16th September, 2011
It is so interesting to discover that what one person calls love could be totally different from what another may consider. One challenging situation that has not failed to occur in marriage is when a husband/wife feels unloved. First of all, you ask yourself â€œare these not the same people who held hands and exchanged vows never to part?â€
The one that baffles me most is when this experience comes right at the early stage of the relationship. Rose, a young woman married for less than a year lamented to me â€œI made a wrong choice; my decision to marry Gary seems to be one foolish thing Iâ€™ve done to myself. We had a good courtship and anyone who saw us then would think we were the best match in town. Gary seemed to do everything I asked and following his suggestions was never a problem for me neither. Now that we have come to live as husband and wife, things do not work that way pretty much and we both appear to be demanding something more than what the other can offer. The more we desire to be loved the farther the reality; we canâ€™t stop thinking if we were swaps or the original hearts once knitted in love.
Anyway, time and events has pushed us to say bye before the worst happensâ€. Immediately she finished speaking, I asked her a sincere question that made her cry for more than twenty minutes â€”Do you really love Gary? She mumbled a yes and that was all I needed to work with. Now you may ask; if she loved him, why do they want to part? My answer is; most people ask for divorce because they no longer feel loved or appreciated in the relationship. Although you may want to say there are so many reasons people call it off but take it from me that anyone who is assured of his/her spouseâ€™s love and support can overcome any kind of pressure. A friend of mine said she wanted to leave her marriage because in-laws were making life a living hell for her. I told her that was not true; if her husband was ready to stand with her in the face of all the troubles, in-laws would not have had much strength to defeat her. If your spouse is not firm and ready to defend you, you are already gone.
A daughter who agrees for her mum to turn her husband to an errand boy is only killing his love for her. If the man gets tired tomorrow and decides to leave the commanding mother-in-law and her daughter, it is totally the wifeâ€™s fault. She would have been in a better position to save her marriage by telling the mum to take it easy on her husband. Itâ€™s good to help parents but everything should be done in moderation and respect. Now back to Rose, she felt the husband had stop loving her and as such there was no need to waste time answering his wife. This of course was not true! No one stopped loving the other, they only needed to learn what kind of actions or words convey the message of love most to them. They gave it a try and it worked wonders. Learn to love people on their own terms.
This is one of the hardest discoveries to make in relationships and once it is gotten right, a smooth ride is steaming at the corner waiting to take off to a destination called â€˜marital blissâ€™. In most cases, this has to do with understanding the personality of your spouse, upbringing, values and past experiences which would have affected and conditioned life. Failure to explore this vital aspect of living together is what has landed many homes in split. You need to know what kind of things bring succour to your spouse and learn to do them when needed â€”that is their love angle. If your wife is someone who grew up in a home where her dad was very active and helpful in domestic matters, she might tend to consider that â€˜loveâ€™ and expect her man to help around the home with chores. I read a comment of one concerned husband somewhere â€œIf I knew that taking out the garbage would communicate love to my wife, I would have been taking it out twice a dayâ€. Can you imagine that? As long as the husband did not help around the home, the wife felt he didnâ€™t love her; for her, it is the case of â€˜if you love me, help meâ€™. Surprisingly, this woman would spend her days complaining that her husband does not love her despite all the other things he tries to do to make her happy. Can you fathom the level of frustration that would wreck a marriage if the husband came from a home where the parents, especially the dad showed love to his wife in a totally different way? Yes, let me help you work it out; the wife would be expecting him to show love by helping while the man, for instance would be spending a fortune on gifts trying to make her understand he could only spend this substantial amount on someone he truly adores. The outcome will not be far from disappointment, someone would be feeling not being appreciated or in very extreme cases, accusing the other of having another relationship elsewhere.
In all of this, we need to learn how to â€˜hit the nail on the headâ€™-giving our spouses what would make them feel special; at least to us. I remember in our early days of marriage, I would wonder if my husband loved me at all. I grew up as a cuddly child with lots of love from my parents and siblings. Being the baby of the house, everyone gave extra attention to my presence; receiving hugs and cuddles became a treasured routine. My husband on the other hand, would buy me expensive things and shower me with gifts each time he noticed I was not looking happy. This was not my idea of love at all I would wish and pray; Oh God please teach this guy that holding me in his arms means the world to me. I didnâ€™t feel good about talking to him on the issue so I suffered in silence until one day, he got it right and once it happened, he knew he had just performed a miracle that turned his marriage on the right path.
A man who longs for words of appreciation from his wife feels so unaccomplished without it. He wants to hear how heâ€™s been the provider, cover and role model for his children â€“ so why not tell him loud and save yourself the stress?
Today, I know better and would not want others to wait for so long before enjoying marriage so I advice them to talk about their love need. Donâ€™t be ashamed of telling him/her what you think makes you feel loved; after all you both have agreed to be there for each other. Good communication remains one of the enduring strings that hold marriage.