My Husband Doesn't Love Me!
For a period of time I had a website about traditional marriage in terms of a Christian union and God's instructions for the married couple (man and woman). The site was doing quite well when I decided, for personal reasons, to remove it from the world wide web, and I always kept track of it, where the majority of hits were coming from and what search terms were bringing in the traffic.
I noticed that the search terms often seemed to reflect "my husband doesn't love me!" or "how can I make my husband love me?" My heart went out to these women who felt so lost and miserable, because I've been there. As a woman, I still frequently question my husband's love.
Many conversations with Christian men and women alike would indicate that this is probably because he just isn't "built for" love the way that I am. Men and women often stumble in the way in which they communicate with one another, and I have found that it is very easy for a man to look upon a woman with a man's understanding and for a woman to look upon a man with a woman's understanding.
I don't have all of the answers, ladies, but I do have some of them, and a good dose of sympathy to go along with them!
Your Marriage has Potential
Exchanging vows and rings isn't a guarantee of a successful marriage. I'm afraid that many men and women enter marriage believing that the vows themselves are enough to hold a marriage together. Granted, if two people take seriously those vows, then they are likely to remain married, but that doesn't mean that the marriage is necessarily "intact." Saying vows is not a guarantee that you are going to be happy in your marriage.
What your vows and your rings do mean is that your marriage has potential. Both individuals within the marriage have potential. You have the potential to succeed or the potential to crash and burn. By putting forth significant effort to make your relationship work, you bend the potential in the direction of a successful marriage.
However you may be feeling at the moment in your marriage, there is potential. You will find that if you put forth an effort towards improving and making your marriage work, that you will change the energy in your home and between yourself and your husband.
Make Him Love Me!
I think that women go through various stages in their relationship when they first begin to see it failing. They start out with "what's wrong with me? Why isn't he being loving towards me?" and progress to "what's wrong with him? Why doesn't he love me?" and finally "God, make him love me!"
For those who can relate to the last of the above statements, please do bear in mind that God doesn't quite work that way. He isn't going to interfere with the free will of the individual. He isn't going to "make" your husband love you. He may soften your husband's heart towards you, and He may open your husband's eyes to your need for affection, but He isn't going to force your husband to do something.
You, likewise, can't "make your husband love you." What you can do is provide the right environment in which he can shine and therefore be a better partner in life and a better lover to you.
Please note that the following is based on the common thinking patterns of men and women. There are, as always, exceptions to the rules!
Don't be too Quick to Judge Your Husband
Many women are too quick to judge their husbands. Unless your marriage is in very serious trouble and communication has broken down beyond repair, your husband would very likely, if asked, tell a stranger that he does love you. He most likely would be telling the truth.
Men and women don't view love in the same way. Women see love as an action: your husband loves you when he takes the time to give you that much-needed back massage, or when he doesn't complain about having to come get you in the rain because you blew a tire.
You can't see his feeling of love: what you are able to see is his loving behavior. So instead of saying that your husband doesn't love you, start by changing your own language: He isn't behaving in a loving manner or I don't feel loved when he does that.
Changing your thinking can go a long way to making you a happier woman in your relationship, and will very likely affect the way that your husband treats you. It will certainly change the way that you feel!
Changing the Environment in Your Home
In this hub, I'm not going to set you off on a frenzy to clean your house. I'm not going to set you to work making an elaborate meal for your husband or put you to work for months to lose a lot of weight. I am also not going to tell you that these things will have no effect in your relationship: they will. In this hub I want to address the key way that women can begin to change the energy in their relationship.
You might be reading this because you have a deep longing to be loved. I can understand that. As a woman, I have that same deep longing. We want it from our parents, from our husbands and from our children. We want to be loved, cherished and cared for (there are exceptions, and different ways women need to be cared for, however).
Most men aren't like that. Your husband isn't likely to fall apart if you don't rush to greet him at the door the moment he comes home from work. He probably isn't going to lose his mind if dinner isn't on the table at exactly the same time every single night. These things aren't going to make him feel unloved.
Your husband may not even be able to put his finger on his own need, but based on biblical tennets, researchers have been able to do so: Your husbandneeds respect.
Before you get all excited, please allow me to sympathize. I know you respect your husband! I know you appreciate him and that you love him! And I know just how crazy it is that he doesn't feel it!
Just like other men "know" how crazy it is that you don't know he loves you.
This is where we're mis-communicating, ladies. You know what your needs are, and he knows what his needs are. Most women assume that their husbands need to be loved the way that they need to be loved and most men assume that women need to be loved in the same way a man needs to be loved.
Sorry, it's just not true.
Now you can wait for him to figure out what you need and start adjusting to your needs. Or you can begin to meet his needs and see what happens. In most cases, if one partner makes a chance for the better, the spouse will follow in the right direction. I will talk a bit more about how to do that in a moment.
Your journey to feeling more loved by your husband is going to begin with you. You could be waiting for forever if you wait for him to get the help that he needs, so it's better if you're willing to be the help that he needs! If you are willing to show your husband respect, you will see a change in the environment in your home.
The change to your marriage almost invariably begins with a more peaceful living environment.
Learning to Respect your Husband
This begins as a very internal process. I recommend getting a pen and paper handy and preparing to do some exercises before you take this to your husband. Depending on how damaged your marriage is, this could take quite a bit of time and effort. It might even produce tears. My experience showed me, however, that it was worth it.
I recommend doing this any time that you find yourself feeling seriously angry and hurt in your relationship with your husband. Eventually it becomes the kind of habit like counting to ten slowly and breathing deeply -- it will help to change your angry feelings into good feelings about your spouse.
So, go ahead and get your pen and paper. Take your time, but do the following.
- Write down three things about your husband that you respect. If you can't think of three right now, that's fine! Just write down one!
- Write down three things about your husband that you admire.
- Write down three things about your husband that you appreciate.
There are other points that are important to your husband, but these three will get you off to a very good start, especially if you are feeling very angry or hurt. For the time being, only you need to really be able to meditate on these things. Thinking about them alone should help to change your attitude towards your husband.
The next part is harder, but it is vital.
Do this, and only this. Don't add anything to it, and do it just as instructed.
Tell your husband I respect you because you ...
Choose a time when you feel that he is receptive, choose one thing about him that you respect, and tell him what it is. Then walk away. Just walk away. Do nothing else. Don't try to engage him in conversation (most men don't want to anyway) and just walk away from him. Let him process the information. And watch his reaction.
You might not get a reaction at first, or at all. If your relationship is very badly damaged or if your husband has lost trust in you, you might get no reaction at all. Don't give up.
Credit for the "respect dare" to Emerson Eggerichs in Love and Respect, which can be purchased at above right.
Female Reader Poll
Do you feel that your husband loves you?
Male Reader Poll
Do you feel that your wife respects you?
Communicating your Needs to your Husband
Communication in a marriage is absolutely essential. If communication breaks down between married persons, the marriage may appear to be doomed to fail. Many people don't know the basics of good communication, and it is very easy for it to break down during a fight.
You have a need to be loved, and your husband may not be meeting it. The truth is that he might either not know how intense your need is or he might not be aware that he isn't meeting it! The key is to respectfully convey your need to him in order to get it met.
Try "XYZ statements."
"When X happens, I feel Y when you Z."
These are also known as "I statements."
The point is that you don't put the person to whom you are speaking "on the spot." You take the pressure off of them by making the statement about you and how you feel. For example, my husband and I have been arguing about which cell phone service we should have. He is arguing that we shouldn't have a cell phone at all, and I feel that we should, but opt for the cheapest plan possible. Because he is the head of our household and makes the decisions, he's put his foot down. I'm feeling frustrated, unheard and unloved. So I say something like this:
"When we're discussing an issue, I feel unheard and unloved when you don't listen to my point of view. Would you please hear what I have to say about why I feel we need a cell phone?"
This very often helps to cool down an argument as well as making the other person more receptive to hearing what you have to say.
It is also worth pointing out that most men will hear the words "would you" as more respectful than "could you" and you should always try to use the grammatically correct words in this case as it will affect the way he hears what you're saying to him!
But I Feel Abused by my Husband!
If you feel abused or are (definitively) being abused by your husband, please seek immediate help! Depending on your situation, marriage counseling might be a good first step, but if your marriage is physically violent, please get out now.