One of the advantages of writing as a ‘formerly disconnected, still learning to connect’ man is that I can tell you exactly what works to help me connect and what doesn’t. My wife is one of my best teachers. She has somehow cut through the fog of relationship and communication to help me understand what it’s all supposed to look like. I learn from her all the time.
The things she does seem simple and logical to me. She doesn’t think she does anything special. And that she’s just being herself. But I think she’s found some secrets that make our lives sweet and rich and less stressful.
It’s not only that she does these things, but that she does them with a good spirit. She is straightforward and graceful with her expectations. She doesn’t make me feel pressured or that I’ve missed something. I never feel like I’m not good enough! It takes a lot of stress out of our lives. I’m very thankful for these three things. I hope they help you.
- She tells me exactly what she needs. I think the most important part of this one is that she doesn’t expect me to ‘know’ or ‘sense’ her needs. She doesn’t get upset if I don’t ‘pick up on clues’ she’s giving, because she doesn’t give any clues. She tells me straight up. On top of that, she doesn’t get her feelings hurt. She assumes that if she didn’t tell me something, then I shouldn’t be held responsible for knowing it. It is such a joy for me.
Now if she does tell me something and I forget, that’s on me. She has every right to be disappointed that I didn’t remember something that was important to her. But she is also very forgiving. Even when I forget we are usually able to discuss it without making it a conflict.
I know it’s a very romantic notion to believe your man will be so in tune with you that he will sense your needs and take care of them without you ever mentioning them. If you believe that, and set your expectations based on that belief, your disconnected man will disappoint you every time. There may be some fabulous men out there that have this ability but if you do this with a disconnected man you are setting him up for failure.
2. She tells me when she’s just talking and doesn’t need anything. This helps me listen to her heart. If I know I’m not listening to discover her needs, I can just listen and be part of her world. Another great thing she adds to this – if I’m in the middle of something and ask her if we can discuss it after I’m finished, she’s ok with it. She doesn’t demand that I listen right that moment unless there’s a real urgency to the discussion.
A lot of things build up inside her. We have ten children with our combined families and she cares deeply about each of them. She wants to serve each one of them as often as possible and when she can’t, the frustrations increase. She has friends, sisters, parents, and others who have problems and challenges. She carries those burdens with her all day, constantly thinking and praying about them. She has a house to maintain, work obligations, and other daily cares that add to her list. And that’s just the start of all that’s on her mind.
If she were not able to come to me and unload sometimes, she would be holding all that in. It would make her sick. Some women do get sick when they are not able to just let it all out. She knows I’m a safe place. She has helped make me a safe place by letting me know she just needs to talk. I know that listening and, as much as possible sharing, her concerns is meeting her needs. She helps me connect by letting me know when I don’t have to solve a problem or fix a situation.
3. She lets me know that we can make love anytime I need to, and then tells me if it’s not a good time for her. This may sound over the top to you and cause you to think that your man will just take advantage of you. It doesn’t work that way with us.
The physiological truth is that men need sexual intimacy. (See this article if you wonder how that works: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/sex-and-intimacy/understanding-your-husbands-sexual-needs/sex-is-a-physical-need) He needs it in the same way women need conversational and romantic intimacy. My wife knows that. She knows that it would be selfish of her to withhold something I need. In the same way it would be selfish of me to withhold conversation and caring from her. We also both realize that sexual intimacy is not always convenient. Her attitude is that she will never say no – she may ask me to wait – but she will never say no. She doesn’t make my needs subservient to her moods.
The great thing about the times she asks me to wait is that she names the time. She doesn’t leave me guessing. She’ll suggest the best time that works for both of us – then we both have something to look forward to and neither of us has put pressure on the other.
I wonder if this would work though if the first two points weren’t being practiced. I think she would resent my need if I wasn’t meeting hers. I can more easily meet hers because she tells me exactly what they are and doesn’t play guessing games. Do you see how wise she is? She really does set me up for success. And I think that’s what I like most.
With her, I feel respected and not rejected. I feel like she has laid the perfect groundwork for me to help her with what she needs. I don’t feel like the goalposts are constantly moving. I don’t feel like I’m not meeting expectations. I don’t worry that I missed some clue or intention. I’m a confident man in our relationship because I have a communicative wife.
Men – What does your wife do for you that helps keep your relationship growing and enjoyable? Women – What are some secrets you can share with other women that you’ve found help your man? Share them in the comments and help your fellow readers.