Wednesday, December 2, 2009

5 Ways to Say "I Love You" by Danielle Bean

What Pleases a Wife's Heart Most?

5 Ways to Say “I Love You”
Women are not complicated creatures. When I was preparing to write this article, I asked my female friends on Twitter and Facebook: What pleases a wife's heart most?
I received more than one-hundred responses, and though they varied widely, the underlying theme in every single one of them was the same: Pay attention to me! When husbands pay attention, we feel loved.

Of course there are many ways to pay attention. Gary Chapman’s popular book The Five Love Languages is a great resource for any husband, but no matter what “love language” a woman speaks, the way to make her feel most loved is to take notice of her details. Like it or not, women are all about the details, and the thought that goes with them.

Gifts: Sweat the Small Stuff If gifts are important to your wife, the value she attaches to them has little to do with their price tags. I’ll never forget the Christmas morning when I opened a small wrapped package from my husband and immediately burst into happy tears. It was a small gold locket that I had casually admired at the mall many months before. I was touched that Dan had remembered my noticing the locket and made such a genuine effort to please me. It was a $15 locket 13 years ago, and I am still talking about it today.

Touch: Make a Connection Women who long for physical affection from their husbands are truly hoping not to blend in with the furniture. When you reach for her hand at a party, or put your arm around her shoulder while sitting at dinner, or spontaneously hug her while she’s doing the dishes, your actions tell her: “I see you. I notice you. I want to connect with you and make you feel good.” That kind of individualized attention takes only a tiny bit of effort but scores you mega-points in the happy wife department.

Togetherness: Listen Up! If spending time together is your wife’s love language, she craves your engaged attention. You will thrill her if you take in an interest in the things she is passionate about and just plain listen to her perspective on the world. One important translating tip: When your wife shares negative thoughts and feelings with you, she is not blaming you and she definitely is not looking for you to “fix” her feelings. She just wants you to hear her out. That means listening, nodding, and commiserating – and nothing else unless she asks for it.

Service: Notice Her Needs Wives who value “acts of service” are not just looking for a maid. What they really want is for their husbands to notice their needs. I remember one evening, when at the end of a week-long bout of stomach viruses, fevers, and sleepless nights, my husband said, “Now what shall I make for dinner?” I swooned. It wasn’t just that I got out of making dinner that night – it was the fact that he noticed my need and made a sacrificial effort to meet it. That wins you the girl every time.

Words: Acknowledge Her Strengths If your wife seeks verbal affirmation, a great place to start is with the words “Thank you.” Your gratitude tells her that you do indeed notice the little things she thinks you take for granted. Be as specific as you can when you praise her and you will send the message that not only do you appreciate her efforts, but you pay close attention to her and recognize her strengths in an individualized way. That’s the stuff that happy wives are made of.

Women are all different and yet in many ways we’re all the same. Though our individual desires and preferences vary, in the end we all want one thing: the attention of the men we love. The nice part is, when you notice your wife, she will notice you back.

Danielle Bean, a mother of eight, is Editorial Director of Faith & Family. She is writing a series of columns for Fathers for Good that explore the relations between husband and wife

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