Numerous men have pondered the questions, “Why does my wife say she’s unhappy? What does she want that I’m not doing?” Many of the men raising these questions have been blindsided by a wife’s confession that she’s not happy in the marriage.
It can be confusing to try to figure out what a partner wants. And men, in particular, are having a harder time than ever because of changing expectations on the part of many females. In the past, it was enough for a husband to be a good provider, to have stable employment, and to bring home an adequate paycheck.
But now, that’s not enough anymore for many females. Enter the age of the “soul mate”—a word that signifies a deep bond and heart connection, someone who’s on the same “wave length” as his or her partner. Soul mates are compatible and bring out the best in each other. The relationship has satisfying intimacy and includes friendship, companionship, as well as love.
The connection between soul mates is sustained by emotional intimacy and the delight the partners share at having found each other. They share feelings easily and keep each other informed as to what they’re feeling, what concerns they’re wrestling with, what they’re worried about, and what their hopes and dreams are. Soul mates often say they feel a spiritual as well as an emotional connection to their partner.
A number of couples feel deeply connected at the beginning of their marriage. Both individuals are trying their best and are putting genuine effort and energy into the relationship. Even reticent, quiet males often make an effort to talk more and connect at this early stage in the marriage.
But, over time, the quality of the relationship can change—often for very understandable reasons, like parenting demands—and wives may begin feeling disconnected from their mates. Many husbands do not understand the importance of strengthening and nurturing emotional intimacy in a marriage. They may not feel comfortable sharing their feelings; they may not even be able to put their feelings into words and communicate them to their spouse.
The old model of marriage demanded a “real man,” and a “real man” didn’t cry, didn’t show his feelings, and didn’t talk about his feelings. He was strong, always in control of his emotions, and he solved his own problems without help from anyone else. While he was being emotionally strong, his wife was usually feeling increasingly distanced and disconnected from him.
“Well, what do women want, then? Do they want us to act like their female friends do?” The answer is both “yes” and “no.” No, they don’t expect their husbands to be as interested in every little aspect of certain things as their female friends are (planning a baby shower, deciding what dress to wear to a special event, for example). But yes, they do expect to get emotional support and sharing of feelings from their husbands on a regular basis.