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What Do Wives Want from Their Husbands?

  • Marie Wellmond
  • 2014 19 May
What Do Wives Want from Their Husbands?

Wives want quality time, help around the house, leadership, and affection. That’s what the article I read listed. Fairly simple and straightforward. Life tells a very different story. What do women really want from their husbands?

When asked “How much money is enough?” J. D. Rockefeller had the answer. “Just a little more.”

And what has our culture taught wives to want from their husbands? “Just a little more.”

True story: When the husband was battling alcoholism, her prayers and pleas were simple. “Oh, God, just let him stop drinking.” Amazingly, through God’s grace, his own determination, support from an online community, and a threat of divorce, he beat the odds. He quit drinking. Not a drop for nearly two years now.

So now she’s satisfied, right? Wrong. Again, against all odds, he secured a job in one of the most economically-depressed, welfare-dependent regions of America. His income allowed them to live a simple, debt-free life. Now, we have a husband who has fought off addiction, secured a job, and provided the financial stability that allows a family to live debt free. He eats dinner with the family every night. He is respected in the community. And she thinks…he’d look a lot better if he lost 50 pounds. Motivated to live healthier for his family, he took on another challenge and lost 50 pounds. And she says, sure would be nice if we had money so the kids could take piano lessons or so we could eat out once in a while. If he weren't so satisfied in that dead-end job….

How often this story is told, I can’t say; but it did happen at least once. And with quirky variations to match individual marriages, I would guess it happens every day.

What do wives want? “Just a little more.” And there’s the temptation to say, “Yeah, if my husband were free from addiction, had a job so we were debt-free, came home every night, and had a normal BMI, I’d be satisfied, too.” What about that first list—the one with quality time, help around the house, leadership, and affection? There is no perfect answer to what wives want from their husbands.

So, maybe it’s time to change the questions.

What do I want for my husband? I want freedom and wholeness for him. I want his heart to trust confidently in me. I want him to lack nothing of value (Proverbs 31:10). Husbands enter marriage as humans, and, as humans, they bring baggage along too. It is a grievous experience to be the wife, watching her hurting husband try to make sense of a painful past. His energy may be spent trying to find a place to stuff all his baggage so there’s no enthusiasm left to start in on her list. How much better to find peace and wholeness and freedom together.

And what do I want for myself? I want him—for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, from this day forward. I want him. And yes, that means I’ll attack anything that has the power to take him away from me. Addiction steals spouses, so I’ll confront addiction. Debt robs marriages; I’ll attack debt. Obesity kills; I’ll take on obesity. Neglect damages; I won’t let too many evenings go by with us rotting in front of the magical moving screen. But may the attacks always be leveled against the real enemy—the marriage thieves, not against my husband.

What am I willing to do to get what I want? For most things in life, we women are comfortable knowing that if we want something, we’re going to have to work for it or sacrifice for it. If we want to be fit, we’re going to have to hit the gym. If we want some money left at the end of the month, we’ve got to give up a couple lattes. But to get that illusive list from our husbands, we don’t expect to invest a lot. We expect that when we make our suggestions, he’ll make it happen—and just because he loves me.

To get what I want for him…What will I do? I’ll watch my tongue. It has the power of life and death. I want him to be free and whole. Freedom and wholeness cannot co-exist with bitterness, nagging, and manipulation. I want him to be confident. Confidence is smothered by belittling and slander. I want him to lack nothing of value. I’ll be industrious. I’ll use our resources wisely. I’ll keep my financial expectation in check.

So, please, no more J. D. Rockefeller expectations. May this topic of what wives want from their husbands be silenced forever.

Marie Wellmond is on staff at, an organization that helps saves troubled marriages through a powerful marriage workshop. Please follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Publication date: May 19, 2014