Mutual Understanding is vital in this area.
Regardless of what the popular press would like you to believe, men and women are different. That's God's design and that's the way it will always be. Interestingly enough, in recent years researchers have discovered that women and men have different biological, psychological, and professional realities. In general, women frequently find their sense of identity through relationships with others; men tend to find their sense of self through being separate.
Typically, men try to meet the needs that men value, and women try to meet the needs that women value. The trouble is ladies, your husband's needs are not the same as your needs, and you cannot meet his needs by doing what you would do for another woman.
In the same way, a wife's needs are different from her husband's, and he cannot meet her needs by doing what comes naturally to a man. In essence, both husbands and wives must "stretch" beyond themselves, taking into consideration what their spouses need, then providing it.
Where did the differences we experience come from? The story of creation underscores the fundamental fact of our need for each other because of our differences. Think about it for a minute. Adam lived in the only paradise that has ever existed on earth. He felt no pain. He shed no tears. Everything was perfect. And yet, according to the Genesis narrative, Adam was lonely. But notice, Adam didn't make the request for a "helper fit for him" - in other words, matching him. Adam didn't ever realize he needed one. Genesis 2:18 says, "Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him'". In effect, God said to him, for you to really be created in "our image", you have to realize that you are designed for relationship - both a vertical and horizontal one. And so far Adam, you've only been able to experience the vertical. And God created Eve.
The "dirt design" changed with Eve.
The creation design formula changed when Eve was created. Prior to Eve, the animals, the birds, and yes, even Adam, were all created out of the dust of the ground. This is what I call the "dirt design". And, it seemed to be working quite well. The animals were reproducing after their own kind.
But when Eve was created, the "dirt design" was no longer adequate. If Eve had only been created so that she and Adam could reproduce after their own kind, then the "dirt design" would have been fine. But Eve wasn't created using the "dirt design". She was created from Adam's rib - she's now bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. They were created to have and enjoy a depth of relationship that no other part of creation could experience.
But our differences, if not understood (mutual understanding) and accepted , become a source of confusion and contention rather than completeness. Too often in marriage, the fundamental differences between women and men are overlooked when we mistakenly assume that our partners are just like us - "what is good for me is good for you". We evaluate their behavior according to our feminine or masculine standards, never considering the vast differences between the sexes.
Even though popular culture ignores the science, we now recognize, more precisely than ever before, the gap between men and women. And to ignore this gap is to risk putting your marriage on the brink of disaster. Your partner, by virtue of being the opposite sex, thinks, feels, and behaves differently than you do. Mutual understanding in this area is critical for the health of your marriage.
MUM's the Word.