SWM004: Why your wife can’t tell you what she wants

Sex Within Marriage Podcast Image for PostsIn this episode I answer the question I get from so many husbands: Why can’t my wife just tell me what she wants?  This used to drive me crazy earlier in my marriage, until I figured out the answer.  Now I see it as an opportunity, instead of a frustration.

Show Notes


  • Many couples struggle with this dynamic, of the wife always asking for direction, and the husband being frustrated at being asked
  • It can come out in numerous ways, from “What do you want for supper” to waiting during sex for the husband to take control or asking something like “So, what do you want to do to me?”

The conflict

  • The problem is, men have been trained to be submissive to women
  • We’ve been raised to defer to them, to let them be in charge, to be the “Nice Guy” and to put their desires over our own
  • We end up saying “I don’t know” because we don’t know how to resolve the conflict of being asked to express our desires

Your wife may not know what she wants either

  • Women, consciously or subconsciously, want their husband to be a leader, to show confidence, assertiveness
  • If they tell their husband what they want, even if he does it, then their husband won’t be taking the lead, he will just be following her

Why does she want a husband who is a leader?

  • School of evolution states that it’s because men are bigger and stronger, and so women want a dominant man to ensure the propagation of their genes
  • The Bible teaches that men were created to defend the earth, and women created to help them in that role (Genesis 2).  Paul backs this hierarchy in his writings (Ephesians 5:22-24).

How the curse plays out

  • Genesis 3:16 says that while husbands would have the authority to lead, their wives would seek to control them.
  • There is an inherent conflict within women between their original role, to want to be lead, and their sinful nature, to desire to usurp that authority
  • Men have a similar conflict because of society: We have a God-given task to lead, and yet we are taught to be submissive

So, what’s the answer?

  • For husbands: be assertive, confident, dominant, but not domineering.  Be a sacrificial leader.
  • For wives: be helpful, confident, submissive, but not inferior.  Be a strong helper.
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What should we run a survey about next?

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