Meeting Your Husband’s Emotional Needs
1 .Get your husband to open up.
Some men are socially conditioned to avoid talking about their feelings. This can be damaging to the relationship, as it leaves a lot of important feelings unexpressed. If your husband has a hard time opening up, you may need to work harder to learn how he feels and what he needs in the relationship.
- Let your husband know that you’d like to know how he feels. You may find it helpful to set aside some time on a regular basis in which you both talk about how you’ve been feeling.
- Don’t judge your husband over how he feels, and don’t jump to any conclusions based on what he tells you. You want to create a situation where your husband will feel safe discussing his feelings with you, and in order to feel safe he needs to know that you won’t get upset or judge him for what he says.
2 .Ask your husband what he needs.
Some people aren’t comfortable asking for something unless the issue is brought up by someone else. If you’re concerned that you aren’t meeting your husband’s emotional needs, talk to him about it and ask him what, specifically, he needs.
- Determine if your husband needs change (as in, feeling stuck in a rut or feeling unsatisfied with some aspect of the relationship), understanding (more communication, more of a willingness to see an issue from his perspective), or greater compatibility (more intimacy, more time spent together). These are three important keys in a successful and supportive relationship.
3 . Communicate your needs to your husband.
If you need change, understanding, or greater compatibility, let him know, and work on these issues together. The relationship will not work if only one spouse is working on meeting the other’s needs. A real, true partnership only exists when both partners are working to make each other happy and fulfilled.
4 . Work to meet each other’s needs.
Once you’ve determined what your husband needs in order to feel loved and fulfilled, and you’ve communicated your needs, try to help give him those things. Ask him to work toward giving you what you need as well.
- If your husband needs change, work with him to find a solution. Try breaking out of your collective routines. Do something different together, like taking a vacation or learning a new hobby together.
- If your husband needs understanding, spend more time talking with one another. Listen to how he feels and offer him supportive feedback.
- If your husband needs greater compatibility, try to take more of an interest in his hobbies, and ask him to do the same with your interests. Work on spending more time together, and try to be more intimate with one another.
5 .Prioritize one another.
In many successful marriages, each spouse puts the other person’s needs first. This ensures that both spouses have their needs met, while simultaneously striving to make the other person happy. Everybody wins when both spouses work equally
6 .Listen to how your husband feels.
If you’re worried about meeting your husband’s emotional needs, it’s important to listen to how he feels. You should communicate with one another openly and honestly, and listen when he tells you how he feels.
- Be an active listener. Process what your husband is saying instead of preparing your response before he is finished speaking. Encourage him to continue by making eye contact, nodding your head, and asking questions.
- Avoid critiquing your husband’s feelings. Help him feel comfortable sharing his feelings without fearing that you will judge him or correct him.
- Talk about any behaviors that you or your spouse engage in that affect your relationship. You may want to initiate the conversation by asking if there’s anything you could be doing differently, and then gently telling your husband if there are things he could be doing differently as well.
- Try to actively address any issues that are brought up, and ask your husband to do the same.
7 . Identify communication issues.
If you’re still having a hard time communicating with your husband about what each of you need, it may be that you and your husband have different styles of communicating and aren’t picking up on each other’s true feelings. If this is the case, one or both of you may need to adjust how you approach communication to better accommodate one another.
- Clear and direct communication is when you don’t avoid saying what needs to be said. It can seem too blunt to some people, but some experts believe it is the healthiest form of communication. Try telling each other exactly how you feel, with no sugarcoating.
- Clear and indirect communication clearly communicates the basic message, but may not direct that message at the appropriate person. An example of clear and indirect communication would be saying that a certain behavior bothers you, but without directly addressing the intended target. In this case you or your husband may need to be more direct.
- Masked and direct communication directs communication to the appropriate person, but without being clear on what is actually being communicated. An example of masked and direct communication would be telling someone that certain behaviors can be upsetting, without directly saying that the intended target has engaged in that behavior. Again, practicing directness can help.
- Masked and indirect communication obscures both the message and the intended target of criticism. This is considered a highly unhealthy method of communication. If this sounds like you or your husband, you should take pains to be more honest with each other. Try writing down what you want to say as a way to clarify your feelings before expressing yourselves to each other.
8 . Learn how to communicate clearly. You may have identified some unhealthy or indirect tendencies in the way you or your husband communicate. Assertive communication is a great model for clear communication, because it is based on mutual respect: you will stand up for your needs, but you will also listen to others and compromise. To communicate clearly and assertively try the following:
- Use “I” statements. Instead of beginning a sentence with “you,” which can sound accusatory and often makes the other person defensive, use “I.” So, instead of “You’re wrong,” you say: “I disagree.” Other “I” statements include: “I feel,” “I need,” “I would like.”
- Talk about the behavior, not about your husband. Instead of saying, “You look like a slob,” ask: “Did you know that shirt has a mustard stain on the front?” This avoids judgement and instead focuses on the facts.
- Pay attention to tone and volume. How you speak is as important as what you say. Don’t scream and shout or speak in a whisper. Speak with a firm voice at a normal, conversational volume.
- Respond, but don’t react.  If you find that you are becoming angry and defensive, or your husband is, take a break from the discussion. Agree on a time to return to the issue once you’ve calmed down, and make sure you follow through and finish the discussion. Remember: being assertive is not the same as being aggressive.
- Practice in low-risk situations. If you are afraid to assert yourself or nervous about larger conflicts, try starting small (like speaking up if he says the vacuum is in the garage but you know it is in the closet). If it is not easy to do this with your husband, find someone (like a friend or family member) with whom you feel comfortable enough to disagree.
9. Try to resolve conflicts instead of “winning” them. Trying to “win” an argument can lead to stubbornness, resentments, and impede the possibility of compromise. Know that “agreeing to disagree” is a possibility and is still an acceptable outcome.
- Make clear requests. Instead of inviting your husband to say “no” in response to questions like “Would you mind…?”, make your needs clear by asking “Will you please…?” The later is respectful, and he can still say no if he chooses, but you are no longer asking permission to have needs.
- 10 . Take the time to appreciate each other. Each partner in a relationship brings valuable contributions and makes meaningful changes to the other person’s life. Sometimes, after being with someone for a long time, a spouse may feel emotionally neglected or taken for granted. To prevent this from happening, be sure to communicate your appreciation to your spouse.
- Tell your husband reassuring things, like “I appreciate the nice things you do for me,” or “I’m so glad and thankful that you are in my life.”