Three Ways to Ask for the Love You Need
by Cindi McMenamin
In a perfect world, your spouse would know instinctively how to love you in a way that meets your needs.
But you and I are not living in a perfect world.
Often our loved ones are trying to show us they love us in the best way they know how. The problem arises when it’s not in the way you and I are looking for it. So, instead of looking and not finding, you and I need to learn how to start asking.
In order to start a conversation in which you both can learn more about each other, here are three ways to ask for the love you need:
1. Prayerfully – Before you ask someone for the love you need, take your situation to God to make sure you are asking for something the other person can realistically give. For example, if you crave love out of a deficit from what your parents never offered you, that isn’t something your partner can make up for, that is something God must first heal in your heart. If you crave the kind of love that will make you feel significant, valued, and worthy as a person, that is quite possibly a need only God can fill. Anyone else may find that task impossible.
Ask God to reveal to you if it is HIS love you need to receive and embrace first. As you and I grow in our love for God, we become convinced of who we are in His eyes and we will be able to receive love that someone else may already be trying to give. Knowing God loves you will also give you the confidence to ask another to love you and treat you as not only you desire, but as God desires.
2. Respectfully – While love is something women crave and feel they cannot live without, men feel the same way about respect. Perhaps that’s why the Bible specifically commands husbands to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25) and exhorts the wife to “see to it that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). Yet both a man and woman need to be respectful toward one another when discussing such a tender issue.
Be respectful toward your partner by making sure there isn’t a touch of sarcasm or accusation in your voice, which will only put the other on the defensive. Ephesians 4:29 is a helpful guideline while having this conversation: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Focus on building the other person up in your conversation and you will be respectful.
3. Specifically – If your husband expresses his love to you by keeping gas in your car, making repairs around the house and giving you a day to yourself when you need it, he may feel he is doing enough. But if you need to hear him explain why he loves you with endearing words or provide tender touch to affirm that love, then tell him specifically what will make you feel loved by him.
Everyone has their own unique background, in-grained habits, reservations, and wounds that contribute to how they express or receive love. Describe to your spouse what love looks like to you, in a tangible way, and spell it out carefully, creatively, and even visually so there is no misunderstanding. Give examples of what resonates with your heart and what doesn’t, but do it in a loving way. This is also a great time to ask your spouse what specifically translates love to him or her.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of 17 books, including her newest 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband (Harvest House Publishers). She and her pastor-husband have been married for more than 30 years and he helps her with the “male viewpoint” in her books for couples and wives. For more on her resources, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.