The Butterfly Button
What do I need to know about the couple relationship before I get married?

Question from category:

Hi, and thank you for your wonderful website.

B’ezrat Hashem I am about to get married. I want to give and to invest my all in our couple relationship, and for us to be a happy couple, b’ezrat Hashem. I am therefore asking what a woman’s mental needs are from her husband and how is he supposed to give her that (simply put, what do women want from men?)

Answer:

Dear questioner,

First, mazal tov on your upcoming marriage. I wish you that your initial building period be good and pleasant, and may you merit to establish a loving home, a home of giving and light.

There is nothing more thrilling that the establishment of a home, and it is no less exciting to see your home being built, based on strong, stable foundations. Your first approach to married life is correct in its essence, and shows that you have the tools to build a home.

Your question is not about how to live married life better, but how you can be a better husband. That is exactly what needs to be the starting point in married life. Your effort must be on how to make your wife happy, what things make her feel loved, what will make her feel better. A couple relationship is the art of giving. If you know how to give properly, unconditionally, you will find successful and reciprocal life as a couple.

Since you asked a general question – the path to successful married life – I want to focus first on the difficulty that many young couples have when they are just starting out:

To a person observing from the outside, married life usually looks like a patch of paradise. Indeed, a smart couple will outwardly display behavior that attests to a smooth life, without any difficulties.

Well, I regret to shatter that dream. There is no such scene. There is no couple that is without challenges, and there is no couple relationship without crises!!

The connection between a husband and wife is a connection between different worlds. Both the man and the woman have been through many significant experiences that have shaped the way in which they think and feel, and the transition to a shared life necessarily entails a complex challenge of a meeting of two worlds that is not always comfortable, and quite often is even painful.

Married life usually starts with euphoria. The initial period is typically one of rosy, enchanted feelings, and the couple will probably feel that they are the most compatible and loving couple ever.

After that period, the little crises start. Their acquaintance starts to become deeper, and suddenly the couple discern various gaps between different aspects of themselves. The transition from bachelorhood, which requires hardly any compromises, to married life, in which compromises and acceptance are part of daily life, is truly challenging.

Thus the euphoria gradually gives way to a recognition of the raw reality, which requires a lot of work.

But precisely then, when the love seems to have weakened and the fireworks have petered out, that is exactly when the real work of married life begins.

Married life is first and foremost the understanding that there are gaps between a man and a woman, and a true connection requires daily effort.

Do not be alarmed if, after a while, you notice gaps, and do not be alarmed if arguments develop between you and your wife. That’s normal, and even more than that, is healthy. It attests to a couple that is merging two worlds, and a merger always entails the joining of parts that don’t exactly match yet.

Now, after this introduction, I will try to answer your question more to the point.

You asked what a woman wants from a man. This is an important and correct question, so important, that it is a large part of the answer.

Why is it such an important question?

I will answer with a question.

Why do you ask what a woman wants from a man? Why do you think that your wife needs anything different from you than you need from her? Why are you getting married? Probably, in order to fulfill inner needs, right? Why do you think that your wife is getting married for reasons that are different than yours?

The answer is that they are very different! A woman’s needs from her husband are very different needs than what a man needs from his wife. A woman has needs that are unfamiliar to the man, and in order to be a good husband, he must recognize that his wife has needs that he has to fulfill, even if he doesn’t understand them very well.

That is why your question is so important. The first thing a man needs is to recognize that his wife’s mental and emotional systems are different than his own, so he needs different things from her than she needs from him.

Without knowing your future wife, it will be very difficult to answer you regarding precisely what she expects from you, but I can clearly state that if you really want to be a good husband, a husband who gives his wife security and stability, you have to keep an open mind.

You need to be very alert and have an attentive ear in order to understand the inner workings of the woman’s mind. I am sure that sometimes you will not understand, and sometimes you will probably even be annoyed, but ultimately, whoever is wise enough to allow himself to be open, to accept new ways of thinking, can bring his wife serenity and joy, and build a happy and joyful home.

Another thing is that I don’t know what brings you to ask the path to a good couple relationship. Many young men before marriage mistakenly believe that married life is an easy mission to fulfill, so not many ask this question.

Perhaps you are more mature that most young men your age, or maybe you are a natural perfectionist, and are interested in building your home in the best possible way. 

It is also possible that what motivated you to ask your question here is completely different. You might be apprehensive about the path to married life.

If that is the reason, try to think why you are afraid. Is this simply a natural fear of going toward the unknown? Is the fact that you are embarking on a new and unfamiliar chapter in your life the cause for your anxiety and fear?

Or perhaps it’s something else. Maybe your concern is based on the experiences of other couples you have seen, whose couple relationship was not good, and you are afraid that might happen to you too?

If your concern is natural apprehension regarding the unknowns in your future, that is normal and healthy. People naturally favor the known and fear the unknown.

If, however, you have past experiences that are making you genuinely anxious about life as a couple, you should consider seeking professional help that will assist you in relieving yourself of your baggage from the past, and in starting your married life without fears or apprehensions.

I wish you that you merit to build a loving home, a home of Torah and joy.

I also invite to write again whenever you have further questions.

Daniel Avraham 

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