How To Connect Emotionally With Your Husband

How to connect emotionally with your husband

How do you connect emotionally with your husband?

Yesterday I posted a video and a brief comment that mentioned the importance of connecting on an emotional level with your spouse.  Today I will talk about some ways to do this with a husband, and then in a subsequent post I will discuss how to meet the emotional needs of a wife.

I’ve mentioned before that in our own situation, there was an emotional disconnect that was a primary cause of my emotional affair with Tanya.  Like most men, I tend to not require a whole lot to make me happy on the surface.  In fact, I joke around with Linda that I don’t really need much more than food, beer, the remote and sex at least 3 times a week.   

Women, on the other hand, have a whole other set of needs and what happens is that we each give in relationships what we each want. In other words, we assume that the other has the same needs and wants.  Obviously, this is where things can go haywire in a relationship.

For instance, if something is bothering a man, typically he wants to retreat to his man-cave and think about the situation and react based on the outcome of his thoughts.  However, when a woman gets upset, she needs to be heard and understood by someone. 

If a man were to react to the woman being upset by downplaying her situation, or perhaps leaving her alone thinking that is what she would want, the result would be that the woman would feel unwanted or unloved.

What are your husband’s needs?

In the book, Men are From Mars. Women are From Venus,” by John Gray, Ph.D,  it states that men have six primary love needs that are equally important:

  • Trust
  • Acceptance
  • Appreciation
  • Admiration
  • Approval
  • Encouragement

Use this list for direction to help improve your relationship if you have no idea what else to do.  Now I doubt that every man will have these exact needs, and the key is to determine what exact needs your husband does have.  Many times a woman has no idea what her husband’s needs are because we tend not to communicate them since we are all tough and macho and don’t want it to appear that we might be vulnerable in some ways.

And a woman’s needs…

Now this is not to say that a man doesn’t have other types of needs similar to a woman, but these are the “primary needs” which are required to be fulfilled before a man can be able to fully receive and appreciate any other kind of love.  These other kinds of love lead me to the primary love needs of women:

  • Caring
  • Understanding
  • Respect
  • Devotion
  • Validation
  • Reassurance

These needs as well must be completely fulfilled for a woman to be receptive to the man’s needs. Understanding these needs is a powerful thing to know when trying to improve relationships.

Dr. Gray gets us started with a very general list, but I’d like to add a few more to the list.  Keep in mind that you will need to “study” your husband to determine what his specific needs are and how to meet them in a way that is acceptable to him.  For now let’s look at the following needs:

  1. Intimacy.  Men have the need for sexual intimacy, plain and simple, which in turn allows them to gain emotional fulfillment.  Women, on the other hand need emotional fulfillment which can lead to sex.  Therefore, make sure your husband’s sexual needs are being met.
  2. Sense of Meaning.  Men need to know that what they are doing and accomplishing is meaningful and necessary.  If you affirm this to him, he will try harder to meet your needs.
  3. Communication.  Though men communicate differently than women, they still have the need  to connect with their wife through intimate conversations, even though they find it difficult to communicate on a deep level.  Let your man talk about what interests him and eventually he will talk about what interests you on a deeper level.
  4. Masculinity.  A man needs to feel like a man.  He needs to be able to cuss, spit, play golf, watch a game with the guys, and do other things that make him feel more manly.  If he is stuck at home all the time watching “Desperate Housewives” reruns with you, he might not really feel all that manly.  Ask him what makes him feel more like a man and encourage him to do whatever that might be.
  5. Recognition.  Men need to have their achievements and good deeds recognized.  They need to feel wanted and feel like a hero by providing for and protecting their family.  Offer your appreciation for his efforts and you will quickly meet this need.

So what if you don’t meet his needs?

So what now?  What happens if your husband’s needs are met, and what if they are not? For starters, if his needs are met there will be a greater level of intimacy between the two of you, there will be less arguments and best of all he will be better able to meet your needs. 

Should his needs go unmet, he will get frustrated and angry, he will feel resentment, he will distance himself from you and the marriage (perhaps by having an affair), and worst of all it could lead to the end of your marriage.  By talking openly and honestly about which needs are not being met, you can get to the root of the problem so that you can save your marriage.

We’d love some comments on what a man’s needs are and how best to meet them.  Take care!

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15 Responses to How To Connect Emotionally With Your Husband

  1. Sally February 4, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    I appreciate this list. Since all this started I have been more attentive to all of his needs. I fell into the trap of believing I was meeting his “primal” needs. Took care of stupid silly stuff but left the emotional stuff alone because life had us so stressed out all the time.

    I can appreciate and do these things now, as much as he will let me. But in my situation, while he is still currently at home (for the moment) he is very stoic in his decision to leave when finances allow and has actually spent some time away from home. What would your advice be to regain that intimacy and emotional connection at this point?

    We talk a lot about a lot of different stuff but while he says he is not sure about us being completely through, he is very closed to working on us in any way. How can I try to reconnect without being pushy or needy?

    Or do I just go about what I have been doing and improving myself and just being concerned for him and asking him how he is doing?

    • admin February 5, 2010 at 9:16 am #

      Hi Sally, Thanks for commenting. While it’s good to be more attentive to his needs, the fact that he is still in touch with or seeing his affair partner is a huge problem with you being able to make any progress with him. Without giving any ultimatums, you need to be able to show him he’s important to you and your family, and that you love him, and that life with you has been, and will be good. Yet at the same time he needs to decide if it’s going to be you or her. Simultaneously, you should be working on YOU. Work on gaining strength, self esteem, knowledge and the confidence that you’re going to be fine with or without him.

      Good luck!
      Doug

  2. michael February 5, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    It was at the point that I felt secure in myself that I saw a turn around in my wife. I have had friends and family lift me up at times I felt down. I came to feel that I would be ok no matter what she decided. I knew it was her that made the decision to do what she was doing day after day talking to this old boyfriend.
    Yes it hurt. Yes I did contribute to the disconnect in our relationship. And yes they have history between them. But I am a good man. A good father. A good friend. And a good husband. When I felt better about me I showed her exactly what she fell in love with thirteen years ago. A strong man. And honest man. A friend. I thought that we were working on us two months ago. But this last few weeks I have seen leaps and bounds in her. I’m happy she is still here. And I show her now as much as possible that I love her. As we get better we will work on the things that got us to where we were. Where we both felt alone in our home together.
    I know that each of us that have read or commented on this site have different stories. But the similarities between them are abundant. I hope that my words give hope to others. The worst thing you can do is not take care of yourself.

    • admin February 6, 2010 at 9:03 am #

      Great words of wisdom. It is amazing the similarities in the situations of those who are living through this type of thing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Holly September 6, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    for years now, my husband has held to the belief that we should NOT be the sole source of meeting one another’s needs – at this point in our relationship when he is engaging in an emotional and sexual affair and I am seeking an emotional affair just to be listened to by another man, I’m very confused. Is it true that we should not be the primary ones to meet each others needs? Should we be able to meet ALL of the others’ needs? If not then what do we do with the unmet needs – keep them inside which seems to me to only build resentment. What if the other says ‘I can’t meet your needs?”

  4. Marie April 21, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    I truly believe we need to say these needs are baby boomer religious scripted needs. Gen X women place sex and the male list as their needs. Sex is women in my age category at the top … Unless they come from a very religious back ground. Gen x males are deep communicators and emotional unless raised with religious scripts. The needs mesh with men and women 40 and under.

  5. Renee June 23, 2011 at 6:01 am #

    Okay I think this is wonderful and that it will help my husband and I a lot. Seven months ago my husband had an emotional affair, not that I was not attentive to him or that we were not connected, he just decided this woman was what he wanted. I can say I did no wrong with confidence because his explanation was I had been a great wife he just wander to explore his love for someone else. Since the affair has ended I have had a hard time reconnecting with him; I distanced myself away from him emotionally and physically and it is beginning to wear on my marriage. Hopefully we can resolve these issues. Thanks for posting.

  6. Lea October 5, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    Hello!
    The list is great. Like Renee, my h’s needs were met, though i felt like he was distancinh himself i started asking if i should do more or not do. His usual answer was that i’m doing good. And after reading everything i could find, i see he started last fall. But the biggest change was this spring when he suddenly wanted me to go out and meet other men. And during the summer vacation he was really attentive and loving man i knew. When we came back he was back to cold and pushing away. And soon i found out and he said he loves me but is in love with someone else. And tomorrow he is moving out to live with her. I will remain with our 2 kids. This morning he said he is not insane, he sees finally the light at the end of the tunnel. He Needs to do this. kids will be fine. Ans i cannot tell him that the youngest cries after him. He will say i’m manipulating him. I just hope that this insanity of his passes sooner…

  7. Renee October 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Hello all,
    Lea I remember when things were the hardest for us although he did not physically leave he pushed us aside saying the kids will be fine until he realized that they actually were not okay, I finally found a way to reconnect with him without loosing myself which is the most important thing if/when your husband comes back don’t compromise yourself accept him with open arms and a forgiving heart but don’t take any blame this isn’t your fault you have given him everything he communicated to you that he needed, if he wanted more it was his responsibility to inform you. Yes this is difficult to deal with but eventually you and she should have a sit down this is what I did only to discover that as far as she was concerned my husband had conned her into a relationship go figure but nevertheless sit down with her and make her face her own moral views of herself your husband and the effect their relationship will have on your children. Attacking her isn’t the answer, neither is attacking him showing your own resilience to yourself and your children is what matters now karma will take care of the rest as far as your husband and she are concerned. Hope this helps.

    • Lea October 6, 2011 at 12:01 am #

      Hi renee! The dday was 3 weeks ago, now i’m fine now. I won’ t attack anybody, i’m not violent person. Oh, sure the ow is has low morales and low selfesteem. Last night someone told me, who worked with them, that she is usually after every men. And even once a concerned mother had to kick her out from their place because she didn’t want to leave. And this morning he asked me whether his baggage is ready. I told him no,he has to do it by himself, and not to forget to leave the keys. And he tells me that it would be wise for him to keep them so that he can help me! :) and i answered that when i need help i’ll let him know. His demeanour has changed to being kind of down/upset/disbelief. Everyday i feel more confident that all will be alright either way: a) he fully realizes his mistake and from then on we discuss all the issues that cauzed this. And then build new relationship; b) i go on alone, because there are many wonderful men out there.
      And yes you are right i was like his shadow, now i’ve found myself and won’t repeat the same mistake. Take care and wish you the very best!

  8. linda March 25, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    Hi, My husband had emotional affair with a much younger divorcee who he works with. She has ended the “friendship”, but i see he is still messaging her and she still responds. Not in the same way with the nicknames and jokes as before, and the many hours on the phone, but it hasn’t stopped. i don’t trust him at all. we’ve been married for 21 years. the worst for me is that they work together and see each other for many many hours a day as it’s at a large hotel/lodge. i feel NO connection between him and i anymore. i don’t know how to get it back again. i’m very hurt; very angry. i don’t feel like forgiving. when he is off all we speak about his work. he has no idea that i haven’t worn my wedding rings for over month. he has no idea if i’m alive; dead; having an affair and i don’t know how to connect. i don’t know how to begin to fix this that i didn’t cause…. any help/advice i would so appreciate.

  9. Renee March 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Hi I find myself answering a lot of these posts and maybe that is what I am supposed to do help others who are traveling down the road I once traveled nevertheless I read you post and can remember having those feelings myself I did not feel like forgiving either of them especially her; I also did not feel loved or felt like loving him anymore my trust for him was non existant to say the least. What I did to regain my relationship may not work for everyone but maybe it might help you. I was honest with him from the start when I began noticing there were changes (about two days after this all began) I confronted him by asking “How long has this been going on?” I knew within myself because we normally do not have any secrets between each other and he became very secretive he answered and I reminded him that to me our vows were sacred and just because there has not been any physical contact does not mean there is no emotional bond there. I remained vocal about the situation because as you know all too well the wife’s feelings really don’t matter in the situation at all. I completely shut down and refused to even talk with him in the house I locked myself away from him and basically gave him the worst case of cold shoulder known to man, this caused a huge gap in our connection together along with the emotional affar finally I could not take it any longer and I picked up the phone and called the other person and sat down with her and had a long conversation, as long as she wanted the attention she repeated that this was something they deserved to have regardless of the fact that we were married. Needless to say I was steaming but kept my cool nevertheless; it was not until I questioned her morality and ask her whether or not her spouse would be able to do the same that it clicked for her I guess someone saying you have literally no morals and that they pitty the person who becomes stuck with you because of the choices made. Yes it was a bit harsh but I was raised with different morals all together and it bothered me that someone was justifying their actions so whole heartidly. It took some time for my husband and I to regain connections fully, I still have those moments where I don’t fully trust him at all and I am honest with him about that we are getting better but I think it will take at least another five years before we are at a place where we can truly say things are okay between us. Hopefully the explaining of my situation helps, when he wants to talk about work limit the time he can talk about it becuase I am sure he mentions her regularly that can leave an open wound trust me, even though they no longer talk from time to time he will mention her and I honestly reply “speaking of this relationship will not be tolerated in our home” this ends the conversation about her altoghter (you know sometimes they just need a reminder or too). Ultimately focus on your healing this will need to happen before you can work on your marriage ask you husband to give you time so that you can learn to forgive hiim learn to love him the way you used to. When you are ready find someone locally who isn’t involved in your life on a continual basis and will be honest with you about your situation you can talk to (be careful who you speak to single women are never the people you should talk to). Hope this has helped.

  10. linda March 29, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    hi Renee, thanks so very much for your response. i’m seeing a psychologist currently once a week. it does help a little. At the moment i’m going through a really ‘angry’ phase. i think part of that anger is the fact that he has no remorse and does not believe he has done anything wrong. he is very upset the friendship was ended. i am angry, and know that giving the cold shoulder will not help. however, it’s very hard for me to act all loving when i really don’t even want to speak to him. i am my own worst enemy at the moment, bec i still keep on checking his phone. Yesterday he asked her to join the team for lunch. she hasn’t been lunching with them since she ended the friendship, but did yesterday. this just eats me up. the fact that they still work together for long hours. Everyone i speak to just keeps telling me, she is sincere and has ended the friendship and i must stop looking at his phone, bec i will always find something in there that will upset me. But even over and above that Renee just the fact that he doesn’t even seem to regret hurting me etc., i just feel so disconnected to him. i just don’t see us getting it back. i feel like i’m trying to fix something and it’s only comming from my side if you know what i mean. i appreciate your response, so much, thanks.

  11. katee August 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    My husband and I have been working on our relationship these last two months. We’ve been together for 7yrs and married for 2. Before these last two months we were just slowly growing apart, almost to where we felt like room mates living together, forced to be together because of our kid. Then one day he did something that pushed our relationship over the edge, but at the same time, it made us both realize how much we really meant to each other.

    We have both just been making gestures here and there to make sure that the other feels so loved and cared for. And we’ve completely reconnected and found our love from when we first met. We just celebrated our 88th “monthaversary” and spent the whole day reliving our first few dates together. The way we act towards each other now, is how we acted when we were teens. And it’s just the greatest feeling!

    I raid blogs on marriage and relationships every now and then to get tips on how a good wife should act to keep her husband and family together. But I think this particular blog has all the points plain and simple. And basically, it takes both partners in the relationship to make it work. And I feel that anyone can make it work no matter what the issue, because there was a reason you fell in love in the first place, and as long as you both try to reach for that love, it will be found…

    • Doug August 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

      Katee, Thanks for sharing and it’s good to hear that you were able to discover that you were growing apart in time to nip it in the bud. Best of luck to you!

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