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Communicating your needs to each other tend to make for a happier marriage.
Communicating your needs to each other tend to make for a happier marriage. (iStock photo)

I have no doubt that my wife loves me. But her day-to-day ways of expressing that love are not always what I want or need.

Over the years, I've learned that there is a wide mental and emotional gap between men and women ... that's no secret. This gap is filled with different desires, different strengths, and different ways to communicate and love one another. Every day, marriage is an attempt to bridge the gap—to overcome our differences and be able to experience joy in life together.

So, to help you and your spouse practically bridge the gap, here are five things husbands wish wives knew:

1. We desire validation. Much of what I do, I do for my wife. It's because I want her validation. I want to hear, "You are the man!" from her. When we do something well, we want you to take notice and affirm us. We want our wives to be our number one source of validation. These 10 More Things Husbands Want to Hear from their Wives highlights other things we want to hear from you.

2. We desire respect. We want you to respect our judgment. A man needs his woman to value and trust his opinions and decisions, even if they prove to be wrong sometimes. That means not constantly questioning his knowledge with a "Why do you say that?" or challenging his decisions by asking, "Why don't you just stop and get directions?" We also want you to respect our abilities. A man doesn't want to hear something like, "You're not a handyman, I'll call the plumber" or "Sports isn't your thing. I'll ask John to teach him how to throw the football." A guy doesn't want to be shot down before he even gives it a chance.

3. We desire conciseness. As a husband, I often wish that my wife, Susan, would simply give me the bottom line. Even though Susan knows this, she still sometimes gives all the background, tells me the stories, and explains details. Even though I need to listen to her express herself, I really just want her to be clear and concise with what she wants me to do.

4. We desire forgiveness. All husbands mess up. Most of the time it is not intentional. When we ask for forgiveness, we want you to grant us forgiveness and not hold a grudge against us and continue to bring up our historical mistakes. There is freedom in forgiveness.

5. We desire support. I've said on many occasions that husbands and wives were designed to complete each other, not compete with each other. We need to know that our wives are on our team, that they really want to help and support us, that they've got our back all of the time. When we have to make a tough decision, when we lose a job, when we're struggling—we need to know our wives are with us all the way.

Husbands, what are some other things you wish your wife knew? Wives, what do you think your husband wants you to know about him? Later this week on this post, I'll talk about the five things wives wish husbands knew. Stay tuned.

Mark Merrill is the president of Family First. For the original article, visit markmerrill.com.

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