What would husbands like to hear from their wives more right now? Words of support. Honest admissions. Reassurance. And yeah, “let’s have sex.” These are a few of the responses we received when we posed this question to a dozen men. Why did we ask it? Well, times are, oh, a bit stressful and we all could us more support. If we can get a better sense of what husbands and fathers might want more of from their partner in these unprecedented times, well, maybe it will be illuminating. While their responses we received came from a place of personal desire, all of them speak to universal truths about being more empathetic, validating, and understanding. Chances are, we’d all be served by listening to their desires and taking them into account. Here’s what they said.
“We really don’t talk like we used to. Maybe it’s been the close quarters for so long. There’s not a lot to talk about in terms of making plans, either, since we’re not interested in going anywhere. I don’t know, I just miss bullshitting with my wife. We could always start talking about one thing, then end up an hour later talking about something completely else. And it was like time flew by. We don’t do that anymore, which also feeds into my insecurity. We’ve been married three years. Is she bored with me already?” – Robert, 32, Michigan
Do You Need a Hug?
“Yes, I absolutely, 100-percent do need a hug. I’m a teacher, and right now is easily the most stressful, crazy, dangerous time to be in my profession. I don’t fault my wife for not quite understanding that, because if you’re not a teacher — literally walking up and down the halls every day with a wave of kids, whose parents might be anti-maskers, or whose parents might willingly send them to school sick — you just don’t know. There’s a level of anxiety I don’t think I’ve ever experienced in my life, and I’m desperate for some comfort. Actually, maybe she does understand, and that’s why she doesn’t offer hugs. She doesn’t want to catch anything. I’ll amend my response to, ‘After you shower and change your clothes, you look like you need a hug.’” – Will, 37, Florida
How Was YourDay?
“We’re not cooped up in the house anymore. We both go to work. She only goes in a few days a week, but I’m at work almost every day. When I get home, I hear all about her day. What she did – or what she didn’t do – and I listen. I genuinely listen. And then it’s like, ‘Okay. Well, do you want to know how my day went?’ I hate having to ask her, to ask me. And the worst part is that I’ve said this to her before. Not outright or bluntly, but I’ve said stuff like, ‘It’d be nice if you asked me how my day was.’ It’s like we went from one routine – lockdown – back to our regularly-scheduled routine.” – Andy, 38, Massachusetts
Can I Have Some Help?
“My wife is very independent. Too independent. And, if I’m being honest, she gets in over her head sometimes. A few weeks ago, she decided that we absolutely had to change the curtains in the living room. So she started unscrewing all the brackets, took down the rods. It became this whole big thing. Then there was this one stripped screw she couldn’t get out of the wall, so she just stood there trying and cursing at it for like 15 minutes. Like, aggressively cursing at a screw. Because she was too proud to ask me for help. She got it out, but was it worth all the drama when I had a stripped screw bit right in the garage? I don’t know why she feels like she has to play the hero, or the martyr, or whatever it is all the time.” – Rick, 34, Pennsylvania
What Do You Want to Watch?
“We watch a lot of TV. And by that, I mean she turns something on, and we both hang in the living room. I’m usually not paying attention, honestly. I’m reading, or doing schoolwork. When she gets up to go check on the kids, or go grab food, she just tosses the remote at me and says, ‘Here you go.’ That’s not the same as her saying, ‘I want to spend time with you. I know I watch a lot of TV. What would you like to watch for a change?’ It would show consideration, plus nothing I would pick could be half as bad as Dance Moms.” – Scott, 29,
“I’m scared too. And I know she’s scared. And the kids are scared. But we’ve never talked about it. And I don’t mean running-around-like-our-hair-is-on-fire scared. But, c’mon. Everybody is at least a little scared of whatever the future is going to bring in a few months. I guess I’m the pot calling the kettle black, because I’ve never specifically brought it up either. But I feel like it’s weighing on her, and to admit that — on her own — would give her a lot of relief. She’s always been told she’s so strong by her parents, her sisters, and her friends. And she is. That’s one of the reasons I love her. But, at a time like this, I’d love to know she’s feeling vulnerable, too.” – Brian, 40, Ohio
I’m With You.
“My wife plays it safe. Too safe, I think. There’s a political yard sign in our neighbor’s yard. On both sides, actually. I won’t say who they support, but I’m very, very, very anti-that person. And I wanted to put a sign up that was clever, a little more blunt, and more visible than just a yard sign. She literally said, ‘I don’t want to become a target…’ And I thought, ‘A target for what? Mean looks from those shitbags next door?’ She said she was worried they might do something to our house, or our yard, or our dog. And eventually she talked me out of it. Just once, I’d like for her to say, ‘Ya know what? I’m with you. Let’s do it.’ Just be on my side, ya know?” – Shawn, 36, Indiana
Let’s Have Sex
“We haven’t had sex since the pandemic started. Who knows the actual date, but that’s like, what, eight months or something? I think we’re in this weird feedback loop where I want her to say it, and she wants me to say it. And then neither of us does. We have three kids, so masterminding a time to actually do it would take some Ocean’s 11 style planning. But it would be nice to know that it’s on her radar, and that she’s missing it as much as I am.” – Ben, 36, California
The Kids Will Be Fine
“She worries all the time. Just, constant anxiety. I know that. I accept that. Right now, she’s worried about the kids falling behind in school because of online learning. I’m…less concerned. Our son is in kindergarten and our daughter is in first grade. Now, I’m not saying these aren’t formative years. And I’m not a teacher. But I feel like as long as they come through this year knowing some letters, colors, numbers, shapes, and words they didn’t know before…they should be in a pretty good spot when things go back to normal. God bless the teachers who’ve been working with us, because my wife e-mails them at least once a day. I get that this is a new deal for everyone. And there’s a lot of uncertainty. But we have to let the teachers teach, and trust that the kids will be fine.” – Aaron, 34, Illinois
Let’s Just Table This
“Or, ‘Let’s drop it.’ Or, ‘This can wait until tomorrow.’ Specifically when it comes to arguments and disagreements. My wife needs things to be resolved now. Or, at the very least, today. I, on the other hand, am not great at discussing things in the heat of the moment. I need time to process – internally – then figure out what I’m going to say. Not like a scripted attack or defense, just more organized thoughts. When she won’t let something go, it forces me into a corner, and I just get angrier instead of working toward a solution.” – Austin, 32, Pennsylvania
“I feel like I run all the errands these days. My wife works from home, and our kids are back in school. I split my time at home and at work. So, I’m the one who stops at the store, or the dry cleaner, or the pharmacy ‘on the way home’. I’m the only one who’s ever on the way home. My wife tells me all the time how she does about an hour and a half of actual work during the day, so I don’t know why I have to be the one running out all the time. Maybe I’m being petty. But I’d love for her to say, ‘I’m on my lunch break. I’ll run to the store so you can just come right home after work.’” – Nathan, 38, Texas