You should know what I need

Man Kissing Woman Smiling

If there is anything I have learned from my marriage so far, it is that affirmation is key. You may be one of those people who have fallen into that all too common trap in your marriage where you expect your spouse to just know that you love them. After all, you still come home to them every night, right? But even housemates who don’t have a close relationship with each other can return home to the same building each day…

I remember having a conversation with my husband, and at one point the words “but you know how I feel” left his lips. It was then that I realised two things: it’s not enough to rely on the other person knowing how you feel, and it’s important to actually voice your needs and not just expect your spouse to read your mind. This can be extremely hard to do, especially as a woman, because it seems like there is something in us that is often wired to expect results without saying a word! Of course on both sides, we should have a level of awareness of our partner’s love language/s and aim to be intentional about filling their “love tank”, but we also shouldn’t be afraid to highlight the very things that we feel we may need but are not currently experiencing.

As a child I was always taught “if you don’t ask, you don’t get!” You may not have realised it then, but this most definitely applies to your marriage now…

What about if you ask but you still don’t get? This usually points to a deeper issue that your spouse is most likely dealing with. Don’t give up on them, but instead try and find ways to explore this issue in more detail to find the root cause. Why does it seem like they no longer pay you attention like they used to? Why does it seem like there is less of a desire to spend quality time together? What is causing your spouse to pull away from you rather than open up to you about any challenges they may be facing?

Being intentional about those little things is the secret sauce behind those marriages that still thrive decades down the line.

Such as showing genuine appreciation for that home-cooked meal and not just expecting it on your plate, or reminding your partner how attractive they are to you and not just seeing them as a means to an end in satisfying your sexual frustration.

Just as it is important for your spouse to tell you why they love you, it is also crucial for you to learn how to affirm yourself too. So many of us miss this, and it’s only something that I’ve been able to focus on more recently in my marriage. Some husbands/wives place so much pressure on the person they married to be that source of affirmation and feed their self-esteem. I share more about this in my book “Failing in Love”, and offer advice on how to learn to love you too, despite your past experiences. It’s all well and good when our spouse is taking the time to show us that we are loved, until they have an “off day”… what do you have left behind when so much of you is wrapped up in what this person is offering you?

Let me reiterate that I’m not saying that the way your spouse affirms you isn’t important, but the way that you affirm you is just as important.

Without even thinking, sometimes my inner voice can be so negative! It’s taken a while for me to get to the point where I can catch myself out and tell myself otherwise. This voice is based on so many things I have experienced throughout my life, and if you have never learned how to talk kindly to yourself then is it any surprise when you feel a sense of loss and maybe even abandonment when your spouse isn’t as attentive as you would like.

There was a particular day when my husband came to me and told me that he was in need of more words of affirmation from me. I actually admired his ability to say this, especially as he was going through a particularly challenging time. Men especially seem to struggle with expressing their needs, as women are usually the more emotive person in the marriage. Where possible, I would encourage every wife to try her best to create a space where her husband can be truly vulnerable. With encouragement and support, any underlying issues will eventually surface.

If as a husband you don’t make much time for your wife, then this is also something that you can initiate to help create a mutual safe space where you both can share. More often than not, women will be more inclined to share as it’s easier to lead with our emotions, but in supporting your wife then she will also be able to better support you on your journey.

This entire journey of marriage should be a constant experience of trying to “out-give” each other. Where one does all the taking, both still end up losing.

Next time you see your husband/wife, think about why you married them… What was it that attracted you to them in the first place? Marriage is a journey, and the person you are married to now most definitely won’t be the exact same person that you married then, but that’s okay! Unless they are nothing like the person you have married and have changed for the worse, you should be grateful for the journey you are on together and for the shared life experiences that have only helped you to grow into the people who you are today.

Even the “worse” experiences can ultimately lead to an even better version of your marriage, if only you are willing to go through those uncomfortable changes and invest in what you have for the sake of your future. If something truly matters to you, you will show it. You don’t have to question how much someone loves going to the gym or investing time in building their business – their actions alone will show their level of commitment.

If someone truly matters to you, it should be your priority to love them out loud while you can…

YOUR THOUGHTS

When was the last time you told your spouse why you loved them? Schedule in some quality time, and you can include the following sentences to help refresh your marriage with some affirmations:

  1. The day I married you, you made me feel…
  2. As my husband/wife, you make me feel…
  3. When I wake up next to you, you make me feel…
  4. As the father/mother of our child/ren, you make me feel…
  5. When I see you naked, you make me feel…

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