When my husband Dave and I started dating, I'd frequently ask him what he was thinking about whenever we had a pause in our conversation. He was so sweet to try and give me a reasonable answer, even though I'm sure this practice became annoying to him. I don't ask him that question as often anymore, but I still sometimes wonder what he's thinking.
Recently, he wrote an interesting article about this very subject, and challenged me to do the same. I honestly laughed at the prospect because he had a concise list of nine, and I didn't know where to start with making a list for women (since we think a million or so thoughts a day).
1. "What's on my to-do list today? Can I do it all?"
As women, we wear a lot of hats. Many of us have husbands, kids, jobs, homes, errands to run, and the list goes on. We could spend a whole day taking care of each of these, but we have to prioritize.
So most days, women are trying to do just that: take care of our loved ones and the many duties that come along with them. Oops, I forgot to put ourselves on the list, but this is often how it goes.
2. "Does my husband still find me desirable?"
This thought has nothing to do with confidence or even how we look; it has everything to do with the relationship we have with our husbands. We want to know that he still thinks we're smokin' hot.
We want to know that he only has eyes for us. Women long to be adored and prized, whether we're ill, pregnant, a little heavy or too thin. As wives, we're willing to do things to make ourselves attractive to our spouses, and we want them to notice.
Husbands, we see the way you look at us, and we hear your words loud and clear. We want to know that you find us desirable on all levels: sexually (you love our body), mentally (you love our thoughts), and emotionally (you love our hearts). Let us know that you love being with us.
3. "Am I succeeding at my job?"
Just like men, women want to do the best job we can. We work hard, and we want our hard work to pay off.
4. "Do I have my priorities in line?"
Women wear many hats and it's very difficult to juggle our many duties. As a wife and mother, I've felt "mommy guilt" when it comes to balancing duties at work and home. We want to be the best wife and mother possible while also having a successful career if we're working outside of the home.
5. "Am I a good wife?"
Marriage is a blessing, and we want to get it right. Sometimes, our husbands can get placed on the back burner, and then we start to see our relationship suffer. Husbands, we want to know that we're meeting your needs on all levels as much as we can.
Many times, we're willing to share our needs with our husbands more than they're willing to share their needs with us. We aren't mind readers! The more honest we can be with each other, the better. Husbands, let us know so we can be the best wives possible.
6. "Am I a good mother?"
In my current stage of life, I might word this question more like "Am I messing up my kids?" Parenting is hard. It's honestly the hardest thing I've done thus far, and I don't take it lightly. When we receive the blessing of motherhood, we immediately receive the weight that comes with it.
We have visions of horror in thinking that thirty years down the road, our grown children will have major issues and find us to blame. If only I had made him his favorite breakfast every morning, he would've felt more loved. If only I had been a little harder on him and had him do more chores, he wouldn't be so lazy.
The struggle is real and messy, folks. Again, we just want to get it right.
7. "Am I enough?"
Sometimes, I don't feel like there's enough of me to go around, and it can be exhausting. When I was teaching, I'd wake up and pour into my husband and kiddos. Once I arrived at school, I'd pour into my students. Once I got back home, I'd make dinner for my family, run my kids to their various activities, and end the day by pouring into my husband and kids once again. I was a shell of a person.
I'd been pouring out all day into the ones I love and doing something I loved to do, but I was completely spent. I'd often lie in bed and think to myself, "Am I enough?" Many women find themselves in the same boat. We often do so much but have so little to show for it at the time. We just want to know that we ARE enough.
8. "Am I respectable?"
It's often been said that men desire respect and women want to be loved, overall. This is true on many levels, but women have a strong desire for respect as well. We want to know that our husbands, kids, friends, and coworkers respect us. We don't like to be disrespected, just like anyone else.
9. "When can I get a break?"
We've talked A LOT about the many duties we carry as women, and most of the time we're happy to carry all of these out. Sometimes, we just want a break. It could be a date night with our hubby, a girls night out with our friends, or just a lazy, quiet night watching our favorite television shows and a big scoop of ice cream (or glass of wine, or let's be real: both).
For some reason, we feel guilty about needing this time, but everyone needs time to chill. Taking a couple of hours a week to reconnect with our husband, friends, or even yourself is needed to lead a balanced life. So ladies, let's stop feeling guilty about this and give ourselves a break.
10. "Am I making a difference?"
No matter where you might be in your faith, I believe that God designed each and every one of us with a significant purpose on Earth. Whether big or small, each of us has something good to offer the world.
As women, we want to know that all the time and effort we put into our family, friendships, churches, charities/ministries, and work is achieving a greater purpose and making the world a better place.
This article was originally published at patheos.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.