My friends at BestMarriage.com told me a great story. It was a turning point in their marriage. Joel was also an abusive husband. They were pastors during the abuse. They went to a conference on living free from abuse, where they came to terms with how bad their marriage actually was.
Joel was confronted about his attitiude. He was told that one of his biggest problems was that he didn't think he needed Kathy. His response? You're right. I don't need her.
He was convinced she was simply an accessory. She was just a part of his life. Someone there to serve him. The assistant. The vice principal. Second in command. First mate. Like Batman and Robin. Skipper and Gilligan. Pinky and the Brain. One is critical, the other is just there. A spare tire. Comic relief. Maybe a grunt. Whatever. Someone who could be replaced by anyone.
He didn't see her as absolutely critical to his life. He didn't see how they completed each other. Almost a ying and yang kinda thing. Neither is truly complete without the other.
There is a word used in the Bible when God made Eve. Helpmeet. He said it was not good for man to be alone. So, I shall make him a helpmeet. Not help mate. Not second in command. Not vice principal. Not comic relief. Helpmeet. Very powerful word. Very complex word. Essentially, someone who completes you and makes you more than you can be alone. The help part is the same as another army called in to help with a battle you can't win alone. The meet part is tricky. Like an interpreter that helps get through something you can't understand. A guide that takes you somewhere you can't get alone. She completes you. She is all that you aren't. She sees things you don't. She hears things you don't. She understands things you don't.
( here's another good article The definition of helpmeet I am not Mormon, don't agree with a lot of things they believe, but the article is really good )
It's not weakness to need her. It's not whimpy to need her beside you. You are not a henpecked, loser of a wus for needing her. You are a wise man who understands how important she is. Her opinion matters. Her fears should be heeded. Her concerns are legitimate. Everything about her matters.
Just like Joel, I had to come to terms with all this. I had to admit it and tell myself, "I need my wife." The sooner you admit you need her, the better. If you say that you want a stronger marriage, you need to take steps to make it stronger. This is an easy one. Take a few days to think about this. Figure out why you need her. Think about times she encouraged you. Or tried to stop you from doing something stupid, that you did anyway. Think about times she protected you. Think about ways she is a part of you. Don't even think about anything negative. Just focus on the good stuff for a few days.
Say it out loud, so you can hear yourself say it. "I need my wife." Say her name. Tell her you need her. Tell her why. Do it now.