You have your way of expressing your love and affection for your spouse, and your spouse has his or her own special brand of expressing the same back to you.

Are you reading each other correctly, or are you missing out on these expressions of love?

And do men and women really differ in how they show their partner their affection for them?

In this blog, we’ll look at how you and your spouse express love, and 3 tips to make sure you’re speaking the same loving language—especially if you are working to rebuild your marriage. Please keep reading…

Men and Women: How the Genders Express Love

Popular culture would have us believing that men are the “strong, silent types,” a little standoffish when it comes to showing their wives affection, whereas women are just the opposite.

But this theory of gender differences in how women and men differ in showing affection has never been tested until recently.

A study was done that found that men and women have more similarities than differences in expressing affection. Researchers interviewed 168 couples, all of them within the initial two months of marrying, and then checking in with them each year until a final interview was done after 13 years.

What they found was interesting: of the 105 couples who remained married after the 13-year period, the more a man loved his wife, the more likely he was to be affectionate, more likely to involve them in their leisure activities and chores around the house, and the more likely they were to initiate sex.

Women, on the other hand, were less likely to initiate sex the more they loved their husband. The lead researcher interpreted this to mean that a woman was more likely to initiate sex if she felt unloved.

Also, women’s love was more inclined toward expressions of that love, as well as going with the flow of their husband’s needs and moods.

Often, people express love in the way they know how to give it—and their partner completely misses out because it doesn’t look the way they themselves express love. This can lead to misunderstandings between couples, with one or both doubting the others love, simply because they don’t recognize their spouse’s love expression for what it is.

Here are three tips to make sure you and your spouse are communicating your love clearly:

Tip #1: Ask Your Spouse about their Affection Expectation

Find out what your spouse’s expectation is for affection.

Ask your spouse right out: “What types of things do you like for me to do to show you that I love you and care about you?”

You might be surprised by what you learn. Where you thought that making your spouse dinner every day proves to him or her your love, he or she may need you to spend quiet time with them to feel as if you love them.

Tip #2: Tell Your Spouse Your Take on Love Expression

Point out to your spouse the things you say and do as your way of expressing love. Your partner may not have realized that these were intended to be your expression of affection for him or her.

Tip #3: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Maybe the way your spouse wishes for you to express your love and affection feels uncomfortable. She wants public displays of affection, and you are horrified at the thought.

Let your spouse know your feelings on the matter, and then offer something you do think you can manage, such as holding hands while walking. It’s a strong gesture that you are trying to show your spouse how much you care, that you are willing to move out of your comfort zone and try something new, and that you care enough to be uncomfortable as you try it.

My best to you in tightening the bonds of your marriage.

Do you and your spouse express love differently?

Have there been misunderstandings because you show affection in unique ways?

Have you told your spouse what you need him/her to do to help you feel loved, and in turn, asked him/her what they need from you?

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,

Stephanie Anderson

Editor-in-Chief

Marriage Sherpa

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