Acceptance and Belonging
Two similar items in my list of things we all want are belonging and being accepted for who we are.
A sense of belonging is huge because we are social by nature. We have a deep drive to be part of a group, and not having that affects us negatively. Needing to belong is why some folks put up with family members who drive them crazy, and it’s why gangs are big in places where family has disintegrated. Belonging is why two people with Apple products feel a connection even if they are strangers. Needing to belong is why ethnic minorities tend to gather and live together even if the society they live in doesn’t push them to that.
Certainly your wife needs to feel a sense of belonging in your marriage, but that alone won’t filling her need to belong. Please understand her desire to belong is a valid need and do all you can to help her fulfil it. Encourage her to go out with friends, or to try new things. Be quick to volunteer to keep the kids so she has the freedom to connect. Don’t feel threatened by these connections, by helping her fill this need you make her a healthier person, which will benefit your marriage.
Being accepted for who we are is a bit trickier because of the whole “who we are” part. Some women feel fulfilled being a wife and mother, and being accepted for those things is what such a woman wants. Other women have a need to be seen as more than a wife and mother; if they only feel accepted for those things, they will not be fulfilled. Some women feel they are only accepted for their looks, and want to be appreciated and loved for other things.
Before you can accept her for who she is, you need to understand how she sees herself – who she thinks she is. What about herself does she see as important? What does she want you to value?