You share chores. You have children together. You keep the house relatively clean (hey, no one is coming over, right?). You have sex. Occasionally. What more could your guy really want?
The truth is, we all need a little nurturing. Even that stoic man that has trouble showing his emotions needs more tender loving care than you realize. So what can you do show your man you love him? Here are a few ideas.
First and foremost, the hallmark of a good relationship is communication. But it’s more than just having a conversation. Sometimes he doesn’t need you to talk back, or try to give him advice. He just needs you to listen, to be a sounding board, but be a shoulder to cry on if necessary. But listen. Without your smart phone in your hand, without the TV on. Just listen.
Ask him for his opinion or for his help
In the modern age, women don’t really need men to take care of them. Many have careers and money of their own. Women born after 1970 have been groomed to be strong and independent. And rightly so. But at the same time, your marriage is a partnership, not a one-woman show.
It’s OK to ask for advice. It’s actually helpful to get a different perspective sometime. It’s OK to ask for help once in awhile. It makes your man feel needed and appreciated, like he has a purpose in the relationship other than to change the oil in your car and grill your steak.
Give him permission to be a guy
There is a lot of pressure on men nowadays to be in touch with their feminine sides or to push themselves to be more sensitive. And no matter how uncomfortable it might be, they do it because they love you. So the best thing you can do is to give your man opportunities to just be a guy.
Push him to go out with his friends to hang out or invite the gang over for the big game. Just don’t hover with the plate of canapes or tofu. You’ll be a rock star if you just have some pizza delivered and suds on ice.
Practice basic thoughtfulness
This advice goes both ways in a relationship, but it’s often one of the most overlooked principles of basic manners. If you are pouring yourself a drink, why not offer him one, too? Of you know you are about to run out of his favorite coffee creamer, don’t use the last of it.
If he is down to his last two energy bars, replace them before he runs out. Noticing these little things and being thoughtful sends a clear message that you care. Likewise, doing the opposite sends a less-than-pleasant message.
Don’t mother him
We all know spouses like this. The naggers. The ones that question every decision their spouses make, or that constantly harangue on this or that. Your husband doesn’t need a mother. He has one of those already. He doesn’t need a boss. He has one of those, too.
He needs a wife and partner. He needs someone to share and be equals with. He needs a friend who loves him in spite of faults, who builds him up and has faith in him. As tempting as it may be, the constant lecturing will change the equilibrium in your relationship, and not for the better. Constructive feedback is OK, but learn to give it with kindness and respect. And once the feedback is given, back off and let me make his own adult decisions.
This goes back to the idea of basic manners and thoughtfulness. If he has gone out of his way to do something thoughtful for you, or even if it’s just one of those every day little acts of kindness we take for granted, be appreciative.
Thank him for mowing the lawn and keeping the yard looking so nice. Thank him for picking up the kids after practice, so you could get some alone time. Don’t just say the words, but show him with loving gestures and affection.
Let him dream
We all need those secret little wishes that we nurture and protect. If your man chooses to share those hidden dreams with you, the worst thing you could do is belittle them or laugh them off. Chances are, it’s not some fanciful whim that he cooked up on the drive home, but something he has harbored and cherished since childhood.
You wouldn’t stomp on a child’s dreams, so why stomp on the dreams of the child inside the man? Let him know that you want to help him achieve his dreams, however, impossible they may seem.
OK. I know the thoughts going through your head. But bear with me for a moment. It’s not just about the sex. Well, yeah, it partially is. Your guy wants to be close to you, and this is how he expresses himself. It’s not just about the release for him, even though that’s what women want to think. Men are physical beings. They define intimacy through physicality. Women are wired differently, but you can’t put all the blame on him.
If your needs aren’t being met, and that is holding you back, then when was the last time you had a frank discussion about it? Communication is a two-way street, and you can’t change things for the better in your intimate life without having the courage to be frank and honest with what you need. If he is willing to listen, and that leads to greater intimacy for both of you, then you both win.
Search your heart for other ideas
You know your man best. Be observant and thoughtful, and listen to him with your heart. By doing so, you will find your own creative, unique ways to tell your man you love him, tailored to his specific needs. Hopefully this list will get you started down the path, but don’t let it be the end of the journey.