Emotional Care of a Husband

First, I have to tell you wonderful women that I started off the day with a song in my heart. Last night a friend and I got together for tea, and through the course of several nuanced conversations we realized that we were both higher drive wives! Do you realize what this means? For the first time in my life I have a touchable friend who is in the same boat as me.

I am humbled by God’s gift to me in this amazing woman – and it makes it so much sweeter to write to you today because she is the woman who stands in for all of you. All of you who are becoming my sweet friends in the journey. And as much as I can’t see you, I know that you too are a real, living soul who I desperately wish I could have coffee with. I will say that 1 million times on this blogging journey because it is true. I write because I don’t get to talk to you face-to-face.

As my new-found “spicy” friend and I were talking last night, she said something that struck me, and I wanted to invite you into our conversation today.

“I was unprepared for the amount of emotional energy and connection my husband would need from me.”

O my goodness, my heart completely echoes that sentiment! Before I was married, the message I heard regarding my husband’s heart was that he would primarily want sex as a point of connection, and that it would lead to him feeling closer to me and opening up. For both my friend and I this has proven to be untrue. Our husbands need us to connect with them on a deep, emotional, heart-level before we engage in sex. As higher drive wives, we are the ones who find sex to be the doorway opening up and feeling close. We are the “reverse” of the picture of the majority of marriages. And it can be so, so hard to wrap our minds around this and to begin to respond to our husbands in loving ways that support who they are. We are challenged to find ways to strengthen and encourage their masculinity as it presents itself in a different picture than so many others.

Taking care of my husband’s emotional needs has been a steep learning curve for me, and taken a lot more selflessness than I thought. Learning to listen to his heart, and share my own, is a choice. I can emasculate him by wondering why he is made this way, or I can rejoice in the fact that my husband wants and needs to connect emotionally to me. He needs to hear how I am doing. If I seem far away, or if I haven’t checked in and told him what I am thinking about, pondering, concerned about, worried about – then he begins to feel like we are distant. I can be happily humming along doing my thing for much longer than he can before he needs to come back to our marital “home base” and check in. For him, if we aren’t emotionally connected then having sex is difficult.

As a higher drive wife, I can grow sad that I am once again having to initiate sex.  I can grow frustrated that we aren’t “normal”.  Or I can grow up and realize that our marriage is God’s gift to make me holy. I can leave behind self-centeredness and choose my husband above all others. I can rejoice in the man God has given me to, in our unique marriage and our beautiful journey. And that means I choose to tell him how I am doing, what I am thinking, what is going on. I choose to dig deep and uncover the treasures of his heart. I choose to give him the gift of my mind and my time. Because even though he wants us to connect, there are times he doesn’t have the words to wrap around his experiences and emotions. So I choose to take the time to wait silently for him to answer. I let him mull over a question and then respond. I choose to make a cup of tea and sit with him, patiently, rather than being a busy wife cleaning the kitchen or folding the clothes. I give my husband the gift of my presence. All of me.

Today, dear women, I want to urge you to consider how God has made the man He gave you to. Throw out all of your preconceived notions of how he is “meant” to be, and accept him for who he actually is. Ask yourself what he truly needs from you, his wife. Does he need you to pursue him emotionally? To listen to his stories, and share your own? Does he need you to focus all of your attention on him, to tell him with your actions, “You are the one I choose”? Ask the Lord to give you a selfless heart. Ask Him to guide you into the truth of what it means to go low, be humble and serve.

Praying for you today, dear friends. Praying for your hearts as you go before the Father with your questions. Praying that you would have ears to hear and that you would be quick to obey. Pray for me as well. Pray that I would be obedient in some things that I am dragging my feet in. Pray that I would be willing to let God cut out selfishness from my heart, no matter how painful the process.

I love you ladies. I love being your friend through this wonderful and crazy Internet world. I love hearing your stories and sharing in the hope of what is to come. Thank you for letting me be a part of God’s work in your lives, and sharing in the work He is doing in mine.

Annabel

P.S. There is still until midnight tomorrow, December 8, 2012 to win one copy of Sheila Gregoire’s book “31 Days to Better Sex” on this post. If you haven’t submitted a comment – do so and enter to win!

6 thoughts on “Emotional Care of a Husband

  1. Great post! I can totally relate, as my husband requires so much in the way of feeling loved and emotionally nurtured. Thank you again for sharing your heart. It feels so good to have reinforcement that I am not alone “out there.” The enemy wants us to feel isolated and separated… so that we fall into a trap and become ineffective in our lives, our testimony and in our reaching out to others. Your blog is a battering ram that is helping tear down strongholds in the lives of us “spicy” wives. And Annabel, you are a living example of 1 John 1:7. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Bringing our “spiciness” into the light, fellowshipping with one another and with the Lord, being cleansed… does it get any better that that?

  2. Yes, we need to remember that our husbands do have emotional needs that we need to meet. I”m wondering if higher drive men have the love language of physical touch and their wives don’t realize it. Those who have a different love language need their emotional needs met outside the bedroom just as much (if not more) than in the bedroom. I know my husband’s love language is “words of affirmation.” I definitely have to be mindful of filling that need with my words.

  3. Annabel – Great thoughts! This looks like one of those genders reversed posts, but I think it’s deeper than that. I think men and women both have sexual and emotional needs, and can’t be really fulfilled unless both are being met. However, for each of us one of those needs comes first, and if it’s not being met we don’t feel, or suppress the other need. In general men have sex first while women have the emotional first, but it can be the other way around.

    There are also those of both sexes for whom both things are important enough that we feel the lack of either even if we lack the other. I’d put myself in this category. Early on I was about more sex, but ONLY because the emotional was in good shape. Had the emotional been lacking, I’d have been chasing that and putting less energy into chasing sex.

    I’ve found that if you give your spouse what they hunger for most, they will become aware of other desires and needs within themselves.

    Hope my rambling helps someone!

  4. Annabel,
    This was a great article and even greater timing! I’m going to be married in exactly one week! We have stayed pure and are waiting till marriage for sex, but over the course of our engagement we have become more emotionally intimate, and you are right! Men do need a lot more emotional connection that I thought, or at least mine does. Neither one of us is initiating sex yet, (one more week!!) but considering how unlike other men, or what I’ve heard men are like, my man is much more emotional. I’m sure I’ll be one of those “higher drive wives” you called it, so I really appreciated your advice to sit down and listen. Your comments about being selfless also go along with what I’ve/we’ve been studying about marriage in premarital counseling- about how sometimes one has to sacrifice in ways they did not expect before. Your words,

    “Throw out all of your preconceived notions of how he is “meant” to be, and accept him for who he actually is. Ask yourself what he truly needs from you, his wife. Does he need you to pursue him emotionally? To listen to his stories, and share your own? Does he need you to focus all of your attention on him, to tell him with your actions, “You are the one I choose”? Ask the Lord to give you a selfless heart. Ask Him to guide you into the truth of what it means to go low, be humble and serve,” stood out to me in particular.

    We, as women can get so caught up in being pursued, even after marriage that we forget it’s a give and take. I know I have. To be able to connect together on an emotional level will make our first truly alone time together all that more special. Thank you for the wake up call. I’ll be praying for you!

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