He Actually Wants to Make You Happy [WoW]

Your husband really does want to make you happy, but he needs your help!

A Wives Only Wednesday post.

Dare to Believe

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Wives Only Wednesday post. As the name implies these are the posts written exclusively for wives. I also have a Men Only Monday series for Husbands.

I love my wife dearly, but I’m probably not the first husband in history to think his wife can be a bit, well, complicated.

I am willing to bet that your husband genuinely wants to make you happy and love you well. I dare you to believe the best and that he is for you. The thing is, your husband may not always know exactly what loving you well looks like, and here is where you can help him out.

Spell It Out

Even though you feel like he should know or care enough to find out what you need, your husband doesn’t get it. Trust me. If you want it, tell him. Then thank him.

I think God had a sense of humor when he created males and females so differently. I know that isn’t a popular notion today, but the fact is that statistically speaking, men and women are just different.

One way in which they are different is found in their key needs. While it isn’t true in all cases, chances are that your husband puts things like respect, being trusted and sexual intimacy high on his list of needs. You, on the other hand, most likely have a strong need for things like emotional intimacy, meaningful communication and feeling cared for.

Your husband will have a tendency to express love in ways he wants it expressed to him, as do you, which means your are going to need to communicate your needs to him. For most men, however, just expressing your general needs is not enough. He also needs help knowing what that would look like coming from him. Plainly spelling out what love looks like to you in no way invalidates his desire to make you happy. It simply increases the likelihood of him being able to do it.

Even if you have to tell him, it still counts!!

An Unsolvable Mystery

Many husbands look at their wives as an unsolvable mystery. By comparison men are much simpler creatures. If bringing you flowers made you happy last week, then he’ll assume bringing you flowers this week (or every week) will have the same result. It might. Or it might not. In fact there is a small chance that the same gesture, when repeated, will actually annoy you.

Now I’m not trying to accuse you with my observation that women can be complex and hard to figure out. But in my experience, how you receive a love gesture from your husband can depend on many factors: how your day went, your hormone cycle, whether he called you during the day, or any number of other complicating factors.

My point in saying this is that you do him (and yourself) a big favor if you keep on communicating your needs. He wants to meet them, but he may not be able to always sort out what they are in the moment. So help him out by saying, “It would be so wonderful if we could spend a few minutes together after dinner.” Or “I’m so tired, you would be my total hero if you would help get the kids in bed.” Maybe your husband is super aware and sensitive, but it will help him to know where you are and exactly what you need, since it’s likely a moving target.

Help Him Help You

Most guys want to be helpful, and we tend to like to fix stuff, even if we aren’t that great at it.

So let your husband help you out, even if it’s with something you know he will do differently than you (or perhaps not even as well as you). Ask him to carry something heavy, to reach for something you can’t or to help you solve a problem you are wrestling with. He wants to be useful, and he wants your trust.

He wants and needs to be your hero.

Affirmation Works

As your husband makes an effort to love you well and to help you out in practical ways, be sure to show appreciation. He won’t always get it just right, but criticism will cause him to withdraw and give up. He may stop making an effort altogether if he feels he will just fail in your eyes. If he doesn’t feel trusted, respected and appreciated, he will tend to withdraw.

I’m not suggesting you be insincere, but I do suggest that you be a gracious receiver. Give him the benefit of the doubt and affirm him in his efforts.
I know that there are exceptions, but I honestly believe that a vast majority of husbands are good-hearted when it comes to wanting to make their wives happy. Choose to believe in his love for you and his good intentions. And help him to know how to love you well.

 

About Scott

Author, teacher and champion of great marriages. Founder of HMM Creations, providing resources that help you create the passionate, intimate and enduring marriage you always wanted.

4 comments on “He Actually Wants to Make You Happy [WoW]

  1. Hi Scott, I struggle with this. I’ve always thought if my husband really loved me, he would want to show it. He always says he wants to make me happy, but other than working really hard (which is great) he seems to choose not to do much else.

    I struggle with what you said here: “He also needs help knowing what that would look like coming from him. Plainly spelling out what love looks like to you in no way invalidates his desire to make you happy. It simply increases the likelihood of him being able to do it.
    Even if you have to tell him, it still counts!!”

    I don’t like having to tell him. It feels like begging for attention. I don’t like having to beg for anything, like sex, or dates, or gifts. I want him to give me those things because he wants to, not because he feels obligated. I try to do nice things, make him special meals, etc. because I like making him happy. Not because he had to ask. Asking kind of cheapens it.

    I tried to get over that. I’ve asked for flowers a couple times. Never got them. Although, he knows not to get me flowers within a couple weeks if I do mention it, because then I’ll know he only did it out of obligation because I asked, and I don’t want that. If he thought I was worthy of flowers, he’d buy them. I don’t want him doing anything he doesn’t want to do. That’s not love.

    I took a great idea from another blog, went out on a limb, and for Christmas I made him a “date box”. I filled it with one idea for a date for each month. He seemed to really like it. I’m very happy he liked it, and that he seems to enjoy spending the time with me, but at the same time, I wish he’d find me worth the time without me having to ask (beg).

    He didn’t get me a gift for Christmas. He usually runs out at the last minute and grabs something you’d give a distant cousin, like a mug – or socks. It’s my fault, I told him not to worry about shopping for me. (I didn’t really mean that, I was just trying to take some pressure off of him). I didn’t think he’d take me so seriously. Please don’t think I’m greedy, I’d rather get a personal gift – like a handwritten note (NOT a lame greeting card), or a dinner date – than anything expensive. So I’m not sad that I didn’t get a pricey gift, but just that he doesn’t see me as worth the time, thought or effort.

    So anyhow, I guess part of me sees your point. Being direct and begging for what you want will more likely get the results you’re after. But I’m after the THOUGHT, not the stuff. So having to ask to be loved kinda cheapens the whole deal.

    Thanks for the insightful post!

    • B – I know you feel like you are begging, but from what you describe I honestly believe your husband just doesn’t get it. It’s VERY common. Men just do not know what love looks like to their wives. When they can’t figure it out and feel like they are failing at it, they give up trying. Throw him a lifeline and tell him what you need. I know it feels bad to you to prescribe the love you want to receive, but if you don’t, he won’t get it. I don’t believe that most husbands are ill-willed or unloving, they just need a little (sometime a lot of) help.

      Think of saying something like, “I know you love me. You show me by how hard you work to provide for our family. And I know you want to love me well. Because men and women are very different in what love looks like to them, let me tell you what love looks like to me.” This will affirm him and show appreciation, but will also allow you to convey you needs and desires in a non-demanding way. You could also ask him what love looks like to him.

  2. So how do married men express love to their wives? Besides the side by side daily life of a committed married couple-work, chores, children etc. I think they have a good grasp on what touches a woman’s heart while dating-they know how to pursue and do little things that let her know she is on his mind and do what it takes to make her his. This is how a woman feels loved and cherished-they do know. She never asks for anything. Do they figure those things don’t matter any longer once they’re married? My husband is a good man and does a lot for us and I appreciate him and I’m proud of him. But I agree w B I want to feel like he cherishes me, is happy I’m his wife and wants to do things out of love for me-a rose when he stopped at the store, a kiss on the forehead and a tender hug, a foot rub while we’re on the couch together, being asked out for Saturday night so I can look forward to a date w my man, a love note, a text during the day that he is thinking about me and how much he loves me, looking me in the eyes and telling me he’s a lucky man, looking at me across the table and telling me I’m beautiful, reaching for my hand as we’re walking down the street–simple things out of the blue. I know my husband wants to make me happy and I think he’d do anything I asked of him. But I don’t want to ask –bc I know he’ll do it and I will wonder if he wanted to or is just checking something off the list if that makes sense. I want an expression of love from his heart-not out of obligation because I asked.

    • K – I don’t know why men seem to have an easier time understanding a woman’s needs when dating. I think many men forget that pursuit of their spouse is a lifelong venture. I don’t think it means they love their wives any less. Maybe some get a little bit lazy or fail to understand the importance of meeting each other’s needs. In some cases men withdraw when they feel their needs are unmet (typically such needs as respect, trust, sexual fulfillment are high on a husband’s list).

      Regardless of the reason, in most cases I don’t think it’s because the husband loves his wife less. Of course you want to feel “worth the effort” for him to figure it out. And whatever the reason, I think most husbands need to be reminded (sometimes repeatedly) what their wife needs and exactly what that looks like. I get your resistance to “begging,” but I honestly don’t see it as begging.

      If you believe your husband loves you, you owe it to him to help him do that well.

      As footnote, the same applies to husbands asking for what they need. For example many husbands stop asking for sex because they don’t want to “beg” for it. However, because of the typical differences between the sexual wiring of men women, men usually have to remind their wives of their need for sexual intimacy. More on this key difference in my post She Really Does Desire You

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