What Men and Women Always Need More of in Relationships

“Happy Life: Happy Marriage” Series

I was hoping someone would disagree with my post We Can’t Get No Satisfaction and argue that they are completely satisfied with all that life has to offer. However, if that person exists, he or she has not joined our discussion.  (I think people who have learned to be content in their circumstances certainly do exist, but it’s not likely they could stifle their unmet desires entirely.)

The interesting, yet challenging, part of our inability to be satisfied is that men and women tend to differ as to their areas of primary insatiability. The inability to understand the areas in which your spouse is likely to be dissatisfied can certainly bring conflict into your marriage, and probably already has.

Men and women in general have equally insatiable natures, says Dennis Prager, author of Happiness is a Serious Problem. They share many areas in which they may be unsatisfied, such as material wealth or finding a meaningful purpose. However, each gender has one particular area that is plagued with insatiability. Prager says for women, that area is emotional intimacy; for men, it is sexual variety.  (He goes on to explain that social influence causes men to search for different sexual partners.) Both of these longings are equally strong and can cause dissatisfaction and discord in the relationship.

Prager says the solution lies in first understanding one’s own sex. Much of our frustration may be related to believing that we can attain the unattainable—the ability to be satisfied with something that few can be satisfied about. We must understand our own desires, and then try to understand our partner’s frustrated desires. Within reason, we should attempt to fulfill our spouse’s needs. We also should be understanding when our partner isn’t able to satisfy our desires.

For example, a woman even in a good marriage with a loving husband may be frustrated that she does not receive enough emotional intimacy. Even if she has expressed her need and maybe even increases the amount of emotional intimacy she shares with her spouse, she may never be completely satisfied with their level of intimacy. If she is aware that she can’t be completely fulfilled in this area, perhaps she can appreciate what she does have with her partner. However, the man has a responsibility to attempt to understand her, and work to establish a deeper relationship with her, allowing for time with her and making romantic gestures such as loving touches, giving flowers or other acts that demonstrate love.

Men may also benefit from understanding it is not in their nature to be satisfied sexually. A man may be setting himself up for failure if he thinks he can fulfill his desire for sexual variety by having an extramarital affair, says Prager. “A sexual affair doesn’t quell a man’s urge for variety for anything approaching a year. Shortly after his affair, he is back to sexual square one.” Sharing a good sex life is important to the marriage, even if his desires may not be entirely satisfied. “The man must know that even in the best circumstances—frequent and satisfying sexual relationship with a partner whom he loves—he will still walk around (especially in contemporary Western societies, with their sexual bombardments) with sexual frustration.” Reminding himself of his insatiable sexual nature may help the man appreciate the sex life he shares with this wife.

Understanding how to be happy within marriage means we may have to fight natural impulses to be unhappy or dissatisfied. We can control our mind and remind ourselves of the positive aspects in our relationship. Being grateful, and expressing that gratitude has been repeatedly proven to boost relationships. It is possible to be happy in a relationship, even when we are not completely satisfied.

Do you agree or disagree with the areas of insatiability for men and women? Are they difficult areas to overcome?

Interesting Links:
Check out cool giveaways this week at the Dating Divas.

A bad marriage is worse for her than for him from The Generous Husband. It’s true that research shows a bad marriage impacts the wife emotionally and physically more than the husband.

Photo credit: ©Pavel Losevsky/PhotoXpress.com

6 responses to “What Men and Women Always Need More of in Relationships

  1. I’d say you hit the nail on the head. I agree that it is equally important to understand our own natural insatiability as well as that of our spouse. With that understanding in mind, it’s important not to feel guilty over your own desires and not to make your spouse feel guilty for theirs.

  2. Very interesting and think that it is right on. Of course, it’s built on some stereotypes about male and female desires which can easily be reversed. But I think, by and large, a woman’s most elemental thirst is for emotional intimacy first and a man’s most elemental thirst is for sexual intimacy first. This troubles me a little because a woman that is insatiable about wanting more communicaton — talking, sharing, non-sexual touching, and being made to feel special is more considered more “appropriate” than a man that is insatiable about sexual intimacy. Take a survey across Christian resources on this subject and you’ll see that a strong admonition is given to husbands to love their wives unconditionally as Christ love — to give up everything for her — no matter what her deficits (abandonment by father, sexual abuse, etc.). These sources almost seems to indicate that husbands are expected to satisfy their wives’ emotional insatiability above and beyond their ability. But if there is a discussion about satisfying the husband’s sexual insatiability, it is often said that he really doesn’t need as much sexual intimacy as he desires and that he is getting obsessive about. In other words , insatiable love is a “need” which you can see all throughout Scripture but sex is not routinely characterized as love or a “need”. The desire to be loved is put on a pedestal but the desire for sexual expression is expected to be put within proper bounds and “controlled”

  3. Pingback: Weekly Roundup: Satisfaction in Marriage, Reluctant Evangelists, and 7 Questions to Ask Before You Teach | Maximize My Ministry: Personal Development for Today's Christian Leader

  4. It’s ridiculous! In my marriage I’m the one that desires sexual variety and I’m the wife.

    • In a small number of couples, the woman has the higher sex drive than the man. There are certainly no absolutes when it comes to love and marriage.

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