Guys, if you think things are going fine in your marriage, but you hear your wife asking perplexing questions like, “Do you really love me?” or “What happened to the romance?” see her questions as red flashing warning lights. They are alerting you to something you need to take seriously. (Thankfully, based on years of research into how women think, those issues are also fairly simple to address, which we will outline in Part 2!)
I heard this example recently… does it ring any bells for you? Dave was very content in his new marriage. From his perspective, the chase was over, the conquest complete. The stress of wooing Monica and planning a wedding was behind them and a lifetime of companionship was in front of them. He loved coming home to his wife each night after work, making progress on various home improvement projects, having dinner together, and – especially — going to bed together. Life was good.
But nine months later, he was stunned when in the middle of a normal dinner, tears started leaking down Monica’s cheeks as she described feeling “lonely.” Dave was tempted to chalk it up to “that time of the month,” until she reminded him that it wasn’t. Until he remembered that several times she had said perplexing things like, “It’s as if you care more about DIY projects than about me” and “It’s like I’m only here for food and sex.” Those phrases made no sense to him, so he had brushed them off.
But Dave loved his wife, and he wondered: what if she really isn’t as happy as I am?
Guys, we know you want to make your wife happy. It is a huge motivator for you. But here’s a key truth: the things that make you happy are probably not the same things that make your wife happy.
You are thrilled with togetherness and sex. For your wife, those are good things – but what she most needs is to connect with you in actual conversation and to be reassured of your love each day.
In talking with Monica, here’s what I heard: after the emotional high of the wedding, their life together had settled into days of work, evenings of chores and home projects, and weekends of errands and more home projects. She felt like she rarely saw the guy who used to love having her come with him to Home Depot, just to wander the aisles and pick out the right hardware for the kitchen cabinets. Now Dave would come home, disappear into whatever corner of their fixer-upper he was working on, and only reappear for dinner and bedtime. What happened to the guy who took her on her first balloon ride, made sure they went out to do something together at least once a week, and called her during his lunch break just to say hi?
In talking to Dave, what I heard was, “But… well… we’re married now!” In his mind, those phone calls or weekly evenings out were no longer needed, because his wife knew how much he loved her. Because they were married.
Guys, here’s the big surprise for most men: getting married doesn’t miraculously make your wife feel permanently loved. Instead, she needs your attention every day.
It turns out that even the most confident women have a hidden vulnerability that wonders “Am I loveable?” And in marriage that doesn’t go away. It simply morphs to “am I loveable… and does he really love me?” In our research 82% of women had that question. So I can assure you: Your wife is probably asking that question every day. And every day you are answering it either “yes” or “no.”
So how do you answer it well? Part 2 outlines that. But the key point is: after you’re married, pay attention to her just like you did when you were hoping to make her your bride. You don’t need all the candlelight dinners and over-the-top efforts, but in the simple day to day things, keep dating your wife!
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Shaunti Feldhahn loves sharing eye-opening information that helps people thrive in life and relationships. She herself started out with a Harvard graduate degree and Wall Street credentials but no clue about life. After an unexpected shift into relationship research for average people like her, she now is a popular speaker and author of best-selling books about men, women and relationships. (Including For Women Only, For Men Only, and the groundbreaking The Good News About Marriage).
Her latest book, Find Rest: A Women’s Devotional for Lasting Peace in Busy Life, focuses on a journey to rest even with life’s constant demands.
Visit www.shaunti.com for more.