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What a Woman Needs While in a Marriage

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr, studioD

Keeping your marriage happy and successful is easier if you know what your partner needs most. What your wife needs today will differ from what she needs later in life, according to Dr. Steven Craig in a Today.com article entitled, "6 Husbands: How to Embrace the Changes in a Marriage.” Maintain open communication to determine what your wife needs most from you.

Overall Needs

Every wife needs love, attention, safety, commitment, appreciation, compassion and a sense that she and her mate are working cooperatively to build a life together, according to pastor and counselor Ron Edmondson in his article, “7 Top Needs of a Wife.” Tell her every day that you love her and affirm how glad you are to have her as your wife. Pay attention when she needs you and respond to those needs. Help her feel safe with you by settling conflict fairly and treating her with compassion. Seek her advice and input on major decisions so she feels that her opinions are important to you and to the success of your marriage.

Emotional Needs

Meeting your wife’s five most important emotional needs can affair-proof your marriage, according to Dr. Willard Harley, Jr. in book, “His Needs, Her Needs.” For most women, those five needs are physical touch, conversation, family commitment, financial security and honesty and openness. Your wife could substitute one of more of typical female needs for admiration, physically attractive spouse, domestic support, recreational companionship or sexual fulfillment. Ask your wife which of the 10 needs listed are most important to her, because it varies from person to person. A wife with high earnings might have less financial security need and a greater need for domestic support to even out home responsibilities or more desirous of sexual fulfillment and romance. To be most effective in meeting her emotional needs, meet her needs the way she wishes you to meet them.

Hierarchical Needs

Your wife’s needs may fall along a hierarchy that begins with her most basic survival needs and moves up toward more mental stimulation, according to Susan Pease Gadoua, author of “Contemplating Divorce” in a Psychology Today article entitled, “Five Needs Every Marriage Has.” After meeting her basic survival needs of legal recognition of the relationship and a place to live, you meet her safety needs for comfort, financial security, trust, honesty and you ensure that she isn’t abused. Meeting her love needs requires kindness, compassion, companionship, affection, sexual fulfillment, and intimacy. Esteem needs fulfillment comes with mutual respect, honor and commitment and actualization needs allows her to make a difference in her community and to feel fulfilled in how her life plays out.

Successful Marital Needs

Affection is required to have a successful marriage, according to the research of psychologist and professor Ted Huston, in a Psychology Today article entitled, “Will Your Marriage Last?” Huston’s Processes of Adaptation in Intimate Relationships (PAIR) Project revealed that couples who remain physical affection stay married longer. Affection is important, agrees couples counselor Vikki Stark, M.S.W. in a Psychology Today article entitled, “What Married Men Need to Know so They Don't Become Divorced Men.” Her list of wives’ needs also includes being heard, romanced and having a hubby who shares the workload at home, including caring for kids.


Every wife is different and your wife will need many of the elements pointed out by marriage and family experts. Talk to your wife to see which needs resonate most with her. Recognize that her needs will change as you grow older, so be willing to adapt and grow with her.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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