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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my husband and I have been married 12 years (and have four kids). I think we both agree we have a good supportive marriage, open communication, good sex life, etc. But all through our marriage about every six months I have somewhat of "breakdown" where I'm in tears or near tears because I feel that he almost never expresses his love, affection, attraction, gratitude, etc towards me. Then he always apologizes and says he wants to be better, he tries for about a week and then it goes back to normal.
So a few months ago we read the Love Lauguages book, and we both really liked it. Low and behold Words of Affirmation and Quality Time are my highest scoring love laungages, so no wonder I need words of affirmation. I always worried it made me insecure that I need those words (which I'm not) but it's helpful to know that's just how I understand love. My husband understood this much more and I was hopeful he would finally understand words and expression are important for me to feel loved. But here we are a couple months later and back to hardly any expression again.
Case in point: last weekend we went on a getaway, just the two of us, four days away from the kids. We had such a great time! But not once did he tell me he thought I looked pretty (or anything about my appearance) not once did he say "I love you" (except the time I said it first) not once did he express he was really enjoying his time with me (although I did many times). Yes it was obvious we both were having fun but when he says he's enjoying himself it's never about me, just him (if that makes sense). I tried not to take it personally (as always) and didn't let it effect our trip, but thinking back to it now i can't help that it makes me feel bad, and a bit discouraged. I don't want to sound shallow but I put effort into dressing nicely, staying fit, basically try to look attractive for him but he never acknowledges it (although when I say this he says he does notice but he doesn't think he needs to say anything because it's obvious to everyone I'm beautiful, so why should he say it?). This means nothing to me- I don't care if others think I'm beautiful, just him. He also says it's hard for him to express these things. I get it, and also understand he came from a negative family who never comlimented each other. But after 12 years?! It's hard for me to feel loved when he never expresses these things to me. He says he thinks them and notices, but that's hard to believe. Why wouldn't he just say it when I have told him so many times I need it?
So I guess my question is, why can't he say these things to me? I'm really feeling like and wondering if he just doesn't think them at all, which makes me feel really insecure in our relationship. It makes me feel like we are good friends/roommates who joke around a lot and are raising kids together and have a good sex life. But it's like it takes all the love and affection out of it. I've told him I'm not asking for a lot - I've literally told him if he would just compliment me on my appearance like once a week, tell me he's grateful for me and that he loves me that would be enough. I'm not asking for constant praise. Just a little bit to "fill my love tank" as Dr Chapman says. So it makes me feel like either he doesn't really think these things, or he's too self obsorbed to notice and think to say anything, or that he really doesn't care. Or that maybe he really doesn't find me attractive anymore? Or have passion for me? What should I think? Is there anything I can do to help the situation? I try giving him compliments and things to encourage him to hoping he'll do it in return but after a few times it feels weird when you aren't getting anything in return, and I know I've become more closed this way over the years. Anyway, any ideas, suggestions, insights? Thanks.
 

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So my husband and I have been married 12 years (and have four kids). I think we both agree we have a good supportive marriage, open communication, good sex life, etc. But all through our marriage about every six months I have somewhat of "breakdown" where I'm in tears or near tears because I feel that he almost never expresses his love, affection, attraction, gratitude, etc towards me. Then he always apologizes and says he wants to be better, he tries for about a week and then it goes back to normal.
So a few months ago we read the Love Lauguages book, and we both really liked it. Low and behold Words of Affirmation and Quality Time are my highest scoring love laungages, so no wonder I need words of affirmation. I always worried it made me insecure that I need those words (which I'm not) but it's helpful to know that's just how I understand love. My husband understood this much more and I was hopeful he would finally understand words and expression are important for me to feel loved. But here we are a couple months later and back to hardly any expression again.
Case in point: last weekend we went on a getaway, just the two of us, four days away from the kids. We had such a great time! But not once did he tell me he thought I looked pretty (or anything about my appearance) not once did he say "I love you" (except the time I said it first) not once did he express he was really enjoying his time with me (although I did many times). Yes it was obvious we both were having fun but when he says he's enjoying himself it's never about me, just him (if that makes sense). I tried not to take it personally (as always) and didn't let it effect our trip, but thinking back to it now i can't help that it makes me feel bad, and a bit discouraged. I don't want to sound shallow but I put effort into dressing nicely, staying fit, basically try to look attractive for him but he never acknowledges it (although when I say this he says he does notice but he doesn't think he needs to say anything because it's obvious to everyone I'm beautiful, so why should he say it?). This means nothing to me- I don't care if others think I'm beautiful, just him. He also says it's hard for him to express these things. I get it, and also understand he came from a negative family who never comlimented each other. But after 12 years?! It's hard for me to feel loved when he never expresses these things to me. He says he thinks them and notices, but that's hard to believe. Why wouldn't he just say it when I have told him so many times I need it?
So I guess my question is, why can't he say these things to me? I'm really feeling like and wondering if he just doesn't think them at all, which makes me feel really insecure in our relationship. It makes me feel like we are good friends/roommates who joke around a lot and are raising kids together and have a good sex life. But it's like it takes all the love and affection out of it. I've told him I'm not asking for a lot - I've literally told him if he would just compliment me on my appearance like once a week, tell me he's grateful for me and that he loves me that would be enough. I'm not asking for constant praise. Just a little bit to "fill my love tank" as Dr Chapman says. So it makes me feel like either he doesn't really think these things, or he's too self obsorbed to notice and think to say anything, or that he really doesn't care. Or that maybe he really doesn't find me attractive anymore? Or have passion for me? What should I think? Is there anything I can do to help the situation? I try giving him compliments and things to encourage him to hoping he'll do it in return but after a few times it feels weird when you aren't getting anything in return, and I know I've become more closed this way over the years. Anyway, any ideas, suggestions, insights? Thanks.
You have to tell him that words of affirmation and quality time are like the air you breathe and without them you become wilted. Tell him how would he feel if you started withholding sex (Im sure that was high on his list) how would he feel. If still no response, then show him. Whatever his top needs are stop meeting them. I am a believer in demonstrating in this regard, talking rarely works. Give fair warning then follow through.

It is well known that women are more readily willing to be fully present when it comes to pleasing their Hs sexually if their needs are being met. However, in your case, it seems his needs are already being met so why bother to change, there are no consequences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. That's a good point. I think I might point out to him (his love language is acts of service) "how would you feel if I only made dinner like once a month, or we only had sex that often" (which is about as often as he ever expresses anything to me. "Would you feel loved?" The funny thing to me is it seems the things I do for him take a lot more time and effort. I even told him if he would just send me nice texts or leave me notes once in a while if it's hard for him to verbally express, that would be enough. But still he doesn't. Maybe once or twice and it stops. I get paranoid thinking if it takes so much effort maybe he really doesn't think these things.
 

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Good follow up books for the Love Languages book are "Love Busters" and "His Needs, Her Needs". (see link in my signature block below)

The books talk about the idea of a love bank, when a person needs their spouses needs, they are filling up the love bank. When do not meets their needs and/or do love busters, it takes "coins" out of the love bank. It takes a lot of good deeds to make up for one bad deed (or one not meeting someone's needs).

What you are really saying when you say that words of affirmation and time together are your needs, is that you need non-sexual intimacy. That's very common for a woman, most women will slowly lose their love for your spouse if there is little to no non-sexual intimacy in the relationship.

Without non-sexual intimacy, most women will get to the point where they do not want sex with their husband.
 

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Thanks. That's a good point. I think I might point out to him (his love language is acts of service) "how would you feel if I only made dinner like once a month, or we only had sex that often" (which is about as often as he ever expresses anything to me. "Would you feel loved?" The funny thing to me is it seems the things I do for him take a lot more time and effort. I even told him if he would just send me nice texts or leave me notes once in a while if it's hard for him to verbally express, that would be enough. But still he doesn't. Maybe once or twice and it stops. I get paranoid thinking if it takes so much effort maybe he really doesn't think these things.
I hear you. My wife and I didn't learn abut love languages until 40 years of marriage. My wife still doesn't fully understand it. I get it. You H probably doesn't get it.

My advice is not to threaten him (how would you feel...) You will be better off teaching him and when he does things right positively reinforcing his good behavior.

Have him reread the book with you and discuss the book together. Figure out love language games/exercises that the two of you can do together. Start by exploring the love language neither of you shares. Then do one love language a week. Maybe ask him what he feels the ultimate act of service a wife could do to please her husband. Ask him to tell you his top 3 acts of service that make him feel loved and cherished. Ask him the top 3 ways he likes to show you through acts of service that he loves and cherishes you.

This is about both of you understanding what the other does and needs.

My wife is acts of service & QT. To her making me a hot meal for dinner is her ultimate "I love you." I could care less. I did all kinds of housework as acts of service and it made her feel nothing. One morning, I got up early, went downstairs and made myself coffee. I brought the pot upstairs and two cups. I wanted to relax in bed and drink coffee. My wife loved that I brought her coffee in bed. It was the act of service she had been needing to feel loved. We talked in bed so she got her quality time. She was in heaven. We do that now almost every morning.

Later I learned that if I acted as her sous chief while she ran dinner she could produce even fancier dinners that made her feel even better about showing me how much she loved me. After dinner I bring her a glass of wine while I do the dishes, then we talk and share our day.

Now each day she starts and ends the day feeling loved and cherished in her love languages. She is very happy and works hard to keep me happy, but she still doesn't really understand love languages. She is better at it but still not close to fluent.

Good luck, give it time and increase your ability to speak the LL's of your H.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks. I really appreciate your perspective. We actually listened to the book separately (audible) but at the same time and discussed it as we went, but I agree if we read it together we would probably get more out of it in ways we can really work on it together. It's funny you would mention the acts of service things because before we read the book when my husband would all the sudden vacuum the living room or step in and help with dinner, I would appreciate it but sometimes also wonder if he was trying to tell me I wasn't doing those things good enough or bothered they weren't done. After reading the book he explained to me it was his way of expressing love. I told him while I appreciated it, without him saying the words "I want to vacuuun the living room to help you because you do so much" I would be unsure of why he was doing it. We laugh about the miscommunication now and at least I understand that when he does these things for me it's his way of trying to express his love/appreciation. So I do know he cares and tries to express if I stop and think about it, it's just hard that he has such a hard time with any expression when that is important to me, and then I start questioning his love for me. Anyway it's funny the "love communistion barriers" that can crop up, but at least we are aware now. I do think focusing more on the love launguage book will help. Thanks.
 
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