Typically, a wife worries more about the marriage. Anytime I do marriage counseling, I require the couple to privately rate their marriage between 0 and 10 — zero being hell on earth and ten being heaven on earth. Almost without fail, the wife will put down a lower number than her husband. Often, the disparity between the numbers is large. She will put down a zero or a one and he will put down a seven or an eight.
In roughly 98 cases out of a 100, it is usually the wife that instigates marital counseling and not the husband. The wife usually believes that the marriage needs more work or help than her husband does. This is often very frustrating for the wife. She wants to fix something that her husband doesn’t see as broken. This could easily produce feelings of resentment and anger as she tries to work on something that her husband doesn’t seem to either care about or notice.
THE REASON A WIFE WORRIES MORE
There are several factors that go into the reasoning behind this, but the main one is security. Men and women derive their security from two completely different sources. If the wife is insecure and the husband secure, she will be trying to fix something that the husband doesn’t think needs to be fixed.
In fact, the husband can be completely oblivious to the fact that his wife thinks there is a problem in the marriage. From his perspective, since he is secure, everything is going just fine. Going to see a marital counselor, in his eyes, is an attack against his ego. Not only does he not see a problem, but going to a counselor is like admitting he has failed somehow. Many men consciously or subconsciously resist such a notion.
HOW A WIFE GETS HER SECURITY
A wife’s security is derived primarily from her relationships. She feels secure if she has quality, affectionate, and emotional time spent with those she loves. If the only time she sees or spends time with her husband is the few minutes he wants to make love, she’ll quickly feel empty and disillusioned.
For most women, meaningful relationships requires the sharing of emotions, building connections in spiritual and emotional ways, and exploring the intricacies of a person’s personality and spirituality. Most women — and wives in particular — want this depth in their relationships. She wants this in her marriage, and when she doesn’t get it, a wife worries more.
When she doesn’t get it, when she begins to believe that her husband doesn’t care or that he is no longer interested, then she becomes very insecure. This insecurity causes all sorts of problems for her.
When they were dating, she felt this connection. He was courting her. He put his best foot forward. And he developed emotional connections. Indeed, he spent quality time with her. He was thoughtful, gallant — debonair even. But as so often happens, after marriage, that all seemed to change. She grows insecure. The insecurity brings problems.
HOW A HUSBAND GETS HIS SECURITY
A man derives much of his security from his ability to provide and take care of his family. It is a God-given instinct to want to take care of, to defend, to fight for the ones he loves.
So if a man is making decent money, paying the bills, putting food on the table, putting clothes on the backs of his children, is able to provide for his wife, then he feels secure.
For the average man, providing for his family, having a woman to greet him when he comes home, having his sexual urges satisfied, is the essence of security for him. He feels like he is doing his job. He is doing what he believes is required of him. If he is able to do these things, he is secure and fairly content.
The most insecure men are those who have lost either their job or their ability to provide for their family. Most men feel like the inability to provide for his family has somehow striped him of his manhood. A man defines himself by his work. Ask a man who he is, and he’ll associate himself with his ability to provide. A woman associates herself, more often than not, with her relationships.
So if a man feels like he is providing and protecting he feels secure.
A secure man in a marriage will often stop building the connections that are so important to a wife’s security. When he was pursuing her — dating or courting — he built those connections, but now he has her. He was won the battle. He has conquered. Now he will turn his attention to protecting and providing.
But the wife still longs for those emotional connections. This is what attracted her to him in the first place. She does love to be protected. She does enjoy having things provided for her. But more than either of them, she longs for the deep emotional connections in her relationships. She wants to bond on a level much more deeply than merely physical.
When she doesn’t get it, she thinks the marriage is in worse shape than her husband does. A wife worries about the relationship at that point, and it has the potential to create all sorts of problems.