I often hear from wives who have some issues with whether their husbands are “in love” with them or not. And, if the husbands are, the wives often measure this love by degrees, as compared to how much the wife loves him. I often him comments like “my husband doesn’t love me nearly as much as I love him. I make all of the concessions and advances in the relationship. He never makes any effort or shows me any attention or affection. It’s as if he merely tolerates me. He doesn’t ask me about my day or make any effort to engage with me. It’s like I’m someone who just merely coexists. On a scale of one to ten, I love him on a level that’s an eleven. And he loves me on a level that’s about a one.”
I understand that this is a lonely and frustrating place to be. I experienced this in my own marriage and the way I handled this almost ended that same marriage. Through experience and research, it’s become pretty clear to me that there’s a right way and wrong way to handle this situation. I will discuss this more in the following article.
Score keeping Is Not The Best Idea For A Marriage. The Question Isn’t Which Spouse Loves The Other The Most: The Question Is Do Both Spouse’s Feel Loved?: I understand how depressing it feels when you suspect that you’re the only one who’s really “in love” or trying to keep the marriage afloat. But sometimes, wives focus so much on measuring how much their husband loves them against some imaginary yard stick that has few (if any) implications on real life. This doesn’t really do anything to change or improve their situation.
I often tell wives to give up comparisons and worry instead about whether they’re feeling loved, wanted and valued. Obviously, the answer is most likely to be negative, but at least you’ve shifted your focus from score keeping to something on which you can take concrete action.
It can also be very important to understand that men aren’t as demonstrative as women. So, expecting your husband to be a spouse that compares to you in terms of demonstrating their feelings may not be totally realistic. Very few husbands express their love and affection in the way that wives typically do. This doesn’t mean that they don’t love you enough. It just means that you’ll need to teach him how to express himself and you’ll need to encourage the behaviors that make you feel noticed, understood, and loved.
Some wives tell me that they resent having to do all the work and having to train their husband to do something that he should just automatically do. These points are certainly valid. But, in my experience, it’s better to give a little in exchange for getting what you truly want than to remain angry, frustrated and indignant while you’re not getting your needs met. It’s important to address and fix this before you yourself begin to withdraw. Because when you have to spouses who are on the edge of indifference, this can leave the marriage in real trouble.
When You’re Worried That Your Husband’s Lack Of Affection For You Means He’s Not Invested In The Marriage Or May Eventually Want Out: I often find that the wives who tell me that their husband’s don’t love them enough fall into two camps. The first is a situation where the marriage is probably really OK, but the husband has either gotten into the habit of not showing his affection or needs to relearn that lesson. This scenario is easier to fix.
The second scenario is that the husband’s lack of affection is due to issues within the marriage or with his no longer being invested in it. This is the scenario which you often can not afford to ignore. Because often, his withdrawing from you is a symptom of a much bigger problem. So, attempting to teach a husband to show you the feelings that just aren’t there isn’t likely to work.
Instead, you’ll need to examine why the feelings have left, fix and address the issue, and then reevaluate. This is likely easier said than done. Because in the same way that husband’s aren’t demonstrative, they also often don’t have a firm grip on their feelings and perceptions. They may well know that something is wrong and act upon it. But, unlike us, they don’t lay awake at night exploring and turning over the issue. They’re more reactive. When something is wrong, they withdraw and reshuffle their efforts instead of thinking about their feelings.
They may not even be aware that they are doing this or even understand why they are doing it. And that can be one reason that they insist that nothing is wrong or that you’re imagining things. Since they haven’t pondered what the issue is (or even that it exists) you look like a real nag or complainer when you address the symptom of it. That’s why you’re often much better off just working and acting on your own (especially at first.)
One of the biggest mistakes that I see many wives make is that they harp on a sensitive subject with an already distant and detached husband. So, they’re already on shaky ground and it’s clear he’s resistant, but they think that if they can just get him to “work” on solving the problem, things will get better. The problem with this is that he’s already begun to withdraw. He likely doesn’t want to “work” on the marriage, at least right now. You’ll have to return him to a point of being invested before you can gain any real ground.
Most wives understand this deep down, but they hesitate or rush because they don’t know how to get their husbands to be receptive to them again. The key is often to take inventory of the marriage and see where the husband might not be getting what he wants and then to provide that without needing to have any large or painful discussions about the same.
And, that’s a common place where wives get stuck. I often hear comments like “But how am I supposed to do this? I’m already the one whose providing all of the attention and affection and that’s not working either.” Often the question really isn’t the demonstrative affection (at least on the husband’s end.) The real issue is often the real connection, and the feeling of being truly heard, valued and understood. It’s also important that both parties know that no one is going through the motions, score keeping, nagging, or trying to manipulate the other.
I often tell wives to focus on what they can do very genuinely and convincingly. Husbands know when you’re just putting on a show or trying to overcompensate for what is really the underlying problem. They don’t want more of the same. They don’t want to be manipulated. They often want real change and improvements instead of worrying about how things look on the outside.