In the heady beginnings of a relationship, we express our love so naturally and so intensely. Yet over the course of our marriages, we may become too preoccupied to shower our husbands with the same tender, loving care that we used to heap upon them.
Demanding careers, a hectic schedule that comes with having children, managing in-laws and other life challenges – all these can derail us. Since our husbands appear to be the most independent and least needy as compared to the children and other people in our lives, we tend to leave them to their own devices.
Years later, we wonder where all the intimacy has gone.
Despite the disappointment and negative emotions that may have developed through the years, it is neither too late to hit the reset button on our relationships nor futile if we make the effort to find out what makes our men feel truly loved and appreciated.
According to Dr Gary Chapman, marriage counsellor and renowned author of The 5 Love Languages, there are 5 main ways or love languages through which people express and receive love and appreciation – words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service or physical touch. He asserts that while each person enjoys all 5 love languages to some degree, there is usually a primary love language for every individual.
Knowing what makes your husband feel loved and appreciated will be worth every effort to revitalise your marriage.
A simple quiz can reveal your husband’s primary love language. Make the effort to do a little of everything and more of what makes him feel most loved, and being more intentional can go a long way in helping our husbands feel loved and appreciated.
Words of Affirmation
We don’t have to wait for our husbands to show grand displays of self-sacrificial love before we lavish them with praise and encouragement. Notice the little things that he does and express your appreciation for it, like leaving the toilet seat down or making you a drink before you go to work, and thank him for how thoughtful he is.
Text him out of the blue just to tell him how much you love him and can’t wait to see him at the end of the day. Letting him know that you’re thinking of him can make him feel deeply loved and appreciated.
Want to go a step further in validating him? Appreciate him for the things that he values most — if he counts it an achievement to drop work to be with the kids, then praise and affirm him for choosing to put the family first.
Want to go a step further in validating him? Appreciate him for the things that he values most.
If your husband enjoys spending time with you, make it a point to plan regular date nights or share a hobby with him. I have found that spending time hunting for the latest cooking apparatus and experimenting in the kitchen with my husband is something that makes him feel most loved.
Quality time may entail going for a weekend getaway, or something more doable like indulging in pillow talk after the kids have gone to sleep every other evening. The key is to find ways to spend time together to show him that he matters to you.
Keep an ear out for what he likes. Take note when he expresses interest in purchasing an item but holds back because he thinks it can wait or that it might be a little too indulgent. Surprise him with these items when you can and watch his face light up, knowing that you have made the effort to find out what he likes.
Acts of Service
Offer to help if you notice that he is too busy to do his regular errands around the house, like laundry. My hubby seems mighty pleased when I make the effort to help him pack his suitcase without being asked when he is preparing for a business trip.
For some of us, helping out with the running of some errands that we know our husbands don’t particularly enjoy can also make them feel incredibly loved and appreciated.
Give him a kiss goodbye when you part ways to get to the office. Greet him with a warm, tight embrace that expresses how glad you are to see him. Brush against him as you join him in the kitchen. Be physically intimate regularly. Just enjoying your skin on his can bring your husband much joy.
Make the effort to find out what makes your husband feel most loved, and set out to show him a little love and appreciation every day; and watch your marriage strengthen further as each year passes.
© 2017 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
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