It’s important to step back sometimes and ask, “How do I show my love to my spouse?” Then it’s equally important to ask, “When I do those things, does my spouse feel loved?” Sometimes there’s a big difference in what people to do show love and what makes their spouse feel loved.
What Shows Love?
Love is a feeling that is often defined by the behaviors someone exhibits. So what behaviors do you use to show your spouse your love? And what behaviors make you feel loved by your spouse? There are a lot of differences in opinions about what shows love. And often, people aren’t sure what makes their spouse feel loved or even what makes them feel loved.
So take some time to think about when you feel most loved. What is it that your spouse does that really melts your heart? Is it when you get a gift? Or when your spouse does a chore for you? Or maybe when you are physically affectionate?
Then think about what you do to make your spouse feel loved. Do you use your words? Do you spend quality time together? How do you know these things make your spouse feel loved? If you are like many people, you just assumed your spouse felt loved when you did these things. However, this may not be the case.
Examples of Differences in What Makes People Feel Loved
Ben and Alyssa had been married for ten years. Ben worked as a sales manager and Alyssa was a stay-at-home mother to their two children. Both of them reported having a fairly good marriage overall. However, they both worked hard and sometimes felt neglected by their mate.
Ben sometimes brought flowers home to Alyssa. He occasionally brought other gifts as well. He thought that these tokens of appreciation would certainly make her feel loved. He took time to pick out each gift to make sure that she would like it.
However, Alyssa felt like he made plenty of money and spending a few dollars on gifts was nice, but didn’t make her feel all that loved. After all, she figured it was “their” money anyway that he was spending it didn’t really lighten the burden on her.
Instead, she wished he would simply tell her to relax when he got home from work. If he’d do the dishes while she got time to herself, she would be delighted. She would love an opportunity to visit with friends, even if it was just once a month. Those things would make her feel loved.
Alyssa often put her heart into trying to make sure Ben feel loved. She often took extra time to cook his favorite meals. She supported his hobbies and often sacrificed doing things she liked to make sure he could do the things he wanted.
Ben acknowledged the things Alyssa did for him, but what he really wanted was more physical affection. He didn’t even necessarily mean that he needed sex, but instead wanted to cuddle on the couch or hold hands. Instead of cooking in the kitchen when he got home, he wanted Alyssa to greet him with a hug and kiss.
Communicate About Your Differences
The above example shows how important it is to communicate about your differences. Tell your spouse what you need in order to feel loved. Ask your spouse what you can do to show your love as well.
You may be surprised to find that some of the things you are doing aren’t making your spouse feel all that loved. Work on changing your behaviors to try and meet your spouse’s needs.
Tell your spouse what else you need. Be appreciative of the things your spouse does for you and show gratitude. However, it’s important to be clear about what needs are not being met as well.
Sometimes people feel like giving everything they can to their partner without getting their own needs met shows their love. However, this often causes people to feel like a martyr and they can grow resentful over time.
Give your spouse an opportunity to show you love by sharing what behaviors would make you feel loved. Talk openly and honestly about what would make you happen and ask in a direct, polite manner.
Seeking Professional Help
If you are having difficulty communicating your needs or you aren’t sure how to show your love, consider professional help. If you aren’t feeling all that loved either, counseling can help you and your spouse learn more about how to give and receive love.