What satisfies your wife’s need for love and affection won’t always be the same. As your relationship grows and matures, her needs will change as well. You can’t just rest on your laurels; it’s a continual and progressive pursuit. That said, how do we know if our wives feel pursued and loved by us? Your guess is as good as mine. I think that’s why Peter says, “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7, emphasis added). He knows we may never understand, but God holds us accountable to try.
Gary Chapman, author of the classic relationship book The Five Love Languages, is one of the best marriage coaches out there. He says if you want to discover what nourishes your wife’s heart, listen to her irritations: “My spouse’s criticisms about my behavior provide me with the clearest clue to her primary love language. People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.” In other words, turn criticisms into clues. Chapman adds that “criticism often needs clarification.” After a tirade you might want to ask her, “It sounds like that is extremely important to you. Could you explain why it is so crucial?” Next time you notice your wife’s evil eyes, start taking notes. After you get over your hurt feelings, you’ll see a grocery list of nourishing things you can do and say to feed your wife’s heart. Man, I wish someone would have dropped me this clue on my wedding day!
Not long ago, I asked some friends’ wives when they felt most loved by their husbands. Here are some of their responses:
Did you notice how different the answers are? (That last one is from Jen. I’m betting if you bought your wife a pot for Christmas, she’d use it as a weapon. But Jen’s passion is cooking. She felt loved because I fueled that passion.) Guys, the playbook is not hard to find on this one. You can either take notes from your wife’s rants, or you can just ask her what she likes. You will get the results either way, but one way is far less painful. If you have the guts, you can simply ask her a very risky question: “Honey, do you feel the depth of my love?” (Not, “Do you know I love you?” but, “Do you feel it?”) If she says no, ask her, “How can I help you feel my love for you?” Then be ready to take some notes!
Adapted from Playing Hurt, by Brian Goins.
Copyright © 2012 Brian Goins, Published by Kregal Publications. Used by permission.