In a perfect world, your boyfriend or husband would know instinctively how to love you in a way that meets your needs. In other words, they’d be like God.
But you and I are not living in a perfect world. And they are not God.
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.
Yes, the men in our lives should be as intuitive as we are and know how to give us the love we need. After all, it appears they were able to do that when they first fell in love with us. But they could likely say the same about us. So, in order to start a conversation in which you both can learn more about each other, here are seven ways to ask for the love you need:
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.
Bring your situation to God first and ask Him 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. (For more on this, see my book, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs.)
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 helpful instruction 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.
It’s human nature to immediately assume we are doing something wrong when someone asks us for something we believe we are already giving. Chances are your man believes he is already giving you the love you need. Therefore, avoid putting him on the defensive by making sure you frame your request in positive, affirming language.
Instead of starting with his remiss, start with your appreciation of who he is and what he is doing right. Ease into it and use sensitivity rather than sarcasm, and compassion rather than criticism or complaint. Instead of saying “You don’t make me priority anymore” compliment your man with the words “I miss you. How can we start prioritizing our time together?” A sure way to be affirming in your request is to turn your lack into a situation that both of you can work on, instead of presenting it as solely the other person’s problem.
To ask for anything is humbling. Therefore, we can also not like the humbling position it puts us in and we can end up asking resentfully or selfishly, without a thought of how the other person is receiving our request. Consider Philippians 2:3 as a rule in asking for the love you need: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”
When you put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself ‘How would I receive it if he asked me this same thing in this same manner?” it may help you rethink how to address the situation. Use the words you would want to hear (or more specifically, the words you know he would want to hear). When we have our spouse or loved one in mind as we ask, we can more carefully address the topic without being accusative or worse, selfish. Ask what that person needs from you, as well, so it becomes a conversation rather than a one-sided demand.
Ask wisely by taking into account the appropriate time, place and manner in which to have the discussion. Sometimes how and when you ask makes all the difference in the world. I learned early on, that if I’m addressing my husband with a concern of mine, I need to wait until after he has settled in at home, has changed into comfortable clothes, and has filled his stomach. When he is relaxed and with no other pressing matters on his mind, then he can better receive what I am asking for. Be sensitive in terms of the timing and how you have this discussion.
God is your advocate when it comes to seeking wisdom in having this conversation. James 1:5 tells us “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Ask God for that wisdom first and then apply it when you ask for the love you need.
6. Sensibly, Calmly and Rationally
When you ask for the love you need it is not the time to get overly-emotional. Start the discussion logically, rather than emotionally, and you will have a much better chance of being heard and respected. Men want the logic behind what you’re taking about, not the muddy, confusing emotions that you’re trying to sift through as you’re describing how you feel. If you give him the “nuts and bolts” of the issue and what you propose the two of you do about it, he is more likely to understand your train of thought and what you’re requesting.
It’s a fact, women are often vague, yet expecting the men in their lives to read their minds and know intuitively what they mean when they say “I need to feel loved.” 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, upbringing, in-grained habits, issues, reservations, and wounds that contribute to their unique love language. Your partner may think he is showing you love when you are not receiving it that way. Describe to him 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 him what specifically translates love to him.
Finally, in order to be the woman your husband can more easily express his love toward, read my books, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs and When a Woman Inspires Her Husband. Both will help you take an unfair emotional burden off of the man in your life and free him up to love you in the best way he can.
Which of these will YOU focus on as you ask your special someone for the love you need? I’d love to hear it in the comment section below so I can remember you in my prayers.