If there is anything almost nine years of marriage has taught me, it’s that I can’t get my husband to read my mind. Yep, despite my best efforts, that brotha just can’t do it. Consider it a shortcoming if you must, but I realize that he’s just human.

My husband is actually human.

Shocking, right?

After all, didn’t he get the memo that marrying me meant that he needed to meet my needs without instruction? Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. I never expected my husband to be a mind reader. As nice as it sounds, it’s not possible. I mean, I can’t read his mind. And sometimes when I try, it doesn’t work out too well. I’m better off just asking the right questions and gathering information.

But with what I have figured out over the years, I’ve come to appreciate that there are a few important things that I just need my husband to understand. And I can’t assume he will just figure these things out on his own. That’s unreasonable. I’ve made it my business to communicate these things to him.

And can I tell you something?

Those conversations have made all the difference. They’ve allowed me to be clear about where I stand on certain issues, and they’ve given my husband the opportunity to understand where I stand.

After talking to a few married friends, I realize that most women want their husbands to understand the same things…because even though each marriage is unique, we all have our commonalities.

Here are five things every wife needs her husband to understand.

A little appreciation goes a long way.

This should go without saying, but I think wives need to say it to their husbands to avoid resentment. Your wife needs to be appreciated, verbally and through your actions. And when you show her appreciation, she remembers it. She appreciates you for expressing it. She is thankful you recognize her efforts. Your appreciation goes a very, very long way.

Honesty is the best chance you have at repairing the damage.

If you’ve done anything to damage your marriage, don’t lie about it. Tell your wife the truth. Yes, tell her the truth even if it’s painful for her to hear. You see, the only thing that will hurt her more than hearing the truth from you is discovering it on her own. And that’s usually what happens. Be honest, deal with the consequences, and give your marriage a fighting chance.

Some decisions just aren’t about you.

When you marry someone, two lives are joined forever. There should be a mutual interest in growing together. But don’t forget that your wife is her own person. She was whole before she met you. Her decisions about her dreams and goals and passions are not always about you. They often have nothing to do with you. Sometimes, she just needs your love and support, not for you to fix things. Let her sort through some things on her own. She will come to you when she needs help.

You need to give one hundred percent.

People tend to say that marriage is 50/50, but I think that line of thought can land you in trouble. In order for things to work, consider thinking about your marriage as a 100/100 partnership. Expect your wife to give one hundred percent and you plan to give one hundred percent as well. You get what you give, so give your marriage everything you’ve got.

Love is essential, but it isn’t enough.

It’s important for a woman to feel loved by the man she chose to spend a lifetime with, but love alone isn’t enough. Are you communicating with your wife? Are you building a vision together? Are you showing her appreciation? Do you respect her? Do you listen to her? Do you go on dates with her? Remember that you can’t build a happy marriage on love alone. You need a stronger foundation than that.

What are some things you wish your wife or husband understood?