First You Have to Know

Giving your wife what she wants and needs requires knowing what she wants and needs.

In theory that should be simple. In practice, it often requires you to make like Mr. Holmes.

First You Have to Know

There are a couple of obstacles to knowing what she wants and needs.

  1. She is not a man. She doesn’t think or feel as you do, and some of what she desires is totally foreign to you.
  2. She assumes you know what she wants and just need a few simple hints or reminders.

Of course, asking her what she wants and needs should be a good plan, but she may feel it’s not the same if you don’t figure it out. I don’t like that kind of game, but some women seem to think it’s valid. If you’re stuck with that I suggest you make an effort to play. Not because it’s right, but because you love her enough to be the grownup in this instance.

Bottom Line: Gear up detective mode and watch your wife for clues. Try various things and see how she reacts. Trial and error will get you there if you keep at it. My Monday posts are a good source of ideas as they are usually simple and I try to hit all the things that women generally want.

And for any woman I’ve offended: I’m sorry. It’s how I feel, and most men are right there with me.

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45 Comments on “First You Have to Know

  1. There’s also a very real “#3” for many women: They themselves don’t know what they want.

    • As a woman, I was nodding along with this post agreeing that yes the game isn’t fair and yes I formally expected my husband to play it and get it right. Then I read Brian’s comment and laughed! Well played! :)

    • Hahahahaha. I agree with Brian. Some of my most favorite gifts from my husband have been gifts he anticipated from things that I do. Like I’m always cold and we have tons of blankets everywhere, but he bought me a heated blanket for Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago. And he bought me a set of knives because I cook so much. I wouldn’t have bought them for myself. He is an excellent gift giver.

      • He sounds very observant and thoughtful. That’s actually a great lesson for men. Listen to what a woman does far more than what she says. Her actions will usually tell a much more accurate story.

        • I’ve been given a hard time over the years by my wife on my gift choices for her. One Valentine’s Day I bought her a gardening set because she likes to work in the garden. Apparently, you *never* get a woman a gardening set for Valentine’s Day–only romantic gifts. And another gift that went over poorly was a bible study guide. Both of these gifts were inspired by observing her doing things she enjoys. To this day (10+ years later), I’m a nervous wreck every time I have to look for a gift for her. I’m more anxious during these times than at any other time.

          • @closertotheheart – A lot of women would have found those gifts very loving and thoughtful.

            Your wife has her own gift giving rules. You could tell her she is making you a nervous wreck and you would like her to explain her rules for both your sake. If she won’t do that (and I would be surprised if she does) then just do what is reasonable and stop worrying about it. You tried to fix it and she was unwilling to work with you. If you really want to cause trouble you can say exactly that the next time she doesn’t like a gift.

            ~ Paul – I’m XY, and I don’t like games!

          • closetotheheart, what does she get you for your birthday and Valentine’s Day or your Anniversary? A lot of times you can tell what a person wants to receive by what they give, unless they have unrealistic and unfair standards. I’ve noticed many women are pretty unfair when it comes to Anniversaries and Valentines Day, and expect it to be completely about them.

            • Gifts is one of her love languages, while they aren’t as important to me. At one point I requested to her not to get me any gifts during birthdays, Father’s Day, etc. To be fair, we do have things worked out fairly well after 15 years. I ask her to make me a list every couple of years and I refer to it whenever it’s a gift-giving occasion. Usually enough time has passed since she made me the list that it almost seems like I wasn’t picking off a list when I bought her a thing. But the experiences I had early on in our marriage still affect me 15 years later. Maybe I’m too sensitive about it. The only thing I ever ask for is a temporary increase in intimacy, but that has never happened. For example, one year I asked if we could have some sort of intimacy (even a quickie for me if she wasn’t up for it being mutual) 7 days in a row around my birthday. I think we might’ve ended up doing it twice in that week, which in retrospect was still a big bonus compared to normal.

              So, because I don’t think it’s right not to let her buy my a gift when she wants to, I let her get me whatever she wants and I accept it graciously. Typically, she chooses clothing for me, but she knows my feelings won’t be hurt if I don’t get anything besides a card.

              • @closertotheheart “Gifts is one of her love languages”

                I would question that. Usually gifts people are happy with pretty much any gift. For them it really is the thought that counts.

                I’m not doubting she thinks it’s one of her love languages, but it might not actually be. Or it’s been messed up.

    • @Brian – this is so very true in my house! And it drives my crazy, but I’m learning to accept it. Thankfully, my wife get’s that and is able to laugh about it with me most of the time.

      • It can be frustrating for a husband that wants to make his wife happy. We just have to realize that wives don’t do this on purpose to be annoying. I’ve certainly been guilty of getting angry and frustrated because of communication problems, especially early in the marriage. The best advice I’ve ever heard is to assume the best from your spouse instead of assuming the worst intentions.

  2. Thank you for working to help men understand these things. I didn’t know about item number two on that list and my wife never got to where she felt she could voice it cleary. My heart is now paying dearly for this miscommunication.

  3. My hubs and I were listening to “I Should Have Bought You Flowers” (Bruno Mars) one day. He likes to change words to songs to reflect whatever’s going on at the time, and he said, “I should have bought you ice cream, and held your hand.” Melted my heart right there!

  4. Well, I’m a woman and I was right there with you until you said
    “I don’t like that kind of game…”
    My blood pressure instantly rose about 20 points!!

    IT. IS. NOT. A. GAME.

    It is wanting to be loved, and more especially, known. Men are smart and it’s not that hard to figure out if you pay a tiny bit of attention and care a little bit. I don’t get what men don’t get about this – no, it doesn’t mean much at all if you didn’t think of it yourself.
    First of all, I was raised to never, ever ask for a gift. My parents said that was the height of rudeness, and if someone feels led to give you something, they will, but you never ask.
    Secondly, the best part of a gift is knowing the person was thinking about you and wanted to give you the gift. Not some stupid sense of obligation. It’s why I hate holidays. Not only do obligatory holiday gifts say “I wasn’t really thinking of you at all, but here’s something trite to fulfill the obligation I’m supposed to feel” – but really, knowing that being forced to think about me is a burden, that hurts.

    I’ve never had a birthday party. My sister had a nice surprise 40th birthday party where her husband just invited some friends and family to a restaurant. She lives a few states away, but we made the drive, and it made her feel really special. It was quaint but so sweet.

    I talked about it on and off, for FIVE years. Did anybody pick up on the idea that maybe I was hoping for a small party for my 40th? Nope. Why? Because I’m not important or special enough. And that’s okay. And I’m a simple gal, I would’ve been happy with my immediate family and a friend or two and spaghetti here at my house. Maybe a balloon. But – nothing.

    And it did come out once during an argument and he had the nerve to act surprised and he said “but you never said anything, I would’ve given you a party if you’d asked”. Asked for a party? No one asks for a party. It’s something people do for you because they think you matter and they want to do something special for you. I’m usually an afterthought, and I know that.
    Work is what is important to my husband. He never forgets about work! He never has to be asked or told what needs to be done at work. He’s able to figure that out on his own! Because it’s easier? Nope. BECAUSE HE CARES ABOUT WORK. Far more than he has ever cared about me.
    Anyway guys, if your wife talks positively and excitedly about something for FIVE years, pay attention. It might be a big clue.
    And at least for me, gifts from the drug store on your way home from work – always a bad idea. My husband is big on stopping at a drug store and grabbing something at the last minute (for holidays, I mean). He might as well just tell me “you don’t matter, you’re an afterthought, and I don’t like to be bothered thinking of you.” (And I have to smile and act polite so I dont hurt HIS feelings, even though I’m crying inside knowing I don’t matter to him at all.) That is probably the most thoughtless thing I can think of, especially today when there’s Amazon, you don’t even have to go to a store!
    If my husband took the time to show me he loves me, rather than just say empty words once in a while, my confidence in his love would grow exponentially. But because I’m an afterthought, I have a hard time believing empty words.

    Anyhow, all of that to assure you – it is NOT a game. It is a longing to be important to someone. To matter. Even a little.

    • I think for some women it is a game. For others it is immaturity. If the Hallmark moment” doesn’t organically happen they are disappointed.

      I also believe that it does have to do with how much a husband cares, even if he is just naturally “clueless” or naturally bad at gift giving. There’s a point of growing and learning. It is laziness to expect your wife to just tell you what to do all the time.

      That being said, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. I know my husband loves me. He lets me get and do things, but gift giving isn’t his forte. This past Mother’s Day, I just grabbed a couple things at the store and told him that’s what he is getting me.

      It does hurt to have other wives brag about how their hubbies lavish them, or surprise them. Flowers? Never here, but he lets me indulge my green thumb. Dates? Almost never. But we do a lot of life together.

      He got a big birthday bash for his 30th. I got nothing. I always get nothing. My 40th is coming and again, likely nothing. It sucks,but i accept it. It would thrill me if just once we went to a restaurant with fabric napkins and he gave me a ridiculous bouquet of flowers. Instead, he wants to get a hotel room and pretend to pick me up at the bar like some floozy. I might say yes, but only if dinner and flowers are involved.

    • B, here I was saying that women don’t intentionally do this, and here you are saying that you intentionally don’t tell your husband what you want because you think he should just know. Don’t get me wrong, if you bragged and commented about how amazing it was that your sister got a huge surprise party for five years, I would expect him to pick up on the fact that you wanted it. But ladies, I’m here to tell you that if you don’t tell your husband what you want and what makes you happy, your unhappiness is on you. You have not because you ask not.

      The thought that your husband should just know what you want is a fantasy dreamed up by fiction writers. Some husbands might be exceptionally good at guessing, but most are not. How do you expect your husband to know you if you don’t share with him. Do random gifts make you happy? Poetry? Weekend surprise trips to the mountains? Tell him! If you want a big party for your birthday, I assure you that you will be unhappy if you don’t make it known.

      This is the real world, not a Chick Flick. This is why it feels like a game to us. You are giving your husband a test he is supposed to guess the right answer to in order to pass. If he guessed right, he wins and gets to have a happy wife. If he guesses wrong he gets an unhappy wife. Marriage shouldn’t be a series of tests to prove that he loves you. He passed that test when he put a ring on your finger.

      • What she’s saying, though, is that she doesn’t want to have to give him a checklist to follow. And I agree with her.

        If you talk about something — like, I really want to try XYZ restaurant — frequently, it feels wrong to have to say “make reservations for XYZ restaurant by this date.” Like, if your boss was constantly commenting on how important punctuality is to him, would you consistently show up to meetings 5 minutes late? Would you need your boss to sit you down and explain that he wants you there at a certain time, or would you just kind of realize — this guy loves people to be on time, so I should do that thing that he’s always talking about.

        Men do that ALL THE TIME with work, with their family of origin, with their friends, with their social organizations. They listen and they act. Yet for their wives, they throw up their hands and blame mind games. “What, you didn’t tell me that you wanted to try the restaurant for date night, I thought you just like talking about that restaurant you’ve never been to. MIND GAMES.”

        • Men are pretty direct communicators in general. I view subtle hints as a waste of time and inefficient. If I expect the people under me to show up on time, I let it be known that I expect that. If people start showing up late, I realize that I haven’t communicated my expectations clearly and I correct that. The truth is that 9 times out of 10, if someone didn’t understand what I wanted them to do the fault is mine….not theirs.

          So yeah, I stand by my previous comment. Tell your husband in extremely clear terms what you want, or prepare to be unhappy. I wish it didn’t work that way but it does most of the time. If you have a husband who is really good at picking up on subtle hints, congratulations! You just won the lottery in the same way a man does when his wife loves to have sex all the time.

          All that being said, men…try really hard to pick up on these hints. Hollywood and romance novels have taught women that this is how they know you love them and it’s very hard for them to undo that programming. You can train yourself to be better at it, even if it doesn’t come naturally. If she comments that a certain product is really nice or that her friend just got one and it’s soooooo cool….she probably means that she wants you to buy her one.

          • Do you consider, “I would love to try out XYZ Restaurant” as subtle? Because it’s not. Also not subtle variations — “we should go to XYZ sometime.” “Jane said that they had terrific apps at XYZ.” “They’re having dinner special on Thursday night at XYZ, what do you think?”

            Men use “subtle” as an excuse for not paying attention or being dismissive.

            BTW, my husband rejects sex all the time. And by all the time, I literally mean, 100% of the time, I kept a calendar for the first 4 years we were married. It’s a lot of effort apparently.

            • I don’t consider any of what you just said as very subtle. Also, I’m very sorry about your husband.

    • I feel you here, B. If you say, “hey, I really like this thing. You know this thing? I like it. I would love to have this thing.” a million times, it should be freaking obvious that you like that thing.

      It really is hard not to assume it’s personal — Husband knows I like that thing, I have commented on it multiple times, so if he doesn’t get me that thing, it’s because he chose to do something else. Or didn’t care enough to listen in the first place.

      • sunny-dee

        There is a world of difference between saying you like something, and saying you would like your husband to buy it for you or provide it. Whether you like it or not, you are looking for something that probably won’t ever happen if you don’t take a more active role.

        I don’t here you telling us that your husband does not provide those things you ask for. If that is the case, then it really should be addressed. What you are saying is that you expect him to figure out what you want.

        The last time I bought my wife jewelry, I actually took her to the jewelry store and pick out what she wanted, because I wanted her to have exactly what she wanted, and I was tired of seeing a look of disappointment when she opened them. Curiously, she always complained that I spent too much, without actually knowing what I spent, but when she picked for herself it was easily twice what I had spent in the past.

        I don’t say that to imply that she was greedy or selfish. She would have left with nothing and been happy. The difference was that there was no question what caught her eye or what she liked. Even then, I had to insist that she get them.

        On the other hand, I have bought her things that she said she liked or showed interest in, and it never lives up to the expectations.

        • I mean this seriously — do you do this for every single person in your life? Do you not buy birthday presents for your mom unless she explicitly tells you what to get? Can you not infer expectations from your manager in the middle of a strategy meeting?

          I don’t buy it because a lot of men only apply this standard to their wives*.

          And, yes, I have EXPLICITLY asked for things that my husband has ultimately refused to do. There was a house concert I wanted to go to, so I forwarded him the Facebook invite, talked about it for a couple of weeks, reminded him about it the morning of … and at no point did he remember. He was 45 minutes late getting home (I was literally walking out the door to leave without him) and then decided to join me and sulked and complained the entire time and kept trying to convince me to leave in the middle of the performance. And that’s just one example.

          * There are women who are just difficult to please or don’t even give “hints” and just expect you to read their minds, but honestly, they’re like that with everyone, not just their husbands. It’ll show up in how they treat the kids or their boss or their friends, too.

          • Sunny-dee, I think it’s pretty clear that what we are discussing is not your situation. You might not understand what typical husbands deal with on this, but it’s not this. I’m not even sure why you would think that. Subtle is a wife making a random comment about her friend having a good time at a restaurant and wanting her husband to infer that he should take her there. Subtle is coming across an add on Facebook in August for a product and showing her husband with a comment of “isn’t this neat?”, and expecting to get that for Christmas. I don’t think what you are talking about is what most men mean at all.

  5. @Brian, well I guess there’s a lot we are just going to have to disagree on.
    “Tell your husband in extremely clear terms what you want, or prepare to be unhappy. I wish it didn’t work that way but it does most of the time. If you have a husband who is really good at picking up on subtle hints, congratulations! You just won the lottery in the same way a man does when his wife loves to have sex all the time.
    All that being said, men…try really hard to pick up on these hints.”

    First of all, do you realize how cold that sounds? Tell him what you want or be unhappy. As a matter of fact, I took this advice one year. Told him exactly. Like the beggar I was raised not to be. See, one year we got me a charm bracelet (that’s not a typo, it was we). Gee, hmmm, what could you get someone with a charm bracelet for a gift? Hmmm…. maybe…. a charm? But in order to avoid confusion, I gave him pictures. PICTURES of three charms and told him I liked all three and any one would make a great gift. Pictures. Did he get me one of the charms. Nope. He gives me a charm that has nothing to do with me. It has tiny people on it, and it’s a mother and her daughters. ??? I have sons. Only sons.
    So as I’m thanking him anyway, he notices I look perplexed. “you don’t like it?” I tell him “oh it’s pretty, but, why is it a mother and daughters?” He looks all disappointed and says he didn’t realize what was on it. So basically, he didn’t even look at it. He said, “you don’t want it?” I told him “Um, well, I just don’t understand how you thought it applied to me. I guess I was thinking maybe I’d like one of the ones I sent you a picture of.” He tells me they were out of those. Thats what happens when you go shopping on Christmas Eve because you realized your wife hadn’t crossed your mind the entire holiday season and you still need to pick something up for her to act like you care. But really, did he even look at it? Or put any thought into it? I’m thinking, no. So I did swallow my pride, asked for a specific gift, and it totally backfired.

    Secondly, I guess my husband won the lottery but didn’t like the prize. Because I’d love to have sex with him every single day. I’d settle for every other day. But he’s not that interested. He’s happy enough with once a week, if that. How do you think that makes me feel, when most men want their wives daily? Mine is always too tired from work. Always. Or maybe I’m just not good enough. Trust me, I’m a lot nicer than this reply makes me sound (cause I’m a tad defensive right now). But no, he passes more often than not. I’ve assumed he’s just not that interested in me, no matter what he tells me. His actions do not affirm his words.

    And I found it funny that you said – do you like surprise weekend trips to the mountains – tell him! That’s too funny. Because, um, it’s not a surprise if you have to tell someone. If you say things like “I’d love to go there someday” and that’s not clear enough, I don’t know what is.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not even saying I think I deserve all the things I like. No way. But if I say I’d like to go somewhere – over and over – and we never go, and then my best friends husband takes her and I say, “that’s so nice for her. I’ve always wished we could go there. How cool that he took the time to plan a trip for them” Don’t look at me like I have two heads and say “what do you mean? I never knew you wanted to go there. I would’ve taken you if you’d asked.” Because I did say I’d like to go there so how did you not know? You’re just feeling bad because Mr Friend made you look bad because he actually wanted to do something special for his wife. And it hurts even more when you find out you’re friend never even thought of going there – he just decided to surprise her and they had a lovely time. Because Mr Friend loves Mrs Friend and thinks she’s worth it.

    I agree almost 100% with sunny-dee. And yes, saying “I heard XYZ Restaurant is really good – or I’d like to try XYZ Restaurant” ten times is NOT SUBTLE. Unless you are not paying attention. Or, you simply do not care.

    I detest when men say “it’s a game”. It isn’t. It’s real life with real emotions and real feelings. And it hurts. A lot. Knowing you’re an afterthought hurts. And knowing the man who claims to love you doesn’t even try to avoid hurting you hurts even more.

    • B, I’m sorry if it sounds cold to say what I said. I wasn’t tryin to be hurtful, I was trying to be honest and informative. Next, if you asked for specific charms and didn’t get exactly what you asked for I can see why that would hurt your feelings, even if it sounds like he looked for the ones you wanted and they were out. I would encourage you not to stop being direct. You aren’t being a beggar when you let your husband know what you want, you are being a queen to your king. I’d also like to point out that it sounds like he got close, even if he missed the mark. Is that progress? Well, build upon it. What do you have to lose? If you don’t tell him and he doesn’t get you anything close to what you want, isn’t that worse than you telling him and maybe he gets you exactly what you want?

      Finally, Your husband did win the lottery when he married a woman who wants to have sex all the time. For any of you women reading this and you are in the boat, that applies to you too. The fact that he doesn’t take advantage of it is not your fault. Many men would die to have that right now.

    • Hey, B,

      I don’t know if this’ll make you feel better (like, life could be worse?), but when I was trying to get pregnant and finally started small scale fertility treatments about 2 years ago, my husband used that as an excuse to drop our frequency from once every 2 weeks to once every 3-6 weeks (even though we were still supposed to be having regular sex — the drugs alone don’t make you pregnant). When I finally gave up and moved to IVF (where sex isn’t a required part of the protocol), he tapped out entirely. I went in for my IVF testing around August 1 of last year — since then, we’ve had sex 3 times, the last time in early January.

      I’m already saving for the next round of IVF. I fully expect that that was the last time I’ll ever have sex in my life.

      • It hurts my heart that there are so many painful situations out there. I applaud someone who lives with almost no sex at all and yet craves it so much, and still stays married. I know how it feels to long for it, and for me it’s nothing short of a miracle that God kept me from leaving (I was basically gone). But God is healing my marriage in a way I didn’t think possible. I had given up on it completely and I was leaving my wife. Guys, if God could repair our marriage he can for yours too. It might take drastic action, but I’m convinced there isn’t a marriage God can’t bring back from the Abyss. sunny-dee and B, I hurt for you and I’m praying right now for you.

  6. @B “I detest when men say “it’s a game”. It isn’t. It’s real life with real emotions and real feelings.”

    Yet how many husbands have felt like it was when they were seemingly blindsided by their wives. It does sound like (similar to sunny-dee) your situation might not be like the typical situation being discussed here. I believe there is truth to many wives turning this into a game, that doesn’t mean this blog post is speaking to you personally. Only you and your husband can answer that.

  7. We are told to ask God for things. God already knows what we want, and yet we are told to ask. We are also told we have not because we ask not. If we are to do this with an all knowing God, how much more should we do it with humans who can be clueless?

    • Well, this is a fun comment section. So, you tell men to accept that their wives are different from them, and then all the wives come out with pitchforks because they won’t accept that their husbands are different from them?? Smh.

      I guess I don’t see the point of “shoulds” here. “He *should* know…” or “She *shouldn’t* ___.” It doesn’t really matter how things “should” be if you aren’t willing to start with where you ACTUALLY are. My husband is a very intelligent man, but he let me know that he doesn’t speak “woman” and so unspoken expectations will remain unmet expectations. I can get mad about that because it *shouldn’t* be that way (according to who, by the way?) or I can just accept that my husband is not wired to pick up my glaringly obvious hints, AND THAT IS OKAY. So I’ve learned to be direct. And we are both a whole lot happier as a result.

      I don’t find calling it a game offensive… Is it not a guessing game? “Guess what I’m thinking?” I dunno, maybe I’m a traitor to my gender, haha. It just makes sense to me that if what you are doing (like expecting him to read your mind) isn’t working out so well for you, THEN STOP DOING IT.

      • I completely accept that my husband is different than me. I’m not expecting him to read my mind. I used to expect him to pay attention when I would tell him things — I do not expect that any more.

        I literally do not see how “I would like to go to X restaurant” or “I would like to do Y activity” or even, “I need you to do Z chore” is mind-reading. And if you (like my husband) think it’s mind reading and “a big game” I have absolutely no idea how to communicate past that. “I want to go to the new farmer’s market this Saturday. It starts a 9am.” Where is the freaking mystery in that?

        In my case, I have simply stopped asking for anything. I don’t even try to select restaurants, propose weekend activities, or even try to choose what TV show to watch or a movie to rent. I’d rather not even express an opinion and just go along with whatever then express a preference in clear language and have it ignored or rejected.

      • @Kay “Well, this is a fun comment section. So, you tell men to accept that their wives are different from them, and then all the wives come out with pitchforks because they won’t accept that their husbands are different from them?? Smh.”

        Your words not mine! ;-)

        I do agree, if what you’re doing isn’t working, do something else. If you keep doing what you have been doing, you should (ha!) expect more of the same.

        • Wow. Just – wow. This is actually unbelievable. @Kay and @The Generous Husband, why don’t you just go ahead and tell me I’m taking up too much space or too much of your oxygen? I’ve never really experienced this much animosity from either one of you before. But I do find it kind of unsettling how you seem to have formed a “mean girls” or “mean people” club here against those (or maybe just me) with a different opinion.

          At this point I’m not sure if trying to defend myself or clarify what I was trying to convey is even worth the time. It doesn’t actually matter.

          Since you both seem to think I have come out with this alleged “pitchfork”, perhaps I really am just a dreadful person who doesn’t deserve to have feelings or emotions.

          It must be nice to have it all figured out, and to chuckle with each other from your place of superiority. Perhaps if you realized we do not all “have it all together” you wouldn’t be so quick to judge. I did not miss the implications from your pitchfork metaphor. We all know the devil is often depicted carrying a pitchfork. Next time just come out and say it. I’ve been called worse, ever since I was a child. I’m used to it.

          I’m sorry if this sounds mean, but I thought you should know how hurtful I find this. I don’t expect either of you to care, and you certainly do not have to agree with me, but the snarky comments are really not helpful.

          • Dear B, please accept my apology. I genuinely did not intend to be hurtful, but you are right, my comments are trite when we are talking about a deep place of pain, and I am truly sorry I hurt you with these words. I was trying to humorously point out the irony, but trying to turn pain into humor is cruel. I am so sorry.

            I don’t think either Paul or I meant that calling it a game means it’s fun; I personally do see it as the opposite of fun, and based on this post I think that’s precisely what Paul pointed out in his end comment, that most husbands don’t find this to be a fun game either.

            Game is perhaps a more appropriate word picture for sports fans? That many husbands feel it is a game in the sense that they aren’t quite sure what the rules are, what is in bounds or out of bounds, and all they know is they constantly come out feeling like they’re losing the game. To try to keep the analogy going, I try to coach my husband as directly as possible by “calling the plays” when it comes to what I am asking of him instead of leaving him fumbling around on the field not sure if he’s playing football, soccer, or basketball. But I cannot imagine the hurt and rejection you must feel if he refuses to play the game at all (which really isn’t supposed to be an option, since we kind of vowed to played the game when we got married).

            In any case, I didn’t mean to imply that this was fun and not a very serious thing by calling it a game; I just find it an apt analogy. Paul’s post here is intended to call men to step up to the plate and play it. So I think in that sense you and Paul are probably on the same team here because he is calling husbands to do this for their wives, and your comments prove **just how** important it is to wives that their husbands do. Does that make sense at all?

            • To me, “playing games” in this instance is creating situational rules that the other spouse can’t figure out on their own, then punishing them for not being able to.

            • I accept that you didn’t intend to be hurtful. I apologize if I reacted too strongly.

          • @B – I care about you a great deal. Lori and I pray for you. We hurt for you, and for your husband. You got a lot of garbage and wrong teaching growing up, and that stuff is hurting you and your marriage to this day. I wish I knew some way to get you to understand that because you will be a slave to it until you see the truth.

            I figure you are defending what you think is right and true here. What I see as right and true is that you are a beloved daughter of God. You have great worth and value. God weeps that you are still walking in the chains your family put on you. He wants to set you free from that.

  8. I’m saddened by the amount of hurt displayed in this thread of comments. Lack of communication, lack of interest, lack of intimacy and lack of love are not what God has in mind for healthy marriages. Like many other things, these are all complex and hurtful in many ways and I’m sorry for the pain many of you are experiencing.

    I would say in many cases, the best advice I could give is drenching these situations in prayer. Pray for a change of heart in the person hurting you and pray for a renewal of strength and boldness to open up (or keep opening) communication. If you feel your spouse wants you to read her mind, pray for that ability and insight! Prayer can move mountains.

  9. It’s very hard to understand why people who are supposed to be brothers and sisters want so desperately to attack, put down, and throw fuel on the fires of pain. I wonder sometimes, if folks even listen to each other. Everyone wants to be so quick to judge and shout “you’re wrong!” without even taking the time to think about where someone else may be coming from. Do you know what that person has been through or seen in their life? No, you couldn’t possibly, not simply through a blog.

    I’m not necessarily right. I’m often wrong. I accept that. But I am curious why so many “caring” people feel led to share their opinion in such an aggressive way. I guess it really doesn’t matter, does it.

    Maybe it’s me. Maybe I am such an ineffective communicator that everyone so quickly misconstrues what I say, and almost never understands what I mean.

    @Kay, I never came out with a pitchfork. You misread me. I was sharing my (obviously unpopular) opinion based on what I have experienced. I’m glad you don’t mind this situation being called game playing. I’m sorry that I don’t see deep hurts as a game. I assure you it is not fun for me at all. I also infer from your comments here and on other blogs that you are a very confident woman. You have mentioned before that you find yourself beautiful – and you are – and I think that is honestly a wonderful thing. But I do not see myself as beautiful. I do not have that confidence. You also appear very sure of your husbands love for you. That too is a blessing and I am sincerely happy for you. I do not have that same confidence. So please, before you accuse me of coming out with a pitchfork, consider we are not all coming from the same place in life.

    @Brian and @closertotheheart, I feel like we are having two different discussions. It’s not actually about the concrete gift itself. Would I be happy if he gave me a gift that I wanted or made me feel loved? Sure! But not for the tangible item. It’s not about material things. It’s about knowing he cared enough to think about it. It’s knowing I was on his mind. It’s knowing I’m worth more to him than a last minute trip to the all night drug store. It’s not about the gift.

    @sunny-dee, THANK YOU for understanding. And thank you for saying what I could not seem to say, that mentioning you really want to try a specific restaurant- dozens of times; or mentioning “I’ve always wanted to go see that musical – and it’s in town next month” IS asking, and is NOT subtle. Sometimes it requires paying attention. It hurts when it feels like I’m an afterthought. Kind of like I’m just a waste of his time.

    • @B, I agree. And I’m so glad that you feel that way, and sorry that your husband does not appreciate that you just want to feel like he considers your happiness important. I get that. I still believe your situation is not the same as this blog post. You should know better than anyone if this blog post is speaking to you or not, and if it does not, try not to take offense.

      Interestingly, I recently had a male variation of this topic. Since summer has started, our teen has been sleeping in past lunch. Each work day I come home for lunch, I wish my DW would offer to take care of me, and she never does. Today, I didn’t flat out ask (I was afraid I’d either get an eye roll and reluctant “if I have to” yes, or get shot down), but I (yes, I, the husband!) hinted at it! And you know what, she caught on, told me to go into the bathroom and she’d meet me there, and the rest is history. She was even playful about it! So, I can’t speak for all guys, but THIS guy is guilty of hinting too. Luckily, my DW was generous enough to not only catch on, but follow through!

  10. Here’s the thing: before I hinted, for days I kept thinking “it’s so obvious that we have this time before teen wakes up, why can’t she see it? It’s the perfect opportunity for a quickie! She knows it would literally only take 3 minutes of her time, with very little effort. She must not care, or find it very important to sacrifice three minutes of her time to make her hubby the happiest guy on the planet.” Obviously, she never thought of it on her own because that’s not how her mind works. But a simple, direct hint was all it took to put it on her radar, and she then happily obliged! Yay!

    • @closertotheheart, that’s wonderful! Thank you for sharing your good news. I’m happy for you.

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