intimacy in marriage


Understanding Your Wife's Need for Emotional Intimacy
By Gary and Barbara Rosberg
America's Family Coaches

(c) 2000 by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg
Used with Permission

Gary and I were conducting a week-long marriage conference on a cruise ship when I casually invited the women to join me one day for an informal discussion of emotional intimacy. The next morning everyone of the women showed up.

"How does it affect you when your husband doesn't recognize your need for emotional intimacy?" I asked

One woman offered, "when my husband walks in with that "look of love" in his eyes-"

"Look of love or lust?" another woman interjected.

Everyone giggled to release the stress of talking about this delicate topic. Then the first woman continued. "My initial response is disappointment: oh, all he wants is sex. I feel disappointed because I know my emotional needs won't get met."

Emotional intimacy is so rich, so fulfilling for a woman. It doesn't replace the need for sex, but for her, the emotional need is as intense as the physical need. And when that need is fulfilled by her husband and sustained through thoughtful T-A-L-K time, it is much easier for her to move more quickly into a sexual mode.

But what if that doesn't happen? You may not realize it, but when you show disappointment that your wife doesn't respond to you sexually, you send a nonverbal message that she may hear as this: "oh no. You mean I have to listen to you before I use you?" That may sound crass, but that's how your sexual advances may make your wife feel. A woman has a God-given need to connect emotionally, but if that need is either not recognized or cavalierly dismissed, she feels that her husband is only using her to gratify his sexual desires.

Everyone agreed that after a full day's work both men and women are weary and exhausted. But when a husband seems to reserve all his attention for his work and shows no attention to his wife, she feels unloved. When that happens, instead of having a loving and sexually responsive wife, he will run the risk of being at continual odds with her. He will get wrath instead of warmth.

Ever have a conversation with your wife in which you are mumbling, "yes, dear… I understand, honey… Uh-huh, sweetheart," but if she asked you why she just said, you would be hard-pressed to tell her? A woman's need to talk has become a standard sitcom joke, but it is not a joke. For many women, talking as a way to work through thoughts, feelings, ideas, and problems. It's the way we're wired, and it's solid wiring. Sure, just like your wiring, it can short-circuit sometimes. But overall, it's a positive way to express and process her thoughts and emotions. Be wise: listen to her and draw her out. It will draw you closer as a couple.

Part Four: "What Happens When Your Wife's Need for Intimacy is Not Met?"

(Editor's Note:  Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg are America's Family Coaches!  As such, their ministry includes a powerful and yet practical approach to building your family and marriage.  I first heard Gary speak at a Promise Keeper's event.  To this day, his message of "guarding your heart" and "staying focused on your family" has impacted my life.  Both Gary and Barbara are gifted and powerful speakers.  Please take a moment to consider how your marriage can benefit from their ministry, whether through visiting their website, purchasing one of their best-selling books, listing to their popular radio program, or attending a life-changing seminar.  You can also reach them toll-free by dialing 1-888-ROSBERG.)   





(c) 2003 Caton Development, Inc.

marriage intimacy