[dropcap]I[/dropcap] love my husband and I know he loves me, but he does not tell me “I love you” as much as I love him to. He believes saying it once a day should cover for the whole day. Am I being petty or simply saying what I am entitled to?
Some people express love primarily through words; others don’t. Since you know your husband loves you, evidently he conveys love some other way. Let him communicate love through his “love language,” whatever it is. And be satisfied.
Does he do things for you, such as open doors, take out the trash, or work his tail off five days a week? That is one of his ways of saying “I love you.”
Does he enjoy your company? Is he content to sit beside you and watch a TV show or listen to you talk about your day? That says “I love you” as well.
Does he touch you affectionately? Are you the delight of his eyes? Does he long to make love to you, to please you in the bedroom? That is yet another way of saying “I love you.”
Most of us end up getting married to someone who conveys love differently than we do. As Pastor Gary Chapman points out in his well-known book, The Five Love Languages, all of us have a preferred way of receiving love. Chapman details five ways: words of affirmation; receiving gifts; quality time; acts of service; and physical touch. Naturally, the way we prefer to receive love is usually the way we display it. Part of maturing as a couple, however, is understanding how your spouse shows love and receiving it with gratitude, instead of demanding that he love exactly the way you do.
At the same time, because the Scriptures tell us that a husband and wife are rightly concerned with pleasing each other (1 Corinthians 7:33-34), a wise husband and a wise wife will study their spouse, trying to understand what especially pleases them. Then, as an act of love and submission, he or she will seek to provide that–assuming it is a godly thing.
Have you talked to your husband about this in a calm, loving way, without making demands? So many things can be cleared up simply through kind communication: “A gentle tongue can break a bone” (Proverbs: 22:4).
Mrs. Happy has sadly ministered to couples who refuse to provide love in a way their spouse can receive it. She recalls one time when a couple came up for prayer, and the wife carried on and on about how spiritual she was, and how she and her husband needed to grow in their faith together, blah blah blah. And the husband stood there silent, looking down and looking sad, not daring to say what was on his heart. The Holy Spirit directed Mrs. Happy to the real issue, and it wasn’t deep. He just wanted to have sex once in a while. Far from being spiritual, this wife was profoundly self-centered.
Study your husband. Study your wife. Seek to please them, and by doing so you will honor God and eventually please yourself—because we reap what we sow.
That said, Mrs. Happy recognizes that there is a longing in every truly close, godly relationship that is never quite fulfilled. We reach for the other person, but we never fully grasp. We desire to be loved, but it is never enough to provide lasting satisfaction.
That is because, ultimately, only God can love us in a way that fills and satisfies forever. My prayer is that you allow God to hold your heart secure in His hands (Psalm 112:7-8), and that you reach out from that place of security and love your husband fearlessly and receive his love gratefully.
Mrs. Happy has been married to one man for a long time.