What, you say: Only 10?! Yes there are more. This is just a starting point. Add your additional points in the comment section below.
1) We want you to tell us you love us. Yes, we need to hear the actual words. We do not want to be like poor Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, begging his wife of 25 years to answer the question, “Do you love me?” We want you to tell us. Frequently.
2) And we want you to match your actions to your words. (Yes, we’re very demanding!) If you tell us you love us and then proceed to ignore all of our requests, needs and desires, your declaration will ring false. Not sure how? Ask us. We have a list.
3) We want to be more important than your job. We appreciate your (our) need for the fulfillment of your career ambitions but we want to feel like we are your first priority. This is usually manifested by calling during the day to check in, taking our calls and sounding like you are really interested in speaking to us, and treating us (at least) as nicely and with as much respect and sense of importance as you do your top client.
4) Time with you is much more valuable to us than more money. Yes, we appreciate the nice possessions but we’d rather go for a walk with you or spend a quiet evening together than receive a gift. Material goods do not and cannot compensate for not seeing you.
5) A few words of appreciation go a long way. “Thanks for dinner. It was delicious. I really liked the flavor” is certainly encouraging. Everyone wants to feel that their efforts are noticed and not taken for granted. Or: “I know you are also busy; thanks for going to the cleaners.” You get the picture.
6) Although you never get pregnant, our children are a shared responsibility. It is not “no big deal” (your words) when I take care of them, nor is it “an extraordinary act of kindness” (your implied words) when you do. (Along these same lines, I’ve noticed that when I go out of town you are flooded with meals and offers of help; yet when you go out of town, no one offers anything….) We are on this journey together and we are both responsible for our family.
7) We do not grow and change through criticism (do you?). You may have convinced yourself that you are only telling us for our own good but 1) you’re wrong because it’s hurtful and ineffective and 2) you’re probably doing it to make your life easier. Like children (and plants) we grow best when nourished, nurtured and loved.
8) Just because we are capable doesn’t mean we want to do everything ourselves. Changing a light bulb or taking out the garbage are not uniquely male pursuits or skills. I am certainly capable of both (this is not a source of great pride) and frequently engage in these activities. But we want you to relieve our burden, to take care of us – in all respects. We feel emotionally tended to when you take over some of these responsibilities, mundane and otherwise.
9) Clothing costs a lot more than you realize! I’m only partially being tongue-in-cheek here. Especially for newly married men who have never walked through the women’s section of a department store, the prices of basic shoes, dresses and skirts may seem absurd. They probably are. But you need to be sensitive to our needs and to what a realistic (considering many factors) expenditure will be. This experience will stand you in good stead should you ever be the parent of teenage girls!
10) Do not ever comment on our weight except to say how thin and beautiful we look.