"The biggest problem in relationships is women not understanding how men work and men not understanding the inner workings of the female mind," says therapist and relationship coach Catherine Cardinal. If you want to know what married women really need, you must listen to your wife and attempt to understand and respect her thoughts and feelings.
According to a 2006 study by sociologists W. Bradford Wilcox and Steven L. Nock from the University of Virginia, the level of a husband's emotional engagement matters most when it comes to a woman's happiness. The study, titled "What's Love Got to Do With It? Equality, Equity, Commitment and Women's Marital Quality," was based on a survey of over 5,000 American couples. Wilcox and Nock found that more than anything, married women care about how understanding and affectionate their husbands are and the amount of quality time they get to spend with their husbands.
Women also need to be known and respected in a marriage, says Les Parrott, author of the book "Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before--and After--You Marry." To meet a woman's need to be known, her husband must validate her feelings by actively listening to her. "They need to have you see and experience the world the way they do, instead of explaining to them why they shouldn't see it that way," says Parrott. Further, Parrott advises, women need to feel respected and supported in their feelings, dreams and aspirations.
Psychiatrist Scott Halzman, author of the book "The Secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wife's Heart Forever," says men must make marriage their top priority and use the same problem-solving skills they learn at work in their marriage. He suggests observing your wife when she's with her friends to get clued in to other aspects of her personality. Men should also strive to spend more time at home and remember to make time for romance and wooing. "All those things you did for her while you were courting, you should still be doing them now that you're married," advises Halzman.
The idea that men and women expect the same thing out of a marriage is one of the most commonly held relationship myths among married partners, claims Les Parrott. Individuals come with their own personal needs and expectations, and what you need may not necessarily be what your partner needs. "Don't believe the myth that you and your partner automatically come with the same expectations for marriage," says Parrott. Instead, discuss your different expectations, and develop a specific vision for marriage that you both agree on.
"Without the awareness that we are supposed to be different, men and women are at odds with each other," says John Gray, author of "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex." To have a more harmonious relationship, Gray advises that couples try to understand and communicate lovingly about their differences. Recognize and respect what your spouse needs, and understand that her needs may not be the same as yours.