The thing all women most want to know is, “Does he still love me?” With men, our actions always speak louder than our words do. For instance what we do always speaks louder than what we say. All men know you judge a man by his actions not his words. Men only spend time doing things they care about, regardless of what they may say. If we love something (fishing, hunting, fixing up old cars, etc.) we spend time on it. If we don’t like something (going to church, shopping, cooking, cleaning house, etc.) we don’t spend any more time than necessary doing it. So if we say we love our wives but don’t spend any time with her we are sending a mixed message.
Fortunately for men, women tend to believe a man’s words more than his actions. For instance women generally believe what a man says regardless of his actions. Perhaps because women value verbal communication to a greater degree than men do, they have a propensity to believe what is said to them. I know many women who have chosen to believe a man’s words over his actions and are paying the price for that choice today. They are also wired to want and need to hear specific words. They need to hear that they are loved and cherished frequently. Verbal expressions of love counter the continuous program running through their mind that questions their worth, value, beauty, and “loveableness.”
That means spending time doing things she likes to do. I offered to give up watching the ballgame the other day to go to Costco with my wife. The fact that the Pats were leading the Jets 24 to 7 in the last of the fourth quarter had nothing to do with this supreme sacrifice, but that’s not the point to the story. She loves shopping at Costco, but I hate it—it’s crowded, people are pushy, and I always spend more money than I need to there. Besides they don’t sell my books there which is a constant source of irritation to me. But I manned up and accompanied her on her hunting and gathering foray because that’s what she likes to do. Would I have preferred vegetating in my recliner in front of the ball game? Yes. Did I get points for going with her? Absolutely.
Just like many men have a continual subconscious fear of being found inadequate or incompetent that plays into our core self-image, women also have a pre-recorded program running through their minds. They constantly question whether they are valued and wanted.
Here is how one woman put it, “I wish he knew that the way I see myself is linked closely to how he sees me. If he thinks I’m the greatest thing, then my self esteem soars. In turn it makes me want to be the best wife I can to him. On the other hand, if he downgrades me, my self esteem seems to suffer. I find it harder to be the wife he would like because I feel like I can’t please him, so why try.”
Occasionally I will make an off-handed remark to my wife complimenting her on something I think is obvious. But from her reaction you’d have thought I presented her with a diamond necklace. She glows and stammers about how much that means to her and how happy it makes her that I feel that way. You’d think I never compliment her (hhmmm).
If you want your wife to glow this holiday season, tell her how much you love her. But also show her how much you love her by spending your most valuable commodity on her—your time.
Excerpted from Rick’s newest (untitled as yet) book on intimacy in marriage due out in 2014.