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.

Looking for more help?

8 thoughts on “SWM004: Why your wife can’t tell you what she wants”

  1. Ken says:

    A lot to think about here – and a great conversation starter!

  2. Tony Conrad says:

    That is very interesting and helpful. I have been asking my wife for years what does she want in the bedroom and never get a straight answer. As to what I want to do with her I don’t know as it was always dependent on what she wanted. I always know what I want her to do to me but always felt selfish about it. Bottom line is that it is up to me to know her path of arousal by knowing her, not in asking her.

    One reads so much stuff about what women want which isn’t very helpful as every woman is different. Knowing our own wives is our big challenge.

  3. Kevin says:

    This has given me some things to ponder and reaffirms the message that God keeps giving me. On the surface it appears I lead because I tend to do what needs done, but I don’t discuss it with my wife. I’m doing but not leading.

  4. Kristen says:

    This is excellent. My husband is always asking me what I want but I never want to tell him because then it makes it so phony and fake if he does it. Not just in the bedroom. Other things too. You are absolutely correct in that God created man to rule and subdue the earth and woman to help and complete the man. No wonder this whole thing infuriates me. I just want him to lead!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      I’m working on a course for husbands to help in this area, but I’m still developing it, so stay tuned.

  5. Tony Conrad says:

    I’ve just listened to the podcast. My first, and I thought it was brilliant how it went to the very nature of what a man and woman is which also lines up with scripture. Quite a revelation to me really. Thank you.

  6. Lisa says:

    Nope! I love telling my husband what would please me, in and out of bed. We are eager to please and serve each other. There’s nothing Christian about expecting your husband to read your mind.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      No, I agree, expecting your husband to read your mind is not right. But I think there’s something deeper going on here for a lot of women: a desire to be led, to be taken care of, to be provided for.

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