Even women who have been married for years can feel insecure about whether or not they are truly loved. Logically they know that they are loved, but when they have a husband who rarely or never says those three magic words, or hasn’t said I love you since their honeymoon, insecurity can rise up like an inferno.
All women want to know they are loved. They like to hear the words I love you. For some women, this is really important, and no matter how much they are loved, unless they hear those words with some frequency, they can lose their sense of romantic confidence. Other women don’t need as much auditory enforcement. They just “know” deep down inside that they are loved.
“He comes home every night.” Teresa said of her husband of fourteen years. “He eats dinner with me and the kids and he takes out the trash. What more do I need to know?” For Teresa, his actions spoke loud enough and she didn’t need to hear the words. But for some women, not hearing the words I love you with some regularity can send them into wild insecurity.
Whose job is it to make you feel secure? This is not as simple an answer as you might like, because feeling secure really is an inside job, in the sense that if deep down you don’t feel like you deserve love or are truly lovable, it will be hard to accept what love there is for you. He may be totally in love, but may not be a verbal expresser of love. He doesn't verbally say: "I love you."
An emotional vacuum can be created if you don’t know deep down inside that you are loved. But this can't always come from outside, from your partner's reinforcement and words. Inside your heart you need to have an inner reservior that can withstand a dry day.
You must have some of your own inner sense of trust in order to feel fulfilled by another. If you are starting from an emotionally empty heart it is hard to believe someone who says they love you, or shows it with action. In other words, you have to have a solid foundation in order to receive the love tht is coming to you. This means that the truth is that when it comes to seeking security, you have to first be willing do some filling on your own. Can you tell yourself I love you and feel it?
Then, when you have some sense of self esteem you can ask for exactly what you want. It takes courage to express your desires and romantic needs.
Do you even know what your romantic needs are? The first step is to understand your own love strategy or style. What is it that truly makes you feel loved? If you don’t know for yourself, you can’t really ask for it from your partner. Or you may be making the wrong request, in the sense of asking for something that doesn’t really meet your true romantic need.
For example, one important way we feel loved is if our partner listens to us. Listening is love in action. It's a way of saying I love you. If you want to make your partner feel really good, become a good listener. You know for yourself, when something is bothering you, the one thing you want is to have someone listen. When you feel heard, you begin to feel better quickly. The next thing you want is to feel that you are loved. Hearing the magic words “I love you,” genuinely spoken, goes a long way toward healing. That is if auditory declarations of love do it for you. If you have an “auditory love strategy” you need to hear these words and hear them often. You need to explain this to your partner so that he or she can begin to meet your romantic needs.
Maybe you or your partner have a different way of expressing love and feeling loved. Some people have a “kinesthetic love strategy.” Kinesthetic lovers need a hug and a kiss in order to feel wanted. They need touch and physical connection to feel loved. That's how they express I love you. In the absence of touch, kinesthetic lovers may lose their sense of being loved and adored.
People who have a strong visual love strategy need evidence that they are loved. They need to see loving actions – gifts, gestures, proof of the other person’s feelings. That's how they say I love you. How that person presents themselves can have a huge impact. If he only wears a grungy, torn Tee shirt around you, and you have a strong visual love strategy, this can set off emotional insecurity. You can misinterpret his casual fashion sense for a lack of respect.
The truth is we all have different love styles, and different ways of wanting to receive signs of affection. For example, people with auditory love styles really need to hear those magic words. And they need to hear them in a tone of voice that matches the message. This will instantly calm them down and make them feel nurtured. If you are in a relationship with someone like this, what you say, how you say it – and written words work also – will go a long way to bring harmony to any moment. Let them know through your words that they are loved.
That sounds simple enough but the fine print is that not everybody feels loved just because the words are spoken. For those people, you need to learn how to communicate: "I Love You" in a way that they can actually get it. This is where the art of communication comes into play, because it is not enough that you feel love, you have to offer it in the way in which your partner can receive it.
We know that people have different ways of speaking, but have you ever considered that they also have different ways of listening or hearing?
Take those simple three words I love you -- for some people they are the hardest ones to say; for some they are even harder to hear. Start with the problem that because people hear things differently, this simple communication needs to be done in a manner in which it can be really received. This way you will really be meeting each other’s romantic needs.
Here is an example of how one couple, Jack and Edie, who have been married for nineteen years, struggle with this issue:
EDIE: Jack, do you love me?
JACK: What's the matter?
EDIE: You never say it.
JACK: You know I love you! Who do I come home to every night? Who do I hand my paycheck over to? What do I have to do, send you a telegram?
EDIE: I just wish you would say it once in a while!
JACK: Edie, I wake up next to you every morning! Yesterday I washed your car! Would I do that if I hated you?
From Jack's point of view he is saying "I love you" through his actions.
From Edie's point of view, she is dying to hear the actual words.
She has an "Auditory Love Style." That means she needs to hear Jack say the words in order to feel or believe he loves her.
Jack, on the other hand, has a "Visual-Evidence" or "doing nice things" love style. Jack assumes that all the nice things he does for Edie are ample proof of his affection. He is showing his love because that's his way of wanting it in return. But no matter how many kind and loving things Jack does, Edie still needs to hear the words to deeply feel his love. Her romantic needs are not being met no matter how often he washes the car.
If you haven’t ever stopped to think about how you or your partner prefer to receive love, ask yourself these questions about your romantic needs:
1.) Do I need to hear the words "I love you" to really feel loved?
2.) Do I need to be touched or hugged to really feel love?
3.) Do I need to be shown with actions or gifts or activities to really feel loved?
What kind of LOVE STYLE does my partner have?
Ask your partner these same questions. You can say: “I want to make you feel really loved – which would you prefer – that I say it in words? Or that I communicate through touch and physical proximity? Or do you feel most loved when I show you a display of affection through actions, gifts, activities? You need to get brave enough to communicate to your partner (without blame or criticism) by making a simple, sweet and genuine request to have them express love in the manner that makes you most able to receive it and believe it!
Naturally, all of these will feel good. The question is which one is really indispensable. If you could only have one method, or one method firs, which would make you feel the most loved?
Many of us like a combination of styles and romantic needs. First we want to hear the words, then we want the touch, and then we want the physical evidence. Or vice versa, or in any order and combination. Any demonstration of love is a good thing – what we are seeking to understand is what is the quintessential method -- that without it – you wouldn’t really feel your partner’s love?
The reason that this is so important is that couples can have different love styles. This means that one or both of them may be missing the mark when it comes to how to communicate their love.
So, Edie can say “I love you,” till the cows come home and it may be pleasant enough for Jack to hear those words, but they don’t mean as much as seeing her appreciative smile when he does something nice for her. And Jack can break his back doing nice things, but until he uses the words, which are, for Edie, magic, she will always feel insecure about his true feelings. More often than not, we see couples with different love styles. That is not necessarily a problem. What’s a ticket to disaster is not recognizing the different preferences, romantic needs and methods of adhering to them.
Understanding your own personal love style and letting your partner know also, can lead to a lot more satisfaction. And when you learn your partner's love style as well as your own, you can feel, or hear, or see all the love that's already there. Now you can begin to really meet each other’s romantic needs.
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Also see this article on Does He Love Me
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"I love you!"
Those are the three words we most want to hear.
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