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When men and women are asked about their individual needs in marriage, three facts always emerge: Men consistently list the same five basic needs as being the most important to them. Women also identify about five needs as being vital to their happiness.

The two lists are very different. As we explore these enlightening lists, we learn the number one need consistently expressed by men was sexual fulfillment while the number one need for women was almost universally affection. And we find in the Word that God Himself designed these priorities.

"Talk to Me, You Big, Handsome Man!"
The number two need for wives, second only to the need for affection, is communication - open, honest communication. Suffice it to say, husbands, your wife has a very real and important need for you to talk to her. I mean really talk to her. If that need goes unmet, problems are sure to arise.

The number two need husbands most frequently mention may surprise you. It's admiration. That's right, ladies. Your husband has a very real need to know you admire him. God points to its importance in Ephesians 5:33, "and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband, that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates him and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly" (AMP).
Your husband has a very real need to know you admire him.
- Mac Hammond

That's quite a mouthful isn't it?

Be assured, ladies, the reason God puts such an emphasis on this is because it is so vitally important to your husband. He needs that admiration to function properly as the mighty spiritual warrior God created him to be.

Nothing will light his fire any faster than to have you, the woman he loves, tell him how great he is. When that happens, he will be able to conquer the world.

If you have a hard time finding qualities you admire about him, ask the Holy Spirit to show you his admirable traits. They may be hard to see right now, but they're there. If you'll trust God to reveal things to you about your husband, you'll get so excited about him you won't be able to stand still.

Don't let the enemy deceive you into focusing on what is wrong with him. Choose to begin focusing on admiring those things that are right with him. He needs it greatly, and more importantly, your relationship needs it.

A Lot of Truth...and a Little Makeup
Would you like to know what the third most important need is for most wives? Good old-fashioned honesty and openness. Naturally, both husbands and wives need to be honest with each other, but this is an acute need for women. Every wife needs to know the man who shares her life is always being honest with her.

This is especially vital because it affects a woman's response to a man's authority and headship in the home. If your wife is going to be able to respond to your authority and leadership, she needs to know she can trust you. If she senses you're not being completely honest with her or that you're hiding something from her, she won't be able to properly submit to your leadership.

The husbands' number three need may strike some believers as being totally unspiritual, but it's not at all. It's the man's need to feel that his wife is attractive.

It's a rare man who doesn't want other people to look at his wife and say, "Wow, he certainly is blessed to be married to her!" Now this may sound like bad news to some of you ladies.

You may be saying, "Hey, aren't Christians supposed to be looking beyond the outward man and into the inner person?" Yes, but the scripture most frequently cited to support the position that Christians shouldn't be concerned about their outward appearance has been misunderstood by most people.

The passage I'm referring to is 1 Peter 3:3-4 where the Holy Spirit, through Peter, is instructing wives how to win their husbands. "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

Many people misinterpret verse three because the King James Version makes it a little unclear. The Amplified Bible more accurately says, "Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning" and the New American Standard says, "Let not your adornment be merely external." Ladies, God isn't against your making yourself look good. In fact, He's for it! He's just saying don't stop there. Go further and make sure you've taken care of the inside too.

Women tend to be more spiritually sensitive than men. And men tend to be moved more easily by their senses, particularly their sense of sight. Men are very visual creatures. It is vital that you wives not let your appearances go. It's important to your husbands.

I'm not suggesting if you're not magazine cover-girl material that your husband is dissatisfied. I am saying that you should make every effort to look your personal best. I guarantee it will make an impact on your husband. It will bless him and make your marriage stronger.

A Matter of Domestic (and Financial) Security
OK, men, now it's your turn again. Would you like to know what comes in at number four on most wives' list of needs? Financial security. You knew it had to be in there somewhere, didn't you?

Yes, your wife has a very real, legitimate need to know that the family's needs are going to be met. All the needs we've examined to this point have had a basis in Scripture, and this one is no exception. Look at 1 Timothy 5:8: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."

That's mighty heavy stuff, guys. God's Word makes it clear that it is your solemn, God-given responsibility to make sure that your family is financially secure. Many problems in our society today can be traced to women having to work to help make ends meet.

Notice I said having to work. It's the source of many marriage problems as well. Why? Because when a wife is forced to work outside the home for financial reasons, she faces potential resentment toward her husband.

So what are the alternatives to the wife working outside the home when the bills aren't getting paid? Well, praise God, there are some natural, physical steps you can take; and, if you're a Christian, there are also some powerful supernatural steps you can take as well.

In the spiritual realm, God has provided a way of prospering and increasing called "planting seed." We can tithe and give offerings and then watch God supernaturally work in our financial lives. I could elaborate, but I'll have to save it for another time.

From the natural perspective, you have three basic options when your income isn't meeting your outgo. First, the husband can work a second job or longer hours. Second, the wife can go to work outside the home and supplement the family's income. Third, and I believe wisest of the three options, is to reduce the family's standard of living to meet its current income.

Regardless of what steps you have to take, realize this, husbands: It is your responsibility to provide for your family. If you'll ask God to show you how, He will. He'll open the doors of opportunity to you and then, as you become faithful in doing those things, more opportunities to prosper will arise.

Just as most wives have a genuine need for financial security, most husbands have a strong need for domestic security. That's his number four need on his top five list. What do I mean by "domestic security"?

Domestic security describes a man's need to know things are being cared for at home while he's out hammering away winning the bread - that when he comes home his house is going to be in order. Many wives don't fully appreciate or understand what it means to a man to know the home front is being taken care of while he's out doing his best to earn a living.

First Timothy 5:14 speaks of this need: "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." To a man, a well ordered home is a refuge. Having that type of refuge from the stresses and pressures of the outside world meets a very important need in his life.

Naturally, if the wife works outside the home there is going to have to be some type of division of labor around the house. She cannot be expected to shoulder the burden of maintaining the home alone. But if the wife is a full-time homemaker, she has a God-ordained responsibility to make that home a haven for her husband.

Family and Fun
The last of the top five needs for wives is "family commitment." Family commitment means the husband has a vital, active interest in everything going on in the family. The Bible teaches that a man's family should be second in priority only to his relationship to God.

You can see how much importance God places on family commitment in Genesis 18:19. There, in effect, God says He can bless Abraham because He knows he will command and direct his children and his household in godly ways. Every wife needs to know that her husband takes ultimate and final responsibility for everything that concerns the family.

Men, that means sitting down with your wife and discussing the decisions that need to be made, establishing the vision for the family, talking about the discipline and education of the children and generally taking an active role in the family. It also means spending real, quality time with the children, as individuals and as a group. I'm not talking about sitting together in front of the television, either. I'm talking about real times of interaction.

The fifth need most frequently cited by husbands is "recreational companionship."

"What on earth is recreational companionship?" I hear you wives asking. It simply means getting involved and going along as he pursues some of his interests. The old stereotype of a husband always leaving his wife at home to go have fun with the boys should have no place in a Christian home. His best buddy is to be you.

He shouldn't have to go out with the boys every time he wants to do something fun. Get involved with him. Sit down with him and develop mutual interests. It will meet a very important need in his life and strengthen your relationship like few other things can.

Well, there you have it-the top five needs for husbands and wives. Put them all together and you have the unbreakable, one-flesh relationship that God designed. As you learn to identify and meet each other's unique needs, you'll find more fulfillment, happiness and joy in your marriage than you ever dreamed possible. You'll discover the wonder of "being heirs together of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3:7).

Copyright © CFAITH All rights reserved.


Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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