A Wife’s Expectations in Marriage


When we get married, we enter a lifelong union with lots of different expectations for our husbands. Quite often, we expect them to approach household duties and marital conversations similarly to how our own father figures did when we were growing up. If our dad took out the trash, we expect our husbands to do the same. If he came home from a long day at work and plopped on the couch to watch games on the television and relax a bit, we don’t see anything wrong with our husbands responding in the same way at the end of the day. This is all fine and good if both the husband and wife were raised exactly the same way. But the truth is every husband and wife come into the marriage from different backgrounds. Therefore, they each have very different expectations as to how a husband and wife are supposed to act and what role they each play in the home. These differences can cause a lot of fights when we aren’t willing to talk about them and stick in our heels trying to fight for our own way. Our relationships shouldn’t look just like our parents’ because we aren’t our parents. We are two unique individuals brought together by God for a specific purpose, and He gives us a lot of leeway when it comes to what specific household tasks each of us should take on. However, there are more important expectations that wives have for their husbands that go deeper than household tasks. These expectations stem from a wife’s specific needs that only her husband can uniquely fulfill. When a husband strives to meet and even exceed these expectations, his wife will feel loved and his marriage will thrive.

Here are 7 important things that a wife expects (and needs) from her husband (in no particular order):

1. A wife needs her husband to stand by her side, protect her, and honor her through thick and thin.

Proverbs 17:17a
A friend is always loyal…
As spouses, we should be the ones to come to one another’s defense the fastest. We need to protect their reputation by watching how we talk about them. We know our spouse better than anyone else…the good AND the bad. Husband, promote the good you see in her and don’t tear her down in public or on social media to let everyone know her shortcomings. Be the most loyal person she has in her life.

2. A wife needs her husband to share his heart and be her best listener.

Proverbs 27:9 9
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
We need to be open and intimate in our conversations with our spouse. Let’s give them our eyes and ears; no mindless nods and empty “yes, dear”s. Husbands, your wife needs you to put your cell phone, remote, laptop, and other devices down and actually engage in fruitful conversations with her. This will increase your friendship and greatly improve your marriage.

3. A wife needs her husband to ALWAYS be honest and transparent with her in the most loving way possible.

Proverbs 27:6
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Honesty and transparency are not only essential to a strong marriage, but they are also the foundation of a thriving friendship. As spouses, we should always be truthful with one another but always share the truth in the most loving way possible. When we do this, we will remain close and connected.

4. A wife needs her husband to be her biggest fan and motivator.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
We want our spouse to be at their best, so why not be their biggest motivator? Husbands, if your wife has a goal in mind, help her to achieve it. Challenge her to better herself. Walk alongside her and join her in pursuing her dreams. Help her find time to study for school if that’s the goal. Go to the gym with her and keep her motivated if she is trying to get healthier or lose weight. Friends support each other, and we should do this EVEN MORE as a spouse!

5. A wife needs her husband to foster her strength and health in mind, body, and spirit.

3 John 1:2
Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.
As best friends and spouses, we want to bring out the very best in each other. To be at our very best, we must be strong and healthy in mind, body, and spirit. This means that we should encourage one another to eat right, exercise, learn something new every day, read more, go to church, pray, read our Bibles, and the list goes on. We aim to help–not hinder–our spouse’s well-being.

6. A wife needs to know that her husband is wildly attracted to her, strongly desires her, and has eyes only for her.

Song of Solomon 2:10
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.”
I have always loved the beautiful and amorous words from the husband and wife of Song of Solomon. They refer to one another as “beloved.” How wonderful is that! Husband, your wife needs to know that she is your one and only beloved. Let her know this with your words and actions. Look the other way when an attractive woman comes running by. Don’t seek out other women online. Resist the temptation to fall into the porn trap. These self-gratifying, self-seeking behaviors will break your wife’s heart and make her feel unloved and unwanted. Instead, tell her how beautiful she is on the inside AND on the outside. Tell her how much you desire her. Tell her she is a great lover. Keep things spicy! Also, be sure to give her physical touch without assuming that it will lead to the bedroom. Be patient, loving, and kind to her, and keep showing her that you want to connect with her mind, body, and soul. Your thriving, sexual, intimate life will greatly enhance your marriage.

7. A wife needs to know that her husband is willing to lay down his very life for her.

John 15:13 (NLT)
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
This can be a hard one because we are all selfish by nature. However, this point might be the most important one of all. We must love our spouse so much that we are willing to “lay down our life” for them. Husbands, you may be familiar with Ephesians 5:25, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her…” This is often quoted at weddings along with Ephesians 5:24, “As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.”. Although the word “submission” often leaves wives with a bad taste in their mouths, to “submit” and to “give up your life” are different ways of laying down your life for your spouse. It is about serving your spouse before yourself. Husbands, your wife needs to see you doing this every day both in your words and through your deeds. When both spouses do this consistently, their friendship and marriage will thrive and remain strong.

Husbands, I encourage you to go through this list of expectations/needs with your wife and ask her how you are doing. Ask her if there is anything else she’d like to add to this list. Then, be willing to listen to what she has to say without getting defensive. These conversations can be difficult at first, but the honest truth that you discuss will keep you both connected and lead you both to make lasting improvements that will strengthen your marriage for the many years ahead.

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