A huge struggle in marriage happens the second you get pregnant. Immediately women start fawning over these tiny humans. We talk to them, we play them music. We rub our belly’s and hope they feel connected to the touch of our hands. And then we look at our husbands and we wonder if we will ever love them like that.
I’m not saying all women do this. Just most of us. We obsess over every grin, step, and fart, and leave our men high and dry. Honestly can you imagine the whiplash we give them? One minute we’re going through his text messages, and the next he’s at the casino for five hours straight without one missed call.
Here is the thing about men, when they love, they love hard. We always credit women with being the primary lovers but that’s not necessarily true. Men love their wives and fiend for their affection. They desperately want you to laugh at their jokes, comment on their good looks, and show them some romance. Most of the time women are just too busy snapping selfies with their children to notice.
In the research of Sprecher and Metts it was found that men tend to be more romantic than women. Men are more likely to believe in love at first sight, in love as the basis for marriage, love as the answer to overcoming obstacles, and to believe that their partner and relationship is perfect. Ask a woman if her husband is perfect. She’ll provide you a list of reasons for his disqualification.
As relationships develop, men tend to become MORE romantic and women become LESS romantic. Men also dream more about their lost partner after breakups, as well as spend more time fantasizing than women do. When it comes to love, men don’t settle. There is no time clock on male reproduction, and so he is free to roam until someone stops him in his tracks. He doesn’t give up the bachelor pad because he wanted to feel security. He does it because he met you, and now everything he thought was great seems far less important.
A man who marries you, is a man who, odds are, is desperately in love with you. He knew it the second he saw you, and he falls more in love with you each day. The issue here is that men have a really difficult time communicating how they feel. In general, men tend to have a harder time expressing themselves than women do. Women are great at building relationships. I’ve got several friends on IG who shower me with love and affection on every family photo and I’ve never met these gals in real life. I say I love you before hanging up the phone with most of my girlfriends. Guys don’t do that. All his intimacy eggs are in your easter basket. Allowing himself to be vulnerable may not come as naturally for him, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel it.
Ask a man if he would die for his wife. Without hesitation he will tell you absolutely. Ask a woman if she would die for her husband. She will ask you 50 other questions, one of which is probably, “but why are we dying?”
Marilyn Montgomery & Gwendolyn Sorell found in their study that boys fell in love earlier than girls, and more often. And in the book, Academic Encounters published in 2012, William Kephart did a study on more than 1000 college students and asked the question, “if a man or woman had all the other qualities you desired, would you marry this person if you were not in love with them?” Approximately 2/3 of males responded no indicating that men are highly concerned with the need of love and romance in a marriage. Less than 1/3 of women responded no, indicating that women will get married for a variety of reasons, and love doesn’t have to be one of them.
Women will often say things like, “he makes a lot of money.” Or, “he is going to be a really good dad.” Other factors have to come into play in their marriage decisions and love gets lowered on the totem poll.
And then she has a baby, and suddenly she can’t stop texting the daily run down of what Jr. did at breakfast. I mean that’s sweet and all, but he still wants you too. You are more beautiful as a mother, but that doesn’t mean he wants you to stop being a wife.
Don’t let your kids ruin your marriage. Don’t stop noticing his hair cut, or how funny he is around his friends. Don’t stop showing him you are attracted to him, and asking him about his goals. Keep telling him your secrets and build intimacy outside of conversations about your kids.
Men need that. But more importantly, women need that too.
Heather Thompson Day is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Andrews University. She is the author of 5 Christian books including Life After Eden, available now. You can follow Heather on Twitter or IG at HeatherThompsonDay
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