There’s an old joke about a woman who complains to her husband that he never tells her he loves her. “Maisy,” he says, “I told you that once on our wedding day, and I’ll be sure to let you know if I change my mind.” It seems that a lot of women could identify with old Maisy. They feel that their man does not express his affection often, if at all. Lacking that kind of affirmation can lead to insecurity, jealousy and stress in the relationship. Unfortunately these feelings can become destructive if unchecked because oftentimes he is telling her; she just isn’t hearing it.
It sounds like a strange suggestion. You would be forgiven for thinking ‘If he said “I love you” I’m pretty sure I would notice!’ But what if he wasn’t speaking English? What if that odd mumbling your man did when he pottered around the house was actually him saying ‘I love you’ over and over in say, Swahili? Or Maori? Or Norwegian? What would it do to the dynamic of your relationship if you suddenly realized he was saying ‘I love you’ thirty or forty times a day? What I’d like to suggest is that maybe he is.
We all have different ways of understanding affection. Some of it is wired in, like our personalities, and some of it is acquired from our environments growing up, but regardless of the why, we all have a different take on what it means to love and be loved. For some there is nothing more loving than a touch – a hug, a kiss, stroking someone’s arm or side as you pass them in the hall – these are the epitome of loving gestures. However, for others such gestures would barely get noticed. What they would prefer are some generous acts of kindness. Breakfast in bed, doing one of ‘their’ chores, or going out of your way to do something for them will communicate volumes of love and affection. Now if these two kinds of people are in a relationship, how long is it going to be before one of them feels unloved? Probably not too long! Eventually she is going to reach out for a hug and be postponed because he is still greasy up to the armpits from servicing her car, and she will burst into tears because she will feel like he doesn’t love her. And he will be flabbergasted because he has done nothing but go out of his way to show her his love – just in a different language. While she wants physical affection, he expresses his love as things done for her. It’s like she is speaking French and his native language is Mongolian. Until they learn to understand each other’s dialect, and adopt a few ‘foreign’ phrases themselves, they won’t truly understand the depth of feeling that the other is trying to express.
It goes without saying that the variety of ways men give and accept affection are as diverse as the guys themselves. Some understand gifts better than long walks, while others need their ego stroked more than their hand. Just because one way of showing affection ‘makes sense’ to you, it does not make it universal, especially when there is a guy involved in the process. However, simply asking your man about what it means to love someone will be a good start to breaking down that language barrier, and learning what it sounds like when he is saying ‘I love you.’
A great example and a good reason why we created this site. Understanding how a man love is exactly like learning a new language. The difference is men usually don’t say anything, usually the way a man expresses his love is through physical actions. You are right Dan, each man expresses his love physically different from another man, that is why translating a man’s love can be difficult for women.
For example I don’t remember ever hearing my Dad tell my Mom he loved. Maybe he did it when my brother and I were not around, I don’t know, but there was never a day when my Mom never felt loved. The reason is because my Dad showed his love through his actions and she understood that.
My mom knew my dad loved her when he built her, her own makeup mirror and cosmetic cabinet. She knew he loved her when he refurbished the kitchen and bathroom. She knew when he build her a new sewing table, bed, coffee table, rewired the entire house, heated the bathroom floor so her feet are not cold in the morning, etc. I could go on, but my point is my Dad would build and create things so my mom and the family would always have a comfortable place to live. So everyday when you woke up in the house Dad that built, using the items he had created with his own hands, you knew he was saying “I love you.”
Once you figure out how your man shows you he loves you, you will be able to see it everyday too.
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