What Husbands Need Most From Their Wives (Part 2)

What Husbands Need Most From Their Wives (Part 2) February 20, 2024


Emotional Need #4: Connection and conversation – with some space 


According to the For Women Only research, part of what men love about being married is one of the same things we love about being married: companionship, connection, and sharing and hearing things we may not share with anyone else. The issue is this: because of common differences in how male and female brains are wired, the way men and women connect and listen can tend to be a bit different.  

Your man probably loves hearing what you have to say and he wants to hear about your life. But he probably can’t hear about your whole life, all at once, without time for processing.  

In the research, multiple men used a similar word picture to try to describe what this felt like. Imagine, they said, that you have a pitcher full of water, representing all those things you want to share. Your husband loves you and wants to hear those things, but he has a glass that can only hold so much water. As you pour in your thoughts, concerns, and updates, there comes a tipping point. Eventually his brain feels “full” and words start spilling back out. He’s not absorbing them in the way he wants to.  

At that point, many men described the distressing feeling of wanting to listen in the way you need, but almost being unable to. The guys said they had to absorb and process the water and get a bit of space in the glass before they could be ready for you to pour in more. This was particularly important when decisions needed to be made and/or emotions were running high. 

Many men begin to feel inadequate at this point. One guy said, “I feel defective, like something is wrong with my brain.” It is liberating once both partners realize that in many cases the male brain simply needs a bit of time and space to process what he is hearing. Quite a few women reading this probably know exactly what this feels like as well. Whether someone is male or female, the need for time and space to think is a characteristic of being an internal processor rather than a verbal processor. 


So here are some practical ideas as you two talk:  


  • When the two of you see each other after a period of time apart (after a day of work, a time of travel, etc.), pick the single most important thing you’d like to talk with him about and tackle that first.  


  • If possible, let him know what your priority is – especially if you are looking for something specific by the end. As one guy explained it, “It really helps me to know up front that she is hoping we can come to a conclusion about something. That helps me listen in the right way. It is a different type of listening than when she tells me, ‘I don’t want you to fix it, I just want you to listen.’”  


  • Give one another permission to ask and/or say something like, “Is your brain full?” Or, “Can we take a break until tomorrow morning? I need to process for a bit.”  


  • If a conclusion or decision is needed, ask if he needs time to process, and roughly how long. Then give him that time. He’ll feel seen and known. 
"Actually we are reversed and i want to leave the lights on. He shuts them ..."

Your Husband Wants You To Know ..."
"Only time I think about sex is when I tell a man I don't want ..."

How Often Do Men Need to ..."

Browse Our Archives