, a wife’s attention to visual cues is important. It’s generally important to men that their wives take care of themselves or try to look attractive. I’ve spoken to men who lament that their wives wear lingerie with less frequency the longer they are married or stop taking care of themselves physically altogether. It sounds shallow and crass, but it’s more a product of how men are hardwired. It’s not uncommon for men to become frustrated when they find their wives less attractive, but cannot discuss it because of the overall sensitivity of the subject matter.

• Domestic support- Whereas women often have a need for their husbands should work to support the family, men tend to want for their wives to help maintain and ordered household. This may come across as a desire for the ideal 1950s TV wife. However, it’s more a need for a spouse that helps take care of the home. How pressing this need is depends on the husband and the family composition. Many men are happy to help take care of domestic responsibilities, but feel a need for their wife to help with cooking, cleaning, and childcare.

• Admiration- Men have an inborn need to be respected and looked at with admiration. When a man feels disrespected or looked down upon by their wife, their pride can be significantly wounded. This need is generally a counterpart to family commitment. Women have an emotional need that the husband be committed to caring for and raising the family. Men, on the other hand, have an emotional need to be looked on as the leader in the family. They have a need to be treated with respect and admiration.

The key to understanding the proper handling of emotional needs as presented by Mr. Harley in his book is a degree of selflessness. Meeting needs in the marital context works best when both partners set out to meet their spouse’s needs without concern for seeking out the meeting of their own needs or judging your partner’s needs. Further, communication over these things is important. People will generally vary in their relational needs. Open communication is key to helping each other know what needs to be done in order to meet needs effectively.

5 emotional needs

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

17 thoughts on “Meeting Your Husband’s 5 Most Important Emotional Needs

  1. Hmmm, not sure I can agree on all of these points but ha! That’s easy because I am not a man! 😀

    I do want to say: there is a danger in admiration: when one admires the other, those two can never speak at the same level. Very dangerous in relations. It takes the realisation that we are all human out of it. The admired person can never really contact the admirerer who is staring at him/her with big admiring eyes. And these dynamics can only be broken by stiff arguments, hurt or partial separation. Not good.

    On respect: doesn’t just everybody deserve that? Respect is not something that you give away, it is a position from which one lives. It does not mean that you have to tolerate everything but basic respect is, well, basic respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • patchingcracks says:

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I agree that admiration ought to fall short of idolizing. I admire people who are not perfect. It’s possible to admire someone for the work they do or the effort they put forth or their integrity, without expecting them to be sinless. Full subordination as the admirer is definitely destructive, but this need not be the defining characteristic of admiration.

      Regarding respect: Of course everyone deserves respect, but there are settings where respect is handled differently. I speak to my friends in a different way than I speak to my parents, because I honor and respect my parents. I would never call my parents by their first names. It’s disrespectful. I would suggest that respect in this setting refers to respecting him as a leader, man, etc. Right or wrong it’s just how men are wired.


    • manciniblessed says:

      I believe the author here is saying to have a healthy admiration for one’s mate. Not idolizing them and putting them on an unreachable pedestal.Everyone deserves respect but sometimes people treat others disrespectfully.In those cases I cannot respect a person who treats me or other people disrespectfully.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wally Fry says:

    Respect is huge for a man. To use common slang, there is no greater way to wound a man than to make him feel he has been “dissed.” It’s not really about anybody being better of less equal than anybody. As you said, it is the way we are wired. Specifically, the way God wired us.


  3. seeingdeep1 says:

    Great reminder! I look forward to reading more of your blog!


  4. mshillbilly says:

    I recognize all of those in my husband, but he’s lucky he has such an awesome wife as me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. good job- I find it amusing that a woman objected to the list in more than one way; ..”Therein lies the problem!”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. manciniblessed says:

    Good article and the five points about how women need affection hits the mark.
    Man should by divine directive serve their wives first and unconditionally.


    • patchingcracks says:

      Thanks for the kind words and thanks for visiting my site. I agree. Selfless, unconditional service is so important!


  7. Neat series. Wondered if I wanted to read my list of “needs”. Sad thing she is doing better than I am. Got some catching up to do.
    Thanks for the food for thought.


  8. A.K. says:

    I agree. Read the book before I got married and I was excited to see that the needs outlined for my husband were right.


    • patchingcracks says:

      Thanks! I wish I had read it before I got married and typically give copies of it out during premarital counseling. I appreciate your reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. A.K. says:

    Reblogged this on Ready, set, go…… and commented:
    Saw this and thot to share. Very good read for all wives.


  10. cffighter04 says:

    I was talking to my husband about your post over coffee this morning. When he was deployed for 7- months and returned home we committed to doing the fireproof challenge. This was an amazing book and really challenged us to dig deep into our souls. Not just for our marriage growth but also for our spiritual growth as a couple. I am going to purchase (2) books so we can read them together… Men and women have such a different way of communicating and showing their needs. Looking forward to this. I have seen and heard of this book before but have never gotten deep into it. Thank you for all your heart felt posts.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: