When a Wife Doesn't Feel Loved

 by Chuck Snyder
 co-chaplain for the Seattle Mariners

Dear Chuck
I have a wonderful husband but for his inability to express what he feels. If I give out tokens of love, by way of a card or encouraging e-mail, he never replies in any way or even gives thanks.

He says that I should not feel rejected, but I do. He can be very self absorbed and most times gives very little of himself into the relationship. He says he struggles to relate to anybody, and I should not take it personally.

I know that love is not self-seeking, but I do want to feel loved. I feel like nothing I do is good enough to get a response from him. So I keep increasing my levels of sowing love, but to no avail. I don't want to be a nag, but I do want my husband to take a more active part in the marriage.

He is there in person -- but most times that is about it. He tells me that this is simply his personality and there is nothing he can do to make a difference. I feel that he does not love me.

How do we overcome this?

Chuck's Response
Thanks for the note about your unresponsive husband. This is one of the major differences between men and women. Most women come into marriage with every gift to have a wonderful relationship. Most of the time a man comes into marriage with very few. I am not "man bashing." I'm not a traitor to my own sex. I am simply stating a fact.

Women are into connecting; men are into independence. Women are into people and relationships; men are into things. Women are into equality; men are into winning and losing. Women are into details; men are into the big picture. Women are into serving; men are into being in charge.

Most churches earn zeros in teaching men what women need. Our pastors didn't know because they were men. Our dads and grandfathers never said anything. Therefore, many men are ignorant as to the ways of a woman, and we offend them terribly without meaning to.

There is probably another factor at work in your situation: You might have different love languages. Dr. Gary Chapman has written a terrific book called The Five Love Languages. Your local Christian bookstore could find it for you. It talks about how we tend to "talk" in our own love language, so other people with different languages don't feel our love. Some people express love with serving, like you do. Some do it with little gifts. Some do it with meaningful time. Some do it with touch. Some do it with kind words. A person can have more than one, but there usually is a dominant one. So, it could be that your husband doesn't have a clue how you feel loved, and therefore you are starving. These are some thoughts for your consideration. Be sure to let me know if you want to talk further.

Chuck Snyder



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Contact Chuck: chuck@chucksnyder.org
Updated 05/24/2005