Are you unappreciated? I have, on occasion, seen men suffer from a lack of appreciation from their wives. When years of working hard are met with ingratitude, men are likely to grow bitter, and eventually resentful of their wives’and sometimes even their children.
So what can you do if you fear your relationship with your wife is headed in this direction? Worse yet, what if your wife already seems to be silent when it comes to expressing her appreciation of your hard work?
First, it’s important to remember you can never force a true compliment. Gratitude and appreciation stem from the heart. We all know the difference between a heartfelt thank-you and a hollow one. So don’t attempt to manipulate your wife into praising your actions.
Second, check your own heart. Have you become bitter over your wife’s apparent attitude of ungratefulness? Has it begun to taint the way you serve your family? If you find yourself grumbling every time you’re asked to sacrifice something for the family, it’s definitely time for a change. Talk to your wife about this. Open up about how you feel. She may not even be aware that she hasn’t complimented you in a long time.
And along those same lines, make sure you’re giving out praise as well. It’s somewhat unreasonable to expect verbal accolades from your wife if she hasn’t received one from you in a long time. Appreciation flourishes when it’s given, so shower her with kind words.
When Esther started dating Robert, she felt there was something different about him. He was quiet and stoic, and never got excited about too much of anything except when it came to his favorite West Texas football team. When they were playing, he became a different person, full of energy and expression. But other than those games, very little sound or passion came from Robert.
One day Robert took Esther out on a ski boat. He had flowers and wine. And after dinner he held her hand, and while processing said three words she’d never hear again, ‘I love you.’ Esther said yes to a life of quiet devotion.
Don’t get me wrong: Robert was a good man. He was faithful, hardworking, and generous with his wife. He cared for her when she was sick and listened intently when she told him of things that happened to her. But until the day he died, he’d only said, ‘I love you’ one time’the night he proposed to her.
Robert’s an extreme case of a man’s difficulty in expressing himself. But Esther and Robert’s story isn’t that far out when we consider the number of men who struggle to communicate with the women in their lives.
Do you choose to express you feelings by working hard, remaining faithful, and being a good father and husband? Your wife may appreciate these efforts. But remember: she still longs to hear you verbalize not only your love but also what you think about and feel.
If you seriously want to learn how to meet your wife’s needs, you can. All you need to do is recall the initial process of getting to know your wife when you were courting. It wasn’t rocket science, and still isn’t: You spent hours and hours together talking and exploring one another’s personalities. And the most important thing you did was act on what you learned.
When you discovered your girl liked this music or that food or those flowers, you responded. There was nothing you wouldn’t do to show your love, and that you were serious about the relationship.
Once men leave the wedding reception, the get-to-know-you graph too often takes a dive like a dot-com stock in early 2000. Okay, maybe not quite that fast. But it begins falling nonetheless. Despite a guy’s best intentions to think otherwise, there’s something in him that says, ‘I know my wife. I wouldn’t have married her if I didn’t.’ The truth is, you only think you know her. You only know as much as the number of months of your courtship revealed. And more importantly, you only know what she’s disclosed.
My encouragement to every man who wants to know how to meet his wife’s needs is to begin, courting her afresh. If you’ll devote the same intensity and interest to your wife after marriage that you did before’and maintain that interest level throughout your marriage’you will learn your wife’s needs and how to better meet them.