Have you ever experienced a point in your marriage where you get into an apocalyptic battle a civil discussion with your spouse about how you are being treated like a slave are not feeling appreciated?
How did that work for you? Did you gain insight and perspective, or did one or both of you just ultimately walk away from the conversation with more hurt feelings and without any real resolution?
Some time ago my hubbie and I learned a better way to handle these situations, and it usually results in an amicable and interesting discussion, along with a deeper understanding of ourselves and an improvement in our relationship.
I offer it to you, dear readers, to use as well. It is a very simple question, and it is phrased like this: “What do I do that shows you I love you?”
This can be asked in a quiet moment, prefaced by something like “I’m curious. I’ve been thinking about the things that I do or could do that show you I love you, and I wonder if you could share with me something I do that shows you I love you.
Be prepared, ladies. Ask this question with no preconceptions about how your man will answer. He is probably not going to say that he feels extra, extra special when you nag him endlessly to take out the trash, and he may not answer with the ONE THING that you are sure makes his heart sing. This is NOT your cue to pounce on him like a tiger on wounded prey because he didn’t mention the hours you slave over his lunches/laundry/etc. The whole purpose of this is to get HIS point of view, what it is that really makes him feel respected and loved. (I mention respect, because with men that is usually inextricably tied to how deeply they feel loved. If there is a lack of respect, oftentimes it means they do not feel as important to you or as loved by you.)
He may need some time to think about this, especially if he feels that you really aren’t looking for his answer, if he believes he just needs to figure out the “right” answer. If he has felt ambushed in the past, he will be a very hesitant participant. After all, he has learned there is a very fine line between his beloved being happy as opposed to being a harpy.
Take the opportunity to share with him as well. Let him know something he does that shows you he loves you. Remember ladies: it is what we pay attention to in our relationships that flourishes. Focus on the positive aspects of the incredibly special man that your husband is, and you will be delighted by the results.