Men and women experience love in very different ways. Most people are not conscious of this as they go through their lives, and so they attempt to show their love to people of the other sex in the same way they want it shown to them, in the same way they think of it naturally, without considering how the other person views it.
There are certain things that are necessary to feel loved that are shared among nearly all people, regardless of gender. This includes things like time together, touching, communicating, and other things of this nature. This type of thing is worth of its own article, so for this article, I’m sticking with things that are either specific with regards to wives with their husbands, or at least more emphasized.
Women, if you’re reading this, realize that just like you, a man doesn’t feel loved just because you say “I love you”. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it (you should), but you can’t just leave it at that… and most men won’t tell you that they don’t feel loved. Many of them don’t even realize that is what is bothering them, they just know they aren’t happy, and possibly that it has to do with their relationship, but not be able to put it into a solid concept that they don’t feel loved.
I’m a man. I know that most of the things I need to feel loved, when they are boiled down to basics, are the same for most other men. There may be a few here and there that one of the things below do not apply to, or a few here and there where there is another essential addition. If you are one of those men, and reading this, please add them in the comments. For the vast majority, however, I think this list covers the basics.
So, with no further ado, ladies, here are some basic ways you can show your husband you love him.
The most effective way to make a man feel unloved is to disrespect him, especially in front of others. If you have any desire at all to take good care of your husband, and make him feel loved, do not ridicule him, overrule him, or dismiss him in front of someone else. It’s bad enough to do it in private (you really do NOT need to use these methods… find another way to convey your message), but in public you might as well slap his face.
This is related to the first, but from the other side. Respecting him is more about avoiding disrespect than in overt display of respect. Admiring him, on the other hand is explicitly about conveying to him, by words or gestures, what it is that you like about him. This can be body language, like giving him “elevator eyes” when he’s watching, if you like his body, or it can be words, like telling him that you love his sense of humor. You should always make sure that you use something appropriate to the circumstances, however… telling him you love his sense of humor while you’re at his father’s funeral together might not be a good idea.
You also need to vary this, finding new (or infrequently used) little things to tell him you like on a fairly regular basis. If you have trouble coming up with stuff on your own (are you sure you’re with the right guy for you?), then just instantly tell him when he takes an action you like… if he comes around and opens you car door for you, and you like it, tell him so. Always hearing the same thing, like “I love your sense of humor”, makes it lose its power for this. It gets to the point where he won’t really believe you, thinking you’re just saying it to manipulate him.
Let Him “Overhear” You Praise Him
This works wonders, but has to be used infrequently, and with caution. It doesn’t work, and can feel manipulative, if you pretend like you don’t know he’s there, but he can tell that you do. It’s much better, and safer, to ACTUALLY praise him to others, and occassionally he’ll be nearby when you do so, and overhear it. This technique actually works if you do it outright, too, as long as you don’t over do it. That is, you can flat out say to someone “My husband is great, he does X for me”, with him sitting beside you, and it will make him feel like you respect and admire him (see above).
This is a little thing that has major effects. One of the most effective ways of showing someone you love them is to make them top priority, to the point where you stop everything you’re doing, whatever it is, to focus on them. That is, you step away from the computer, let the baby play by herself, turn off the TV, stop cooking dinner, whatever it is you’re doing, and go to that person and specifically show them that they are your central focus RIGHT THEN. This is particularly effective when you first see them after a separation (ie when you or they get home from work, etc.).
Notice His Strengths
This is similar to admiring him, but specific to his strengths. That is, if it’s hard for you to get the lid off the jar, and you know he can, go ask him, telling him something like “I’m not strong enough to open this. Can you do it for me?”. If his strength is math, ask him to calculate the price per ounce of something (or a similar feat of arithmetic), telling him it’s too hard for you. Don’t lie in this… he’ll know. Just make a point of asking him to help anywhere that you know is a strength of his that complements a weakness of yours. As noted, this can be physical or mental… “Can you move this for me, I can’t do it?” or “Can you help me figure out how to word this?”. Just like admiring him, though, overuse of this in one area tends to lower its effectiveness, eventually becoming more annoying than complementary.
Forgive His Weaknesses
Your husband has his weaknesses. All men do, and all women, too, for that matter. Do NOT use his weaknesses against him. If you use them to try to manipulate him, if you bring them up any time it’s not absolutely necessary, he will start feeling like you don’t respect him in that area. This applies to showing off areas where you are noticeably stronger than him, too, unless it’s somewhere he feels he doesn’t need to (or can’t) compete, which is generally areas that are not considered masculine, or areas where it is widely acknowledged that special talent is required, like singing.
One of the worst things a wife can do is compare her husband to an ex, whether husband or boyfriend. Doing so is bad even if you are saying that your husband is better in some way. Men understand that they were not necessarily the first person you were with, the first person you loved, but that doesn’t mean they want it brought into their conscious awareness. And if you compare your husband poorly, as in he’s not as good at this or that, then this is multiplied. You are disrespecting him, pointing out his weaknesses, AND reminding him that you were with other men before him. That’s just asking to bring up negative emotions and associate them with you.
No Guilt Trips
It’s a classic, portrayed in uncountable movies and television shows… the wife gives her husband a guilt trip until he does what she wants. Manipulating someone is a bad idea. Clumsily manipulating them is even worse, but manipulating them at all is bad. This has two sides, in that it’s bad for both the person being manipulated and the one doing it.
The person being manipulated, by definition, feels like he is having his power of choice taken from him. If you feel that it’s still completely your choice, then you are not being manipulated. That doesn’t mean that someone isn’t TRYING to do so, but if you still feel like it’s entirely your choice, then they are not succeeding. Now, for someone who DOES feel like their choice is being taken from them, they will resent this strongly. One of the most powerful motivating factors in a human life is the desire to be free, to prove that you can make your own decisions, and that those decisions matter. Messing with this desire is playing with fire… if the person you are manipulating notices it, even later on, after the fact, they will resent it. Since, in this case, we are talking about your spouse, that means that resentment is likely to be there, even if it eventually fades, as a factor when he thinks about you for the rest of your lives together. It may be small, maybe even so small that he’s not consciously aware of it, but it will, none the less, be there.
Manipulating someone is bad for the person doing the manipulation, also. When you attempt to manipulate someone, you attempt to take some of their humanity from them. They will, as mentioned above, resent this, generally resenting even an unsuccessful attempt. But it’s just as bad for the person doing it, especially if they are doing it to their spouse, because it takes away from your concept of the person you’re trying to manipulate as a person, an individual, and instead turns them into more of an object. Objects can be generally counted on to have the same output when given the same input. Thinking of people in this way robs them of their humanity, their power of individual choice, making you respect, and love, them less. Presumably, if you’re reading this article, that’s not exactly what you have in mind.
So there you have it, 8 ways to show your husband that you love him. Some are things to actively do, some are things to actively make sure you DON’T do, but when they are all put together, and included with the things that all people need to feel loved, your husband will know, and feel, that you love him.