A wife I've been working with in marriage counseling designed for men told me yesterday that last week her husband asked her for a hug for the first time in their 15 year marriage.
Can you relate to this wife?
- He is a very nice guy, supporting us, including paying my costs because l do not work in order to heed immigration laws.
- But there is one thing that has bothered me throughout our years of marriage: He finds it difficult to tell me he loves me. He does everything right, except this.
- Even now, at the end of our phone conversations, he never tells me he misses me or loves me. But when he phones the children, particularly the youngest, he tells them he loves them and misses them.
- How do l overcome this? I used to tell him that l love him, but I stopped.
Here's the advice she got from Psychology Today:
- Actions speak loudly, and your husband's actions suggest that he cares deeply about you and your children.
- Not everyone is equally comfortable declaring "I love you," and it may be especially hard for someone to declare it to a telephone. He demonstrates his love.
- Many people grow up in families and in cultures where an unwritten rule seems to be that the adults-and especially men-don't openly declare their feelings or even display affection openly. And yet with children, they may be entirely different.
- Just because he can't say what you'd like to hear doesn't mean you should withhold what comes naturally to you. This is one area where reciprocity doesn't work. When you start measuring what you give you start constricting feelings, and that actually becomes corrosive to your own sense of self and to the relationship.
- Just because your husband can't say "I love you" doesn't mean he doesn't want to hear it from you, especially when he is giving you so much.
I disagree with the part of the Psychology Today response that says that this husband "can't" say "I love you." I would change that to he's not comfortable, he doesn't know how, or just that he doesn't say "I love you" -- yet. I do counseling with men that this describes, but they can and do develop the ability to say "I love you" and make this habit with the right help.
Love is not just a feeling, it's a choice and an action, and one that is learned practice.
What part of this can you relate to?
How to Get the Husband of Your Dreams
Learn how your husband rates compared to other husbands and help him get back to being the man you fell in love with. Take our Free Husband Rater Quiz (quizzes for both wives and husbands).