UNDERSTANDING YOUR HUSBAND'S DEEPEST NEEDS
The Secrets of a Satisfying Marriage - Part 7 of 12
I Corinthians 7:3
I Cor. 7:3 (GN) "A man should fulfill his duty as a husband and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other's needs."
THE FIVE DEEPEST NEEDS OF YOUR HUSBAND
Dr. Willard Harley is a Christian psychologist who directs a network of mental health clinics in Minnesota. During the past 25 years as a marriage counselor he has interviewed thousands of couples and discovered the 10 most important needs of husbands and wives. They are discussed in his highly recommended book, His Needs/Her Needs, (Revell, 1986).
1. My Husband Needs My Affection
"The wife has no longer all rights over her body but shares them with her husband. In the same way, the husband's body doesn't belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not cheat each other of normal sexual intercourse, unless you both decide to abstain temporarily to make special time for prayer. But afterwards you should resume relations as before, or you will expose yourselves to the obvious temptations of Satan." 1 Cor. 7:4-5 (Ph/GN)
God's command to your husband:
"Be faithful and true to your wife . . . Let your manhood be a blessing: rejoice in your wife . . . Let her charms and breasts satisfy you. Let your love fill you with delight!" Pr. 5:15, 18-19 (LB)
(NIV) ". . . may you be captivated by your wife's love."
2. My Husband Needs My ______________________________
"Live happily with the woman you love through the fleeting days of life, for the wife God gives you is your best reward down here for all your earthly toil." Eccl. 9:9 (LB)
"Enjoy life with your wife. . ." (NIV)
"Wives, adapt yourselves to your husbands; that is your Christian duty." Col. 3:18 (Ph)
3. My Husband Needs ______________________________
"Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7
FACT: Your husband is not God!
Men are visual-oriented: Read Songs of Solomon (4:1-5, 6:4‑10, 7:1-9)
4. My Husband Needs ______________________________
"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife." Pr. 17:1
"(Women are) . . . to love their husbands and their children, to be sober minded, to keep themselves pure, to manage your households well, to be gentle, submitting themselves to their husbands -- all this to insure that God's message should not fall into disrepute." Titus 2:4-5 (Cas)
Dividing the Labor Equally
1. Complete a ______________________________
2. Indicate your preference ______________________________
3. Compromise on a fair ______________________________
Example: Prov. 31:10-31
5. My Husband Needs My ______________________________
". . . Let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband -- that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly." Eph. 5:33 (Amplified)
"HOMES ARE MADE BY THE WISDOM OF WOMEN" Prov. 14:1 (GN)
UNDERSTANDING YOUR HUSBAND'S DEEPEST NEEDS
The Secrets of a Satisfying Marriage - Part 7 of 12
I Corinthians 7:3
Father, I thank You for creating us, women. I thank You for the very special role and abilities that You have given us as women. We join together as one tonight, asking You to show us Your truth. I pray that each woman here will be able to sift through the things that I share and glean for herself truth that she can apply in her own life. Father, I pray that hearts will be open. You, above all people, know the condition of our hearts. You know the places where we're already defensive and not willing to listen or to hear. Some are here grudgingly, some are here out of desperation. Each one comes with a different need. Thank You that You will meet us tonight at that point of need and show us exactly what we need to do to be the women and the wives that you intended us to be. We ask Your blessing on this time. Give us ears to here. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Fifteen years ago this year this June, I stood holding hands in a church in Norwalk, California with a tall, skinny, long haired, hippish looking young man named Rick Warren. At that time I vowed to love, honor and obey him until death do us part. Many of you made that very same vow at some point in your life. I had no idea what that involved. I had read all kinds of books on marriage. I was determined to be a good wife. I was a perfectionist and I was going to be the perfect wife. I knew I would be the one who set the trail for everyone else, so I read every book I could find on marriage. I talked to people about what it meant to be married and be a good wife. I read the Scriptures. I prayed. I did everything I knew how to do. But I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It quickly became clear on our honeymoon that Rick and I had totally different ideas of what marriage was all about.
I had my expectations. A romantic interlude. Rick, on the other hand, thought that marriage involved having a daily quiet time together and making love every day. That was marriage in a nutshell for him. In my immaturity and his immaturity we thought we knew what marriage was all about. As I said, on the honeymoon, it didn't take us long to figure out we had conflicting needs and expectations of marriage. By the time we got back from our honeymoon people would ask "How was your honeymoon?" What were we supposed to say? "It was awful! I saved myself for this?" Most people don't like to hear that kind of response.
Thus began two and a half years of very quiet, but very desperate, agony for both of us. We had no idea how to get along. We were as incompatible as any two people could be. What had started out as dreams of a wonderful marriage and one that would hit the record books for being fantastic ended in shear torture in a very short period of time. I wish that Dr. Harley's book His Needs/Her Needs had been available. As Rick and I, fifteen years later, read that book together both of us have found things we feel, but never knew how to put into words. The other would say, "That's how you feel? I didn't know that!" It an excellent book. I don't agree 100% with it but I highly recommend it to you. It's the basis for what we're going to be talking about tonight on how to meet the deepest needs of your husband.
I Cor. 7:3 "A man should fulfill his duty as a husband and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife and each should satisfy the other's needs." Dr. Harley is a Christian psychologist who directs a network of mental health clinics in Minnesota. In the past 25 years as a marriage counselor, he has interviewed thousands of couples and discovered the ten most important needs of husbands and wives. They are discussed in his book. I don't agree with absolutely everything. You and your husband may not fit exactly in the categories we're going to be talking about. That's OK. This is just based in general. This is not necessarily you and your husband specifically. It is based on Dr. Harley's studies over the years of thousands of couples. He's identified the ten basic needs of men and women. Each of us have these ten basic needs. It's just that certain of them are more concentrated in men generally and certain of them are more concentrated in women generally. Don't see what is not true for you and therefore discount everything I'm going to say. These are general principles. Ask God where you need to adjust them in your own marriage.
The ten basic needs for men that Dr. Harley has identified:
1. Sexual fulfillment
2. Recreational companionship
3. An attractive spouse
4. Domestic support
Dr. Harley has found the five deepest needs of women are in this order:
3. Honesty and openness
4. Financial security
5. Family commitment
Do you see where these lists overlap anyplace? No. They do not. Because those deepest needs of men and the deepest needs of women, in general, do not correspond, inevitably there is conflict from the beginning. What usually happens in marriages is that men, knowing their deepest needs, figure a woman has those same needs. So he enthusiastically goes at it trying to meet the deepest needs he thinks she has. A woman knows her deepest needs and she figures a man must have the same needs and she goes at it with all her might trying to meet her needs in him. This only leads to a lot of frustration. We accuse each other of being selfish -- "You won't meet my needs. You won't do what I need. You won't take care of me." It's not so much selfishness as ignorance. I had no idea that my husband was so different than I was. And I don't mean just in personality but in basic needs. He had no idea that I, as his wife, had so many needs different from him. Both of us began in earnest 15 years ago trying to meet my need in him and his need in me -- it didn't work. Dr. Harley says that the best way to get rid of incompatibility is to get down to the full time business of meeting each other's needs. Learning what they are and not only knowing but trying to meet it. You can't just know that your husband has a need and somehow think that knowing about it satisfies it. What it takes is being willing to learn new habits that will meet the needs that he has.
1. SEXUAL FULFILLMENT
I've heard so many women say, "Before we got married he was so romantic. He brought me flowers and talked so kindly to me and showered me with affection. It was great. But after we got married he turned into this lusting monster and after me all the time." The typical wife does not understand her husband's deep need for sex any more than the typical husband understands his wife's deep need for affection. This puts immediately a conflict between us.
He is not pawing you and grabbing you because he has turned into a lusting monster. He has a legitimate need that God put inside of him. It is a need he has and he can't help it. It will do wonders for your marriage if you can begin to grasp how deep that need is for him and how badly he needs for you to satisfy it.
When a man chooses a wife he makes a commitment that says to her, "I will look to you to meet my basic needs. I am committing myself exclusively to you." Most needs a man can legitimately satisfy outside of marriage. He can find friends and go hunting with them. He can find somebody that will give him admiration at the office. A lot of his needs he can satisfy outside of the marriage if he has to. But his need for sexual fulfillment cannot legitimately be satisfied anywhere else but in your relationship. He has made a commitment when you married to look to you only for that need. He has restricted himself to you, voluntarily.
Most men find they get put on a limited diet as far as they are concerned or either little or non existent sexual fulfillment. The man finds he feels cheated. He's put his whole trust into this woman, expecting her to feel as strongly about sex as he does. He has said, "I'm going to limit myself to you to meet that need." When she's disinterested, bored, and "forget it, honey" he is left with a very legitimate need unfulfilled that cannot be met anywhere else but in their relationship. Most men have to decide if they're going to live in this relationship for the rest of their lives because they're honorable men. They've made a commitment. They've vowed before God to be faithful to you. So they're going to be faithful -- miserable, but faithful. Or some men will choose to have an affair. There is no reason to put that kind of stress and pressure on your husband when that legitimate need is his God-given need. He didn't think it up. He didn't come into the world born the way he is because he choose to be that way. That is the way God designed men. Please do not cheat your husband and make him feel guilty for something he has no control over. God has made him the way he is with a legitimate need.
To my loving wife, During the past year I've tried to make love to you 365 times. I have succeeded only 36 times. This is an average of once every ten days. The following is a list of reasons why I did not succeed the other 329 times: too late -- 23 times
too early -- 15 times
too hot -- 16 times
too cold -- 5 times
it would wake the children -- 27 times
the company in the next room -- 11 times
the neighbors whose windows were open -- 9 times
you were too full -- 10 times
you had a headache -- 18 times
... a backache -- 26 times
... toothache -- 13 times
... giggles -- 6 times
you pretended to be asleep -- 46 times
not in the mood -- 36 times
you had a mud pack on -- 11 times
you watched late TV -- 17 times
I watched late TV -- 15 times
the baby was crying -- 17 times
you had to go to the bathroom -- 19 times
... for a total of 329 times. During the times I did succeed, the activity was not entirely satisfactory for a variety of reasons:
6 times you chewed gum the whole time
7 times you watched TV the whole time
16 times you told me to hurry up and get it over with
6 times I tried to waken you to tell you we were through
1 time I was afraid I hurt you before I felt you move
Honey, it's no wonder I'm cranky. Your loving husband.
The bottom line is that most men live on a very limited diet and this is not the way God intended. I Cor. 7:4-5 "The wife has no longer full rights over her body. She shares them with her husband. In the same way the husband's body doesn't belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not cheat each other of normal sexual intercourse unless you both decide to abstain temporarily to make special time for prayer. But afterwards you should resume relations as before or you will expose yourselves to the obvious temptations of Satan." If your husband is not getting his legitimate sexual fulfillment in you, you are creating an atmosphere where he is exposed to the wiles and temptations of Satan. This is a hard truth and we don't want to hear it. We can't argue with what Scripture tells us.
By the way, if we were to take a survey of what most of you wear to bed we'd find most of you are still wearing the same old ratty gown you got as a baby gift when your first child was born and your child is now 23 and you're still wearing the gown. Evaluate. Who are you dressing to please? You're dressing to please your husband when you go to bed. Some of you use that as a defense mechanism: the rattier it is the more safe I am.
The second is an old football jersey or sports shirt or a combination of sweatsuits or combination thereof. It's time to retire it. Get something new and exciting. If you're in the generation that cannot imagine yourself at all in two inches of fluff and lace then at least buy a new gown that's in a flattering color, something that makes you look pretty, feminine. If you're daring enough, go wild as you think of. He will probably drop dead of a heart attack and you won't have to worry about it any more! For a man sex is the panacea that makes everything all right in his world. A loving encounter with you can make up for the jerk that cut him off on the freeway, the fact that his boss didn't give him the raise that he really deserved and didn't get the promotion, the fact that he's not God's gift to women and never will be. It makes everything OK. Don't make him feel guilty for the way he is. Ask God to show you how you can learn to enjoy your husband. God's command to your husband: Proverbs 5:15,18,19 "Be faithful and true to your wife, let your manhood be a blessing. Rejoice in your wife. Let her charms and breasts satisfy you. Let her love fill you with delight." Another translation: "May you be captivated by your wife's love".
How can he fulfill what God has told him to do? God has told him to "rejoice in your wife... enjoy life with her ... be captivated by her." If you've got yourself locked up with chains and padlocks, how can he be what God intended? How can he have his needs met unless you are willing?
I don't know your situation. But I know how difficult this was for me. When I was eight years old, I was molested and I grew up with some very odd ideas about sex. I was alternately repulsed and attracted by sex. I never could figure out why I had such funny ideas. When I got married, I was a virgin, with very little sexual experience. It was terrible -- awful. Any other man, besides Rick, would probably have thrown me out on my ear. For two and a half years he was very patient with me -- loving, kind, tender as he began to understand the woundedness there was in me. If I thought at that time I would stand in front of a room full of ladies and say that sex is not just something to endure, but sex can be beautiful, wonderful, the most exciting thing that will ever happen to you in your relationship with your husband, I would not have thought possible, but somebody's cruel joke to even suggest that would be possible for me to do. God heals. God heals the broken places, the distorted ideas, the places where we think, "I can not do this!" When we surrender those to Him He heals. I'm living proof to you that God can take this important area in your life and take what is maybe terrible, horrible, painful, scary and brings up all kinds of bad memories, and He can change it and make it something that is a delight the way He intended it to be. I do know what I'm talking about.
Rate yourself in your mind. How would your husband rate his sexual diet? Starvation, meager, or satisfied. It's not as much as how you would rate this part of your life, but how does he rate it. Remember we are looking at how to meet the needs of your mate. How does he look at it?
2. RECREATIONAL COMPANIONSHIP
Eccl. 9:9 "Live happily with the woman you love through the fleeting days of life, for the wife God gives you is your best reward down here for all your earthly toil." Most men need a woman to be a playmate -- to play with him and enjoy leisure time activity. If you are like most couples, before you got married you probably spent 10-15 hours a week with the man you were going to marry, doing all kinds of things you would never have chosen to do on your own. You played football, basketball, movies that you might not have gone to see on your own, concerts -- you did it because you wanted to be with that man. But after marriage women suddenly decide that's not the way it's going to be anymore -- you do the things I like to do. Most women begin this process of trying to civilize their men. Men do OK with this as long as we don't get into their recreational area. We try to clean up their talk, pick up their dirty socks, civilize them. But when we try to tell them how to spend their leisure time there begins to be a conflict. For most men and women they have different interests.
Dr. Harley suggests a way to get around this. The goal of marriage is to become a best friend to your spouse. How can you be best friends with someone you spend no time with or very little time with? You don't build a friendship by not spending time together and you don't maintain a friendship by not spending time together. You build your relationship with your husband as you were dating and engaged by spending time together. To maintain it you've got to spend time together. Dr. Harley suggests about 15 hours a week. The first thing you want to do in trying to be a best friend is recreational time.
Mythical couple: Bill and Joyce. In one circle is Bill's interest. On the other side is his wife Joyce's interest. They don't meet. That's usually the way it is for most of us. They have different interests and there is nothing that is holding them together in terms of interests. If you don't have shared interests you will grow apart rather than together. The goal is to have some mutual interests. For most of that it takes work. You don't automatically have interests you want to spend in your leisure time. It's a challenge, something you've got to do.
When I'm talking about recreational, I'm not just talking about sports but ways in which you spend your leisure time. Anything would do that's leisure time. From a list of activities, the first step to build some mutual interests is to check some things that interest you. Then present the list (Step two) to your husband and ask him what he enjoys doing or thinks you might enjoy learning to do together. He checks those. Step three is you both assign a rating (from -4 to +4) to what the other has checked off. You go through the list where you've both checked off activities you think you might enjoy doing and assign it a rating. Step four, eliminate anything you both have not given a positive rating to. The goal is to find some things you can do together. When you've got that list, begin. The couple that plays together will stay together. You want to develop this time that will let you spend time together doing things. If there is a recreational activity that is only enjoyed by one of you, it probably needs to be eliminated, or at least put in a very low priority of your time. If you want to be best friends you have to spend time together.
Ladies, that means you will have to make a sacrifice. You'll have to be willing to spend less time doing individual things you've been doing so that you can spend more time with him. It means he's going to have to sacrifice some of the time he's been spending doing things he's done alone or with the guys that he can do now with you. It will require sacrifice from both of you. But the payoff is good. The payoff is a closeness and shared interest. For most men they want to have that recreational companionship with their wives.
Colossians 3:18 "Wives are to adapt yourselves to your husband; that is your Christian duty." Maybe it's been in the last 30 years that wives have come to find the Bible's injunction about women and their roles very hard to swallow. It has a lot to do with our culture and the way our society is going. But if you want to be a godly woman I challenge you to accept what Scripture says is to be your role, your obligation and your responsibility as a woman. There is no other way to be happy. I challenge you to accept the word of God as the final authority. The Word of God is to be your authority. If you want to be a wife, the Word of God is where you go to find your
answer. You take what the Bible says, no matter how difficult or how much against culture it goes and pattern your life after what Scripture says. That's my challenge to you.
3. AN ATTRACTIVE SPOUSE
The fact is, we do change as we get older. It's inevitable. Most of us after we get married start to gain weight, and even dress less attractively than we did in our teens or twenties when we first got married. There's the subtle thought in our minds, "I got him. If he doesn't love me this way, then he doesn't really love me. It doesn't really matter what I do,how I dress, how I act." Men care about having an attractive spouse. I am not saying you have to look like Bo Derek but neither should you look like a derrick either.
When Dr. Harley says that men need an attractive spouse, basically what he's saying is you should take as great of pains as you can to look like the woman he fell in love with. None of us can stop the aging process. But you should take pains to look as much as you can like the woman he married.
Men need their wives to be attractive for two reasons:
1) If you don't look good, he's not going to look much. And when he does look he's not going to be very excited over what he sees. Men are much more visual that women. God made them that way. Did you ever think how hard it must be for a man to have all of us walking around in sometimes less than appropriate clothing and he is visually stimulated? Do you understand how much discipline it takes for a Christian man to be godly in thought? Men are visually stimulated so you want to be the one who stimulates his attraction, not other women.
(1) How much does he want to touch you at appropriate and inappropriate times?
(2) What does he say about you? Men commonly expresse enthusiasm for their wives if they are attractive. If he doesn't say much, it could be a clue that he is not seeing you as attractive as maybe you once were. This is hard. This is not necessarily your need. Not that you don't want men to look attractive, but women are somehow able to look at a man who is not God's gift to women and see the inner qualities that are beautiful and strong and appeal to her and say, "That's the man I love". I Samuel 16:7 "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God does not." Your husband is not God. He looks on the outward appearance. You need to be physically attractive, as much as you can.
2) A simple matter of pride. This sounds stupid to most women but it's very real in men. When a man, in the business world, takes his wife to a business function and she looks like something the cat dragged in, stamped on, and threw back out, he is diminished in the eyes of his peers. That sounds real dumb to us and we don't like it, but it seems to be the truth. Wives don't have to be beautiful, but if they're neat, clean, and well kept -- not let yourself go, but dress as attractively as you can with the budget you have and with the fashion style you have, then he is elevated in the eyes of his peers. For a simple matter of pride, a man needs his wife to be attractive. If you doubt this, read the Song of Solomon where the man praises her for all the physical characteristics she has.
Five elements of physical attractiveness:
(1) Weight control. There are chemical reasons, but in general the reason we overeat is lack of discipline and we eat for all the wrong reasons. Love Hunger talks about all the reasons why we eat and how to get past them. You can control your weight with the Lord's help and a sensible diet plan.
(2) Make up. Wear make up that is attractive to him, that he thinks makes you look nice.
(3) Hair style. Don't get a hair style that your hairdresser likes and your best friend likes but your husband doesn't like. Wear your hear (within reason) in a way that appeals to him. He's the one you're dressing for. You don't need to look attractive for other women.
(4) Clothes that are flattering. No matter what size you are, you can find clothes that will flatter you.
(5) Cosmetic surgery, if necessary. Be cautious here. I'm talking about things that are an obvious defect that really detract from your obvious attractiveness, not only to him, but maybe makes you feel very self conscious. Things that correct obvious flaws. I'm not asking you to cater to the ridiculous of American culture.
4. DOMESTIC SUPPORT
Proverbs 17:1 "Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife." Titus 2:4-5 "Women are to love their husbands and children. Be sober minded, to keep themselves pure, to manage their households well, to be gentle, submitting themselves to their husbands, all this to insure that God's message should not fall into disrepute."
The way that you manage your household can either cause glory to God or disrepute to God. Dr Harley, "Many men fanaticize that his wife will greet him at the door when he comes home at night, lovingly and pleasantly. He dreams about well behaved children who, likewise, act glad to see him and welcome him to the comfort of a well maintained home. This fantasy continues as his wife urges him to set down and relax, before taking part in the tasty dinner. Conversation at dinner includes nothing controversial. Later the family goes out together for an early evening stroll and he returns and puts the children in bed with no hassle. Then he and his wife relax, talk together, watch a little TV and go to be to make love at a reasonable hour." Dr. Harley says this is a common fantasy among men he's worked with.
Rick ranks this need as number two. Scripture has commanded that I am to maintain a well ordered home. It seems in modern America, most men when they get married are willing to pitch in and help. If you're in the generation of 40 and under you most likely have a man that is willing to help. If you're in the generation o 40 and over, those men don't know how to find the soap under the sink to wash a dish. Most younger men will help until the kids come along. Suddenly the pressure is so increased on them to provide for the family, that when they've gone out and worked and when they come home and you say "Can you do..." he say, "I'm overworked as it is." Then, if you add to this, that so many American women work for one reason or another. She also comes home tired.
Dr. Harley suggests dividing the labor equally.
Mythical couple, Ken and Judy: Divide each of your work. Approximate what you spend each work. For Ken, he starts out with his income producing activity -- 45 hours, and a second job of 15 hours. He estimates he spends 5 hours a week entertaining the children, 15 minutes a week taking out the trash, 15 minutes a week washing dishes, 1 hour a week washing the car, 2 hours a week mowing the lawn, 15 minutes a week repairing the car, 15 minutes repairing the house, 1 hour repairing other items. Total of 70 hours of work in a given week.
Judy works outside the home for 10 hours as a sales clerk. She estimates she spends 10 hours a week entertaining the children -- the couple has small children, 20 hours a week feeding the children, 10 hours a week dressing children, 10 house a week bathing children, 5 hours a week cleaning house, 2 hours washing clothes, 3 hours washing dishes, 10 hours cooking meals, 2 hours repairing other items. Total of 82 hours of work a week.
There's an inequity here. He's spending 70 and she's spending 82 and that causes resentment. Do a work inventory. Write down an estimate of the hours you spend doing different chores each week. Do the list again, indicating your preference for each category. Judy gets to look at Ken's estimate and the way he spends his time and she gets to write out next to that the way she would like to see him spend that time, how she would like to see it different. For instance, she wanted him to up the time with the children from 5 hours to 9 hours a week. She wanted him to up his time repairing the house from 15 minutes to an hour. She looked at his schedule and said, this is how I'd like for you to spend your time. He could do the same on hers. He did not want her to work the 10 hours. He wanted her to work only 5 hours. He said it wasn't important to him that she be the one to clean the house. He'd rather hire someone. He looked at her schedule and estimated things he'd like to see changed in her schedule. The third step was compromise on a fair division of labor so that you adjust your schedules accordingly to approximately spend the same amount of time working and have the same amount of time for leisure. This does real good on paper but it's very difficult to work out in person.
If you will try this exercise I think it will be helpful working out letting your husband's deep need for domestic support -- having a tranquil and quiet home -- be met as well as the fact that you want him involved in the family life.
Example for this is Proverbs 31.
My husband needs my admiration. Ephesians 5:33 (Amplified) "Let the wife see that she respect and reverences her husband that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, and esteems him and that she defers to him, praises him, loves and admires him exceedingly." Honest admiration is a tremendous motivator for most men. To know that you think he is wonderful, that's he capable, that he is doing a great job can motivate him to do far beyond what he would do if you disapprove or do not admire him.
What can you do if you don't admire your husband? What if your husband isn't one of those great guys but instead is always messing things up?
1) Identify the characteristics in your husband that cause you to either admire him or not admire him. Make a list of those five needs you have and write down under each what he does that causes you to either admire him or not admire him.
2) Make a trade. Let him write his five needs and where you're meeting them and where you're not. It's so much easier to ask someone else to change if you come to the bargaining table saying I'm willing to change too. It's very difficult to have anyone change if you are handing him a list with the 10 things he does wrong and you don't like about him and want him to change. That is not great motivation to change! If you are willing to make some changes also.
3) Concentrate on changing habits, not traits. It's difficult to change traits, character traits. But it's much easier to change your habits. If you feel like your husband doesn't give enough time to the children and you say to him, "You're not spending enough time with the children. You ignore them." That's a character trait. It's hard for him to get a handle on what it is you want him to change. But if you say, "I feel like you don't spend enough time with the children. I would really like it if you would go to the PTA meetings with me and I would really like it if you would at least read to the children three nights a week before they go to bed." See the difference? If you say, "You're a bad father. You're not a good father to our children." You're talking about his traits. He doesn't know how to change that. Give him some specific things that you think would help his relationship as a father to the children. He can grab on to that and work on those habits. It's hard to change traits but concentrate on working on habits.
To have this kind of admiration the Bible says we are to have for our husband:
1) Be willing to change yourself
2) Make a list so he knows where he's not meeting your needs
3) Ask him to change specific habits rather than traits.
As soon as he starts doing them, admire the socks off the guy! The more you admire him the more he is motivated to change. Don't wait until he's completely different before you start telling him how much you appreciate the effort he's making to change. Compliment him the first sign you see. It will encourage him to go on.
Let Me Be a Woman by Elizabeth Elliot:
Your provider may someday lose his job. Your strength may show unexpected weakness. Your knight in armor may experience a public defeat. Your teacher may make a serious mistake that you tried to warn him about. Your lover may become a helpless patient, sore and sad, needing your presence and care every minute of the day and night. "This isn't the man I married," you will say and it will be true. But you married him for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and those tremendous promises took into account the possibility of radical change. That's why promises are necessary. There are things in life which can make what seems to be a mockery out of the solemn promises. To love, honor, and obey your husband can seem the last irony in the face of the unspeakable humiliation and indignities of illness. Love, honor and obey this beaten, anguished and angry man who will not take his pill? The vows are serious. Staggeringly serious. But you did not take them trusting in your own strength to perform. The grace that enables you to take these vows will be there to draw on when performance of them seems impossible.
I challenge you to honor your marriage vows. You can honor them by not only being faithful to your husband but making a commitment to full time begin to learn what his needs are and get down to the full time business of learning how to meet them.