Four Simple Ways to Ask for the Love You Need
by Cindi McMenamin
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s inevitable that you and I might be left with unmet expectations. We tend to think in a perfect world, our husbands – or children – would know exactly how to meet our expectations and how to love us in a way that meets our needs.
But you and I are not living in a perfect world.
Often those closest to us 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.
The Bible says we don’t have because we don’t ask. So, apply that principle and start asking for what you need, instead of making your loved one figure it out. In order to start a conversation in which you both can learn more about each other, here are 4 simple ways to ask for the love you need:
Before you ask anyone 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 husband 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 the 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.
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 one another 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 a helpful guideline 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 loved one believes they are already giving you the love you need. Therefore, avoid putting them on the defensive by making sure you frame your request in positive, affirming language.
Instead of starting with their remiss, start with your appreciation of who they are and what they are 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 a priority anymore” compliment your husband 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 your partner 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.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning author of more than a dozen books. She helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and with each other. She and her husband, Hugh, have been married 32 years and co-authored the book, When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection. Cindi has also written When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, and her newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband. For more on her speaking, or resources to help strengthen your soul or relationships, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.