A friend called me the other day and confided in me that she is exasperated and is at her wits ends and does not know what to do. She seemed quite depressed as well. So, I asked her to come over for a chat. She grabbed the proposal and was at my door in an hour’s time. When we sat down to speak, all she managed was to cry and much later she told me, ‘my husband, he just does not care to listen to me!’ The poor woman, I realized, had such pent up emotions locked up within herself, which had never found a vent.
A woman needs emotional support from her husband as much as he needs physical intimacy from his wife. A couple needs to strike a balance by meeting each of their needs. A woman can read cues from her husband’s actions and behavior and know his needs exactly but where she goes wrong is in expecting the husband to read her actions and behavior to know her needs and fulfill it. Irrespective of the number of years in marriage, the husband is unable to know ‘what the woman really wants?’ Its a big mystery for him
because it is not his area of expertise, so to say, to read the ‘mind’ of his wife and so he draws a blank, everytime he attempts to fulfill his wife’s need.
To make matters worse, a woman is not enabled to be articulate about her needs, so, she ‘expects’ her husband to know it somehow and when the need is not fulfilled, one can expect an emotional outburst which is generally termed as ‘anger.’ Remember, she has been created an emotional being and therefore, she looks for emotional fulfillment but when she does not find it, the emotions are bottled up and when it reaches the brim, it has to burst out. has to vent out her bottled up emotions unless ofcourse she has a very fulfilling and satisfactory relationship with her husband.
I have a question for all the husbands here. What do you do when your wife bursts out crying during a discussion/ argument?
Well, most likely the wife expects some emotional support from her husband and the plea comes in form of tears but what happens is that generally the man does not know how to deal with emotions. Whenever he is put in an emotionally charged situation, he would like to be left alone. So thinking, he walks away, imagining it to be the best solution. He hardly knows that her tears are in the first place because of feeling ‘alone,’ and if he walks away from her now, she will feel more alone and depressed.
Digging a little deeper, we find that, as little boys they are constantly fed the idea that crying is silly behavior. So, men grow up with this wrong notion and by the time they enter wedlock, their emotional side has mostly eased out of them. They also do not have much training in how they can deal with other’s emotions. Men may think that they can do without this skill but trust me this skill will help you keep your marriage going! This is true because, when a woman finds an emotionally supportive husband, she does wonders to her marriage. You not only gain her confidence and loyalty automatically but you will that she will walk that extra mile to please you, keep the house neat and tidy, bring up the kids in a loving atmosphere, cook nice meals for the family, respect your parents and support you in all your endeavors. Who does not want such a wife? But it will all be yours with a little investment into finding out what pleases your wife the most by addressing her emotional needs.
Do you remember a time when you sat beside your wife, wiped her tears dry and consoled her with sweet words of reassurance that she will always find you besides her whenever she needs you the most. When was the last time you did it? Let me guess, probably when you met her first! And why did you do that? Because it pleased her the most when you said it. Isn’t it? So, what stops you from doing it now? Think deeply about it & you could solve a major jigsaw puzzle in your life!
Every woman’s emotional need is different. To make matters simple for you, I have listed down 3 broad categories of what a woman wants the most from her husband (not in any particular order of priority). This has been culled out of Willard F. Harley, Jr.‘s international best selling book ‘His Needs Her Needs’ wherein he lists out his widely researched emotional needs of spouses and provides a questionnaire to find out your most important emotional need and how effective your spouse is in dealing with this need.
1. Conversation (talking about events of the day, personal feelings, and plans for the future; showing interest in her favorite topics of conversation; balancing conversation; using it to inform, investigate, and understand her) Conversation has three most vital aspects to it-
a. Listening: Just listen to her! Listen and not wait for your turn to talk. Most women just want to be heard, not advised. And most men want to fix, rather than do nothing. So the idea of providing “support” by plain listening, as women want can be difficult to grasp. When she is sharing her day today happenings etc, she doesn’t want you to solve her problems or tell her how to handle it, she just needs you to listen and be sympathetic.
b. Undivided attention (Stop talking to your spouse or answering her questions while answering to an email or while reading the newspaper or while answering another phone call. Donot multi-task! Sit down and look her in the face and actively listen.)
c. Being non-judgmental She needs to know you will not feel or think differently about her for expressing herself. Provide her that forum.
2. Affection & intimacy (the expression of love in words and action, creating an environment that clearly and repeatedly expresses love free from the distinctively sensual element. Creating an intimate space to brings about a sense of fulfillment and feeling of togetherness-need not be sensual).
3. Domestic Support (creation of a home environment for you that offers a refuge from the stresses of life; management of the home and care of the children— including but not limited to cooking meals, washing dishes, washing and ironing clothes, housecleaning etc).
Other needs listed in his book include Admiration, Family Commitment, Financial Support, Sexual Fulfillment, Recreational Companionship, Honesty & openness, An Attractive Spouse. You can find the questionnaire at http://www.marriagebuilders.com/forms/enq.pdf
You can research along with your spouse on her most important emotional needs and work out a commitment plan either stated or unstated and work towards a more healthier married life! Trust me, the very fact that you are genuinely interested in knowing her emotional needs will get her immediately on your side.
Radhanath Swami often gets the newly married couple promise each other that the wife will always be on the side of her husband and the husband will never see a tear in his wife’s eye. He adds that love means to serve and to serve means to please. So, when we serve each other by pleasing each other in our marriage, our home becomes Vaikuntha.
On a secondary note, men are entitled to their emotions–to feel and to express them as well. It does not make you less manly if you do, rather it goes a long way in creating a more beautiful relationship in your marriage.