Every day we hear from men who desperately want help and encouragement for their wives. Most commonly, they complain that their wives are not interested in sexual intimacy. Many of these messages end with pleas like “Help me! What can I do to help her understand my needs?”
While most of my work is with women, today I want to share a secret with the men. It is the same secret that I see transforming women. Are you ready?
If you really want to change your marriage, you have to understand where you have power.
Men and women work hard to change their marriages by seeking ways to get their needs met. Women complain when their husbands are inattentive and men complain that their wives want nothing to do with sex. You will NEVER change your marriage by focusing on what you need.
All of your power lies in understanding and meeting your wife’s needs.
Your wife has two primary needs. Both of these needs give you power to draw her into intimacy – emotional, physical, and spiritual intimacy.
NEED #1: Your wife longs to be cherished by you. She wants to know that your love for her will never fade – that you only have eyes for her. Every woman receives love differently, so you need to become a student of how to love her. Study her. Ask her, “How can I make you feel like the most prized woman on earth?” But only ask if you really mean it. Love is for the long haul. If you have been in a pattern of ignoring and rejecting each other, it might take awhile for her to trust your love. Be committed to this effort and you may see your wife transform.
Now let’s bring this into the bedroom. Did you know that your wife is a complicated creature? She is even complicated sexually! Ask your wife what helps her get sexually aroused and she is likely to say, “I don’t know.” It’s understandable that many men just give up trying to “decode” their wives sexually. But cherishing her in the bedroom means realizing that she is worth the effort. I highly recommend a book called “The Married Guy’s Guide to Great Sex,” by Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner that will help you do this.
NEED #2: Your wife needs to be protected by you. This need is less talked about or understood. Even though women can be very independent and self-sufficient, they were created with the deep need to trust the strength of a “hero.” You don’t have to be a superhero, but she does long for you to be her protector. Protection can come in the form of physically caring for her or providing financially for her. However, the deepest form of protection is emotional and spiritual. Peter encouraged husbands to treat their wives with great care as the “weaker vessel.” Your wife may not admit this or act like this, but she is emotionally fragile, especially related to her femininity and sexuality. For many women, sexuality has meant violation. Even if your wife hasn’t experience sexual abuse, she has been exposed to countless stories of how men treat women like sexual objects. How have you cared for her? Have you protected her sexual purity in your marriage by saying “no” to things like porn? Have you honored her sensitivity to rejection and insecurity?
If you really want to see your sex life and marriage change, commit to this for the next six months. Ask the Lord to teach you how to meet these deep needs of your wife. Perhaps you may even confess to your wife that you never understood these needs and that you desperately want to minister to her. But only say it if you mean it! Be sure that what you are after is not just sex, but a deep intimacy—a sharing of your hearts and souls. While women lose interest in sex for many reasons, this can be the key to unlocking her heart toward you.
Want to learn more? Listen to Java with Juli episode #219: Rethinking Sexuality in Your Marriage