Thinking Through The Greatest Need Of A Man

The greatest need of a man is not sex (he can get that from a prostitute) neither is it food (he can get that from a good restaurant). A man’s greatest need is respect”.

While still struggling with the breaking news read out by my wife that because tomato is expensive and scarce I now have to learn how to eat noodles for as long as the tomato crisis lasted, I stumbled on the quote above and it got me thinking if the greatest need of a man is truly respect?

The quote credited to a respected Nigerian female pastor is alluding to the fact that the greatest need of a man in marriage is respect. While I agree that respect plays an important role in marriage I think that isn’t the greatest need of most men and it will be wrong to generalize men’s needs, same for women’s needs too.

Thinking through this objectively will help situate my submission on the relativity of the needs of a man. I went to town (on Facebook –no fuel to drive around town) to ask ‘’real men’’ what their needs are. One real man noted that respect is to be earned and not demanded hence the greatest need of a man to him isn’t respect. In another response a female friend asked why is it that it’s only the woman that must know what men want how about men also knowing what women want? I tire o!

I have asked ‘’real men’’ to comment because only a real man understands what his needs are devoid of what the society, culture or books say. A real man has studied himself to know his strengths, weaknesses and is working hard to improve. A real man understands that ‘respect is reciprocal’ – in Yoruba it is known as ‘ori o ju ori’ (all are created equal) in all aspects of life including marriage.

What every man needs in their marriage is relative. For example, a man who is the only one asking for sex in a marriage all the time without the wife asking would not necessarily see respect as his greatest need. His need at that material point in time will be for his wife to also make advances. What is the essence of respect when his emotional needs can’t be met?

A man whose wife is earning more than he does, will feel the need for respect and his greatest need will be for his ego to be massaged, but we also don’t have to generalize here as there are men who still believe that given this scenario nothing changes. They still do the needful and don’t necessarily feel intimidated by their companion’s riches, successes or status- these type of men are few though but they exist!

When it comes to food, many men like their home made food as it can’t compare to food cooked in a restaurant (there are good ones though, as a bachelor I patronized a few and as a sharp husband I still know a few good ones across the country), at least real men know that eating at home is healthy and economical. What is the essence of respect if when a man gets home his food is not ready after working 8-God knows how many hours in a day. Some men (after a hard day’s job) will still be the ones to cook while the wife is watching her favourite series on ‘’Telemundo’’ or ‘’Zee world’’. I support men who help their wife’s if their schedule permits this.

What I am driving at, in essence, is that for every married woman and those about to, it is important to carryout‘’ a needs assessment’’ on your husband, ditto for men. We can’t generalize each other needs it’s too dangerous to do that while also noting that ‘’man’s (woman’s) needs are insatiable’’ and that our needs as men and women are driven mainly by our situation or circumstances.

A man who picks up all the bills in the house, changes his wife’s phone, car, wardrobe every 2 years will not see respect as his need and that also does not necessarily mean the wife will respect him, if after doing all of this he has extra marital affairs. Show me a woman that will respect such a man, may be our mothers or grandmothers, but not those in this century. Respect has to be earned!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying respect is not important. What I am saying is as much as men need to be respected and women also deserve the same, our greatest need as men isn’t respect, our greatest needs as men are varied and should not be generalized.

At least I know my greatest need is not respect, want to know?  My greatest need is for tomatoes to be back on my menu, I am tired of this small pepper sauce on my Gbegiri and Ewedu- Chikena!


Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi is the Executive Director of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) and for many years been an internationally respected authority on the growth of civil society. He has over 10 years of experience as a senior policy analyst and strategist on addressing diverse development challenges of the African policy landscape.  He serves and has served on the Board of many companies and civil society organisations including Society for Family and Social Protection in Nigeria.




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5 Responses to Thinking Through The Greatest Need Of A Man

  1. Femi Diipo June 7, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Well I think respect in a broader perspective is just the simply courtesy you afford every man or woman regardless of their age or status, hence, every man or woman needs his own quota. There are however other needs, but I think we all need respect generally, both the man and the woman

  2. Henry Ekwuruke June 8, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Good article Seyi, I believe inequality is the root of social (family) ills. Respect is important. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is on longer room for others, this is a great danger for the family and society.

  3. maveedah June 9, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Hmmm….interesting article…good piece…

  4. Taiwo June 22, 2016 at 7:50 am

    I must say this article has led me through a very interesting perspective that I have not considered and I find it very helpful and true. Thank you for this eye opener and I hope you get tomato back on your menu list.

  5. Jenny February 13, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    In essence, know the essential need of your spouse or friend!!! True every one wants to be respected, there are peculiar needs as to the desires of people. All we need do is to find out.
    These are few things needed to avoid little conflicts in marriages/relationships.


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