Men, does this question strike fear in your hearts? It is the title question raised by Stephen James and David Thomas in their book subtitled “A Man’s Guide to the Loaded Questions Women Ask.” Other no-win questions they teach you to answer are:
• “Do you notice anything different about the house?”
• “Do you think that woman is pretty?”
• “Am I like my mother?”
• “Are you as happy as I am?”
• “Is there anything you don’t like about me?”
While her girlfriends may be “allowed” to answer these questions logically or honestly, you cannot. Your wife needs you to meet her greatest emotional need – feeling loved and safe – no matter what. It is in her God-given DNA to seek intimacy with you.
How Do You Spell Intimacy?
God designed women with an emotional battery which fills when her emotional needs are met. Like any battery, if overused or shelved, it eventually dies. When full, she’s receptive to sex. When depleted, guess what you don’t get.
Five Things Men Do That Discharge the Battery
Last month, we reviewed five things women do that destroy their marriages, with a promise that we would address men’s actions this month. So, here are some things men do that hinder the spark in marriage.
1. Don’t recognize her “beauty”
Your wife’s battery charges when you recognize her beauty, whether physical appearance, loving actions, and/or her character. Charge her battery by discovering her love language and speaking or showing appreciation. Compliment how she dresses, smells, fixes her hair, prepares your meal or shows her love for you.
If you don’t, her battery will either die, or she may just find another source to get it filled.
Inasmuch as God commands women to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:25-28 He commands you to love your wife sacrificially, holding her up as radiant and pure.
2. Leave her “alone” in the marriage
Fairy tales have heroes who rescue damsels in distress. They take these princesses to their castles to be protected and loved forever after. What then?
Your wife is not a check-box on life’s to-do list or a trophy deposited at the castle while you go on with your separate lives. Has your to-do list taken over your couple time? Do your kids’ activities send you in opposite directions? Are you roommates doing life separately?
You are her emotional charging station. She wants a relational connection to you. Share what you are thinking and feeling about your marriage, work, kids and every other aspect of life. Spend time doing the same couple things you did when you dated. Laugh, play and dance together.
3. Try to “fix” her
Women are relational. Men are logical.
Women share. Men solve problems.
When your wife shares problems, she wants you to listen, empathize and love her no matter how many times she has told you the same thing. Here’s a common pattern:
Wife: (Problem) “The girls didn’t invite me to lunch again.”
Husband: (Solution) “Why don’t you switch Bible studies?”
She doesn’t. She brings it up the next week. Instead of empathizing, you’re frustrated that she hasn’t taken steps to solve the problem. You snap at her. Now she not only feels rejected by the girls but also by you. Her already low battery is now fully discharged.
Sadly, all she wanted was to know you care how she feels and accept her. A better response: “I’m sorry. That must have hurt.” Battery charged.
4. Don’t say “I’m sorry”
Marriage provides many opportunities to be wrong. Do you apologize when you are? Ask men who’ve been married 50 years how they made it. They usually attribute marital success to two little words – “I’m sorry.”
Unfortunately, men often believe apologies are for sissies. Au contraire … only a truly strong man can be humble.
Consider further that being right can be a problem as well. Winning a fight is often a loss for “us” and a major drain on her emotional battery. Instead of feeling loved and accepted, she feels dominated and drained.
5. Use sex to make up
“Sexual Healing” is a song by Marvin Gaye that demonstrates what men often seek to restore intimacy – S-E-X. Using sex to heal an unresolved issue can be like putting a band aid on a dirty wound. It will fester and erupt another day.
Further, the last thing your wife wants after conflict is to have sex. Her battery is drained and is in serious need of an emotional recharge.
How long does that take? It depends on how full her battery was to begin with and how long it takes for her battery to recharge. Your job is to charge her battery by making her feel loved and safe. Trying to use the battery before fully charged may backfire. If she believes you are making up or being nice with a motive of getting sex, it will further discharge the battery. She will feel used instead of loved, and will not be receptive. Let her respond to your caring love.
Ready to Supercharge Your Marriage?
• Pray for God to reveal how you can truly love your wife.
• Ask your wife for help understanding how you can love her better.
• Implement her suggestions.
• Be an emotional charging station.
o Kiss and hug her for at least ten seconds every morning and when you arrive home each day.
o Make it a daily habit to tell her what you love about her.
o Caress her with no motive for sex.
o Date her weekly.
May God give you grace and strength to love your wife God’s way.
Submit a question for consideration in a future issue at GoodNewsFL.org/AskAColumnist.
Patricia Hartman is a CPA/partner at Kofsky, Hartman & Weinger, PA (www.khwcpa.com), a board member for Living Water Christian Counseling and author of “The Christian Prenuptial Agreement” available at www.ChristianPrenuptial.com. She is the President of South Florida Word Weavers.