While many couples today choose to live together without the formality of a legal or religious ceremony, many others still prefer to demonstrate their commitment to each other by formalizing their union in marriage. Although people may decide to marry for a variety of different reasons, there are some common needs that most women hope to fulfill through their marriages.
Women expect their husbands to be a friend. They want the emotional support that comes from the bond of friendship. Good friends help build confidence and can always be counted on when needed. Friends should help each other; however, research conducted by the University of Virginia found that the amount of housework husbands do is of lesser importance than making their wives feel appreciated.
A good marriage is built on a foundation of trust. Women want their marriages to be free from suspicion and insecurities. They want their husbands to be reliable, dependable, honest and loyal. They want to trust their husbands and be trusted completely by them.
To Love and Be Loved
A secure emotional bond is essential. According to Aish.com, women want demonstrations of affection. They want assurances that their husbands enjoy being with them, and to hear the words, "I love you." They enjoy giving and receiving love notes and gifts that demonstrate caring. Women also want their husbands to be empathetic and sensitive to their needs.
Women want open, honest communication. They want husbands who are good listeners, and who show interest in their wives by giving them undivided attention. They also want to hear their husbands open up and share their deepest thoughts and feelings.
Charli Penn, Weddings and Relationships editor for the Huffington Post, points out that women want their husbands to be good providers. They want hard workers who know how to save money. But they don't want a workaholic; he must know how to balance his work ethic with time for his family.
Women want stable marriages that are based on shared goals. If there is agreement on important matters such as where to live, whether to have children and how to raise them, and the importance of religion and family, there will be less opportunity for conflict within the marriage.
Admiration and Respect
Women want admiration and respect in their marriages. Husbands should be their wives' greatest fans, lavishing praise and showing gratitude whenever possible. Women want to know that their efforts are valued and appreciated.
Optimism and Problem-Solving
Women want their husbands to inspire and comfort them. Optimistic men who have faith that bad times are bound to improve make great husbands. They don't wallow in self-pity or despair in difficult situations. They're intelligent, positive thinkers who believe they can solve problems. They're able to lift spirits with their upbeat approach to bleak times.
Romance and Fun
Women don't want men to be perpetual little boys, but they do want to have fun in their marriage. They want men who are serious, but not too serious to know when to relax and enjoy themselves. They want fun-loving husbands with a good sense of humor who know how to have a good time and how to keep the romance alive during the long haul.
The critical difference between cohabitation and marriage is the depth of commitment. Married women want to feel secure in the relationship. They want to know their husbands don't regret choosing them as a life partner. Women want to feel their husband's ongoing attachment to them.
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- Marriage Builders: Why Women Leave Men
- Christianity Today: What Married Women Want
- Match.com: Why Women Really Want to Get Married
- Aish.com: What Women Really Want
- University of Virginia: What’s Love Got to Do With It? -- Equality, Equity, Commitment and Women’s Marital Quality
- Good Clean Love Daily: 10 Things Married Women Want
Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.