Wifespeak: What do wives need?


All a woman needs and has ever needed from her husband is protection. A wife’s first and most important language of love is to feel safe.

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May I surprise you? Women do not need provision from a man. I know, I know that we are extremely excited with a monthly allowance and with you footing more than half the bills. I also know that we have been taught and conditioned to parrot that a husband is the provider.

I posed a question to the men in my circles. “What do you think your wife, ultimately needs from you?” I got similar responses. Money. Gifts. To be kept well. To be provided for. One almost got it right when he said security, but then went off tangent when he quantified his response with, ‘the security of a nice home in the green suburbs.’ All that is wonderful, but only when the core need is met will everything else make sense.

George Kimando, a fellow scribe, and friend, in his Sunday Massive blog wrote, ‘whereas formerly the man was disengaged from the children because he was largely away working to provide for the family, he is today disengaged because his role has been diminished and blurred by the woman who does not necessarily need him for provision.’

My response to him was fast and swift. ‘A man’s role has not been diminished or blurred by the woman, because women do not and have never needed a man to provide – materially – for them.’

He called me. “Say what now?”

“All a woman needs and has ever needed from her husband is protection. A wife’s first and most important language of love is to feel safe. Safe with him in every respect, for example, safe to speak her mind and to be herself, safe in his commitment to her.”

“But, what about providing for her, for his family?” George asked.

“First of all, God is the ultimate provider. He can choose to bless any of them with more wealth than the other. What matters is that it goes to the welfare of the family and to support others.”

“But in our traditional settings, men remained the providers.”

“Not really. In our African setting, women provided. They tilled the land to put food on the table.”

Heck, in some communities, it is the women who built the houses with their bare hands as the men went hunting, grazing and kept the home safe from not just marauding leopards but from hostile tribes. All that a woman needed and still needs today is to feel safe with you. A husband protecting his wife and family from external factors, including from other women and men is what a woman needs. Many a wife has walked away from a house in the leafy havens because she did not feel safe, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually, with her wealthy husband.

The problem with blanket statements, such as 'husband is the provider', is that we lose the context with which they came about. It is largely attributed to the Biblical roles of a husband. A husband as a provider is not limited to the material provision, but to other provisions such as love, spiritual nourishment, and emotional support.

You, as a husband, are expected to provide love – sacrificially – to your wife. Even when you do not feel loving towards her, because love is not a feeling but an action, a verb. For example, to love your wife means that you are not to utter harsh words to her. You are in fact commanded to be gentle and considerate and care for her just like you care for your own self. Do not be one of those men who are so engrossed with providing only the material, that you climb the highest mountains and navigate the deepest of valleys to provide, only to come home and find her gone because you were never there for her.

While we are on this topic, Valentine’s Day is not going away any time soon. Husbands, spare the day and be romantic. Stop treating her like a fellow man! She needs all the sweet nothings whispered in her ear. Eros love is your portion of provision too. She is not going to get it from anyone else. Go with the flow and demonstrate passion and romance love to your spouse. No, I have not forgotten the husbands. I asked them what they need from their wives and got a whole missive. Let us meet here next week and hear what our husbands need from us, their madams.

Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage. [email protected]