1. Remember that you not only love your spouse, but you like them, too. Remember when you could sit and talk for hours on the phone or in the car? You have things in common; some parts of your personality are similar to theirs. Engage in conversation about anything deeper than the normal, superficial “how are you?” The typical response to that is “fine.” Let your spouse know that you are genuinely interested in them and their thoughts and feelings.
2. Do things together that you used to like doing, like watching your favorite sitcom, taking evening walks, working outside, going to the park, or eating out. The bottom line is: you can be in love with someone, but you’re marriage is only going to last if you remember all the reasons why you actually like that person. Loving is easy; liking goes beyond feelings and involves the mind, personality, and emotions. If you don’t like someone, then you’ll never be close because you’ll never connect. You won’t be able to engage in deep & interesting conversations and stimulate each other’s minds for years to come. And you won’t have anything fun to do together. So remember why you liked your spouse when you were dating!
And if you think they have changed and you realize that you don’t like your spouse, take time to examine their lives, hearts, character, and opinions. Chances are, you’ll be able to create a long list of things that you like about your spouse. And that will help you re-connect.
3. Realize that the one thing you want from your spouse may be different than the one thing they want most from you. For example, it is common knowledge that men crave the respect of their wives more than anything else, and that women desperately need to know that their husbands love them. If either of these is thrown into doubt, even for an instant, it can wreak havoc on the person’s state of mind, and will cause a gap in your marriage.
Your husband needs to know that you respect him. He believes that if he feels respected by you, then he automatically feels loved. Feeling respect is the gateway to how men perceive love.
Wives, on the other hand, desperately need to be convinced of their husband’s love. If they doubt that fact, they will be confused, anxious, over-analyzing, suspicious, and ultimately devastated. Women tend to personalize and internalize everything, so if the woman doesn’t feel loved, she’ll assume that her husband must not love her and that she is somehow the source of the problem. When a woman feels loved by her husband, she automatically feels respected. There’s no question about it for her, because everything else easily falls into place as soon as she feels secure in her husband’s love.
4. So now you realize that men & women want and need different things from each other. Take action! Find out how your husband most wants to know & feel respected, then do it! For example, if you merely say, “Honey, I really respect you,” and your husband still doesn’t really feel respected, what did you do wrong? Perhaps you simply missed his pressure points. Perhaps what he really needs is for you to let him make a decision in front of your or his friends. Or trust him to take care of something and not nag him about it. Perhaps he wants more respectful “actions” from you, rather than just words. Find out which he responds to best!
All you husbands out there! Does your wife ask you all the time, “do you really love me?” Or some version? Or do you see the question in her eyes, always nagging at her? Why can’t she quit worrying if you love her or not? Of course you love her; you married her and you provide for her!
But your wife may simply need you to show her or tell her that you love her in a different way. Instead of words, maybe she really loves it when you hug her and touch her face. Or maybe she really feels your love when you do something around the house without having to be asked. Explore the different ways that your wife wants to feel & hear your love. You won’t be disappointed!
5. Pursue your spouse. This means not waiting for them to make the first move to apologize after a squabble. This means going that extra mile to do something nice for them, like filling their gas tank, without any thought of acknowledgment or gratitude. Remember when you were dating and you did all those sweet and wonderful things for each other? You made her handmade things, you bought him stuff, you went fun places just to be alone? What happened? What made you think that she stopped liking those things? Why do you think that he no longer wants to go to all those fun places?
Do nice things for your spouse, and don’t wait for them to make the first move, even if you feel like you’ve been the only one trying. Sooner or later, your spouse is going to recognize the difference in you and will begin to appreciate all the sacrifices that you’re making for them. Keep your chin up and keep going!