It may be a stereotype, but there’s some truth to the idea that men typically aren’t very forthcoming with their emotions. As much as we try to teach couples the importance of communicating openly, and that speaking about problems is better than bottling them up… Many men still have trouble in that department, and won’t be vocal about the things bothering them until they’ve reached a boiling point.
Every man is different, of course, and they don’t all fulfill the stoic image of masculinity. For plenty of them, though – even some of the best communicators – there are some elements of marriage that they might have a tough time talking about, and others they simply aren’t putting into words. These parts of your marriage are subtle – and likely are extremely important to your husband, even if he isn’t quite articulating them himself.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of those subtleties to be aware of. These aren’t really specific behaviors or some kind of “do’s and don’ts” list. Instead, these are the often unspoken elements of how men feel in relationships – and things to be aware of if you’re concerned about his happiness.
These are some marriage essentials for many men, and if they aren’t present, the relationship might be in trouble.
We’ll cover half the list today:
1. He Can Be Himself
This means letting his personality out with no reservations, no reining things in to fit your expectations (or anyone else’s). At home, this is extremely important. For a husband to be happy, he can’t feel like he’s walking on eggshells, feel like he’s got to watch what he says, or feel like he’s constantly stopping himself from doing or saying what he naturally feels.
If your husband can’t be himself around you, it isn’t a truly connected relationship.
2. You Need Him, But Aren’t “Needy”
Men like to feel like providers, protectors, etc., but there’s definitely a line between feeling “manly” and dealing with someone overly needy. There’s a time and a place for him to fulfill his role as a leader, or whatever typically “masculine” traits may be important to him – but if he feels like he’s constantly helping you, making all of the decisions, responding to your texts and calls multiple times a day, and otherwise dealing with an extreme level of neediness, it’s going to make him resent the dynamic you share… and eventually start to resent the relationship itself.
There’s a middle ground that helps him still feel “manly” – but doesn’t drive him up the wall!
3. You Feel Like Family (To His Family)
Now, this will depend on the relationship that your husband has with his parents, siblings, and the rest of his family, but if he has a good rapport with them – he will want you to as well. If he feels like he’s forced to take sides in a conflict, or choose between his family and you, it creates mental and emotional weight that will cast a shadow on the marriage.
If, on the other hand, you can easily assimilate into his family, and he can see everyone together as people he loves and cares about, his marriage to you will feel all the more “right.”
4. You Care About Your Appearance
He doesn’t expect you to be a supermodel, or go to absurd lengths to doll yourself up, dress to the nines every day, or break your back at the gym… He does, however, appreciate the efforts you make to look your best – mostly because he experiences that as you being attractive for him.
On the flip side, if you aren’t making any efforts in this department, he may interpret it as a lack of interest or care for his perception of you.
5. He Likes How He Feels With You
For many men, the women they love feel like a sanctuary – a person they can share their vulnerable moments with, a “place” where they feel relaxed, comfortable, and truly happy. These feelings are at the top of his mind on his way home from work, when he’s been away for whatever reason, while he’s at home waiting for you to get back…
It’s an essential part of why he likes to spend time with you – because it feels “warm and fuzzy.” If it doesn’t, well, it puts a damper on his desire to spend time together. If he feels under pressure, criticized, or otherwise on edge as a result of being in your presence, that’s going greatly damage the quality of your marriage.
6. You Appreciate Him
This is one of the most important aspects of a marriage for men – at least in terms of their own ego and personal satisfaction – and that’s feeling useful, appreciated, and not taken for granted. Every couple will express this a little differently, but thanking him for his contributions around the house, reminding him that you love him, and simply keeping it mind not to take him for granted will make him feel important and admired.
Next time, we’ll cover another six points that are specifically important to men in a marriage. Until then, make sure you’re aware of these things, talk to your husband about them, and above all, work together to make your marriage the best it can be!
Want more help? Here's a link to "Are You Helping Your Husband Leave You? Part 2."
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com