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What I Wish My Wife Knew I Needed

A group of husbands explain the one thing they wish their wife would recognize about their relationship.

Marriage is a team sport. And, sometimes, teams lack communication (lookin’ at you, Cleveland Browns). We get it: it’s not always that easy to tell your partner what you need from them. Maybe you don’t want to upset them or maybe it’s just not the right time. But, assuming your wife isn’t some sort of petty sadist, chances are she just isn’t aware of her behavior — or understand how it really makes you feel.

We asked 11 husbands about what they wish their wives knew. Some spoke about not wanting to be pigeonholed by standard assumptions of “masculine behavior,” while others wished they’d be included more in household dialogues; still others explained that they wished their wives would give themselves a break. All answers offered a glimpse into what issues linger — and what conversations we should all have with our partners more often. So take a look and start a dialogue with your spouse about the unspoken things that might help strengthen your marriage. Or not. We’re not the boss of you.

I Wish My Wife Knew That My Compliments Hold Value

“My wife is beautiful. But, she doesn’t think so. I’m sure most women don’t. And I bet a lot of their husbands wish they did. I know I do. I wish my wife would accept the fact that I think she’s beautiful, and that I honestly, genuinely mean it. I think it bothers me because she just brushes off my opinion. Like, shouldn’t my opinion be one of the most important ones? Instead, she’s more concerned with how her friends think she looks. Her mom. Her sister. It just makes me feel unvalued, you know?” – Ben, 34, Florida

I Wish My Wife Knew How Great a Mom She Was — And Stopped Being So Hard on Herself

“I wish my wife was more confident in her parenting skills. She’s a great mom, with great instincts. But, all the garbage out there online and on TV has her constantly second-guessing herself. I have a daughter from a previous marriage, so I have a bit more experience raising children. Our son is my wife’s first child. I appreciate that she wants to make informed decisions, but a lot of parenting is making mistakes. She’s just afraid to do that.” — Kirk, 37, Oregon

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I Wish My Wife Knew to Keep Me in the Loop More Often

“It bugs me when my wife hires repairmen without asking me first. I’m not a contractor or anything, but I’d like to be a part of the decision and, maybe, see if we can solve it ourselves before we shell out to have a pro do it. Part of it is financial, part of it is probably ego, for sure. We’re supposed to be a team. She says she does it because she doesn’t want me to have to worry about it. I appreciate that sentiment, but I’d like to be kept in the loop.” — Maxwell, 39, California

I Wish She Knew That ‘Being a Man’ Doesn’t Mean I Know How to Fix Everything

I’m not great at fixing stuff. I know next to nothing about cars, home improvements, renovations, and such. I just wasn’t raised learning those sorts of things. I’m a tech guy. I can fix your computer. My wife watches all of those home makeover shows, and thinks those sorts of projects should be easy for a man to do. But, I have no clue how to carve a wall sconce out of driftwood, or whatever. And it makes me feel emasculated when she just assumes I should ‘know’ how to do those things because I’m a guy.” — Tom, 37, Ohio

I WIsh My Wife Knew That My Depression Wasn’t a Superficial Problem

“I suffer from major depressive disorder, which is basically depression. My wife doesn’t understand it. To be fair, I don’t entirely understand it either. But, she seems to think it’s more of a superficial problem — like mood swings. It’s not. She just thinks I’m sad. I’m not. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis, and it’s a disease that requires a lot of support. She’s not mean, or dismissive or anything like that. She just doesn’t get it. And, that’s not her fault. Ideally, I guess I just wish she was a little more ‘in tune’ with what I go through — maybe she could come to a therapy session or something — because I know she wants to help.” — Sean, 35, Pennsylvania

I Wish My Wife Knew How Much Her Cursing Affected Our Family

“This is going to sound silly, but I wish my wife didn’t curse as much as she did. I’m not exaggerating when I say every other sentence out of her mouth contains at least one F-bomb. I don’t know what it is, exactly, that bugs me about it. I love that she’s a tough girl, spunky, opinionated — all that stuff. I guess it’s just like when you hear those songs where all the lyrics are ‘Eff this, eff that!” Like, what’s the point? Curse words are supposed to be used for emphasis. And sparingly, so they mean something. She’s essentially devaluing them every time one comes out of her mouth, haha.” — Al, 42, Michigan

I Wish My Wife Knew to Share In My Interests Every Now and Then

“My wife refuses to watch The Godfather. ‘It’s too long,’ she says. My gripe has absolutely nothing to do with the movie, itself. It’s just the fact that she won’t even entertain the notion of watching it. It’s just a movie, sure. But, it’s one of my favorites. And, I’d love to be able to share it with her! When you love someone, you want to share yourself with them. It’s definitely not a reason to call a divorce mediator or anything, it’s just irritating.” —William, 53, Ohio

I Wish My Wife Knew to Stand Up For Me In Front of My Mother-in-Law

“My mother-in-law is an issue. She’s the typical stereotype: nosy, dismissive, and always right. My wife is afraid to put her foot down and tell her mother to back off. It gets awkward when I try to do it, but I still do my best. My wife just crumbles at the first hint of belittling. And the thing is, my wife is a really strong woman. She’s a lawyer! She argues with people all day long, intelligently and persuasively. I’d love it if she brought her work home with her the next time her mom tells us we should ‘let the baby self-soothe.’” — Aaron, 36, Illinois

I Wish My Wife Knew It Was Okay to Do More For Herself

“My wife should bake more. What I mean is, my wife is the best baker, and she loves doing it. But she only bakes around holidays. I wish she’d do it more often, for two reasons. First, her snickerdoodles are amazing. Second, and more importantly, baking really makes her happy. She puts in a lot of time at work, with the kids, and generally putting other people first. She’s kind of a control freak that way, so I guess I wish she’d let me take the wheel for a while so she could do something she really enjoys. Plus, snickerdoodles.” — Jay, 39, Washington

I Wish My Wife Knew to Stop Talking Down to Me When We’re With Friends

“I’m not an idiot. But, sometimes I think my wife sees me as one. Granted, I did have my fun in high school, college, my twenties, and so on. But, as a father, I’ve definitely shifted my priorities. I’m not Frank the Tank. For example, my wife will constantly remind me about ‘behaving’ when we’re out with friends. I like to joke around, but I’m not going to take my pants off at the dinner table and juggle chainsaws, or whatever. Sometimes, it feels like she’s my babysitter instead of my wife.” — Jeffrey, 33, North Carolina

I Wish My Wife Knew That I Needed More Affection

“I think women assume men don’t want to hear ‘I love you’ all the time. Like it gets annoying to us. But, speaking for myself, I want to hear it over and over and over. It’s not that I doubt the strength of our relationship, it’s just nice to know that she still thinks it, and would be even better if I was able to hear it. It’d be like reading her thoughts. I know a lot of couples who just gloss over the ‘I love yous’, and it’s scary. Maybe it works for them, but not for me.” — Liam, 34, Indiana