Stop Obeying Your Wife: 4 Important Clues in Discerning Your Wife’s Preferences

BY: - 7 Jul '16 | Communication

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I was talking to Brent, a husband of four years. He was complaining about how his wife, as he put it, “be trippin’.”  He was frustrated with how his wife kept upping the ante of things she wanted him to do.

“As soon as I do one thing she asks, she’s quick to add on something else. I told her, ‘just give me a list of what you want so I can know what you want me to do…and do it.’
And she said, ’You should just know.’”

Brent’s comment raised a big red flag to me. In theory, it makes sense for a husband to have a list of exactly what his wife wants him to do. After all, no one is a mind-reader. But should we be?

After a certain period of time in your marriage (and in Brent’s case, four years),  that fact that you still require a list of your wife’s preferences is a sign that you really don’t know her well enough to discern what she wants. Now fellas, before you get all defensive, hear me out…

Stop Obeying Your Wife

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about ‘obeying’ in an authority/submissive manner. But in a ‘Honey, I gotta work late…can you make dinner tonight’ kinda way.

Thus, I strongly believe the more mature you are in your relationship, you become less obedient to a list—and more discerning about what she wants.

Think about it. Children should obey their parents. Right? But a sign that your child is maturing is when he can discern what you want him to do without you having to tell him. This is the joy of every parent—that their child can make good decisions on their own.

That same joy is felt in a marriage when a husband can discern what his wife wants without her having to tell him everything that’s will make her happy.

Start Discerning

If you’ve been in a relationship for four years, like Brent, and you’re still obeying rather than discerning…no disrespect…you’re not maturing fast enough. As a husband, it’s your responsibility to grow to the point where you make decisions that discern your wife’s preferences instead of just obeying a list.

It’s not going to happen over night. But every year, you should be getting more and more familiar with your wife and her preferences.

4 Important Clues in Discerning Your Wife’s Preferences

Here are 4 important clues you can use to stop obeying and become more discerning of your wife’s preferences.

  1. What Are Her Fears
    Fear is one of the strongest motivators of decision making. It’s fair to assume that her preferences trend toward avoiding or protecting herself from those fears. For example, is she afraid your young child might play with a small and potentially dangerous object left laying around the house? If so, you should always know to pick up the objects whenever you see them on the floor.Learn what your wife’s biggest fears are…if you don’t know already. From them, discern what her preferences are based on her need to avoid them.
  2. Time vs. Money vs. Quality
    This is important! You’ve heard the saying ‘time is money’. Well, let me alter this saying a little: ‘quality is time plus money.’ For example, if you prefer better quality, then you have to spend more time or money to get it. However, if quality is not as important as saving time or money, then you’ll gladly prefer less quality if it saves you time or money.Out of these three concepts, your wife has a preference for how to get what she wants. And 9 times out of 10, it’s the exact opposite of yours. But knowing what her preference is will give you a clue into discerning what she prefers.
  3. 5 Love Languages
    You’ve probably heard of the 5 Love Languages already. So I’m not going to spend time commenting on them. I just wanted to mention it because it is a good resource to use in discerning what your wife’s preferences are.
  4. 5 Sex Languages
    Psychologist, Dr. Doug Weiss, has identified 5 Sex Languages that describe the five different reasons why one wants to have sex (listed below). I found these reason very accurate…and telling.My wife’s reason is completely different from mine. This definitely gives some insight into what’s been going on in our 18-year marriage. To be honest, we are still trying to understand what these preferences mean for our sex life. We haven’t figured it out yet. But I can say, it’s helpful to know there are five different reasons. I just wish this book came out 19 years ago. I would have been better informed.

Here are the 5 sex languages

  1. Fun
  2. Desire
  3. Pleasure
  4. Patience
  5. Acceptance/Celebration

BMWK – Do you believe there’s a benefit in discerning vs. obeying your mate’s preferences?

About the author

Heath Wiggins wrote 83 articles on this blog.

The Purveyor of Understanding - Heath Wiggins married Bernadette (Bernie) Wiggins in October 1997. Together they founded the Family Bootcamp, LLC., a relationship consulting business that helps people improve the communication and trust in relationships. In 2013, Heath launched the blog and book His Leadership Her Trust to combat the lack of trust women had in allowing men be leaders in their relationships. His mission is to teach Christian men how to lead in such a way that women trust, respect, and actually want to them.


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