Q: Usually when I want to express my love for my husband verbally or in writing, I list reasons why he means so much to me: he’s a good dad, provides for our family, etc. But he doesn’t seem to appreciate those compliments like he used to. Am I missing something?
A: Most of us, when asked to make a list of the reasons why we love our spouse, would probably start with “because…” I love my wife because she’s good to me… because she’s kind… because she’s considerate… because she’s romantic.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with those things. But true, lasting love goes much deeper than that. Author Gary Thomas has noted that it’s easy to love someone because they’re always doing nice things for you and making you feel good about yourself. Anyone can love somebody like that.
Real life is different, though. Even the best spouse is going to let you down from time to time. All of us tend to be self-absorbed, forgetful, and even mean-spirited. It’s true of the people we’re married to. But if you can love a spouse who disappoints you, you aren’t loving them because of anything — you’re loving them anyway.
Will a woman love her husband who doesn’t express appreciation for the sacrifices she makes? Who takes her for granted? Can a man love a wife who isn’t nearly as kind to him as he is to her? We all want to be loved anyway, in spite of our own faults – so shouldn’t we treat the person closest to us the way we want to be treated?
One key to a healthy marriage is to get to the point where you and your spouse can say to each other, “I love you because, and I love you anyway.” If you can get that balance right, your marriage likely has what it takes to go the distance.
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