Helping her to know, believe, and feel.
Yesterday I asked you if your bride knows, believes, and feels that you love her. I then said, “If she can’t answer a strong ‘YES’ to all three of those, what do you need to do to change that?”
I suspect some of you immediately thought, “Why is it my responsibility?” That is a great question, and the short answer is it might not be your responsibility. If she has self-worth issues, or other self-limiting or self-destructive thoughts, it may well be that nothing you do or say can lead to her feeling you love her. If it’s really bad, she may not be able to know or believe you love her, even though your words and actions show you do. This does not, however, let you off the hook; you need to do all you can, and keep doing it, even if she can’t yet respond normally.
Loving your wife and effectively expressing that love are two very different things. You can love her a great deal, but be horrible at communicating/showing that love in a way that she can grasp. There are a number of potential communication gaps here, starting with her being female and you being male. The two of you use the same words, but you have slightly (or not so slightly) different definitions or shades of meaning for some of those words. Certain actions probably also have different meanings – walking hand in hand may mean more to her than to you, and sex probably does not make her feel loved the way it makes you feel loved.
Family of origin is another big factor because different families show love in different ways. In one family sarcasm is a way of saying ‘I think you are stupid’ while in another it is a loving way of playing. Just because something says love to your family does not mean it says love to your wife.
Another common problem is that there are different “love languages”. Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages is an absolute necessity for any couple – it will help you understand how each of you feels loved, and teach you how to love in a way that your spouse can feel. If you only own one “marriage book”, I suggest this be it!
If you are not 100% sure your wife feels loved, you need to find out. Start by asking your bride is she knows, believes, and feels that you love her. Then ask her what you do, or could do, that makes her feel loved. Never mind that some (or most, or all) of what she says makes no sense to you – it’s how she works, and if you want her to feel loved, you have to figure out how she works. Once you have a clue, start doing what makes her feel loved.