Relationship advice: How to get your husband to be more affectionate
This article discusses some things a wife can do to encourage her husband to be more affectionate.
Women complain about their husbands — a lot. They complain about almost everything their men do and don’t do, especially when it comes to being affectionate. Many women think their husbands are simply not being affectionate enough. For the purposes of an article of this scope, we will assume that the marriage is in otherwise good shape, and that no major mental or physical issues need be addressed. Any issues of this kind should be referred to a physician or counselor.
A woman should first make sure that her expectations of affection are realistic. Romance novels may make great, escapist reading, but they are not necessarily reflective of how affectionate men can be. Likewise, she should not allow the situation to deteriorate to a sitcom level of non-affection, either. We are assuming that most men are not, in fact, much like Al Bundy. We hope not, anyway.
One of the best things a woman can do to encourage her husband to be more affectionate is to give him a reason to be. She should try to show affection to him — not smothering him, but making touch an important part of their relationship. She can stroke his hair as she walks past him and he’s watching television, pat him on the back as he’s surfing the Internet, kiss him on the neck or nibble his earlobe when he doesn’t expect it. A wife cannot give her husband too much positive reinforcement. She needs to tell him he’s sexy, that he’s hot, that he’s handsome and she loves him and desires him as a man. Many long-term marriages don’t deepen in intimacy because both partners stop telling each other how much they’re loved and wanted. Everyone wants to know he or she is wanted and loved and desired.
A woman should make a point of telling her husband she loves him every day. Few things keep a marriage together like a daily, renewed pledge of love. Some men are not comfortable expressing deep emotion, but they will usually respond to an “I love you” with a like sentiment. If they are unable to do so, it may be time to seek counseling, for the mental well-being of both partners.
A wife needs to make time for her husband. We live in a hurly-burly world that moves entirely too quickly. In families with small children especially, parents can get so caught up in caring for the kids that they’re too tired to be affectionate, too irritable to be loving. If grandparents or other trusted relatives or friends live nearby, a woman should make it a point to drop the children off every so often so she and her husband can reconnect with each other. She needs to put being a mom on the back burner for a while and concentrate on being a wife and a lover. With very small children, they may only get two or three hours, but the kids will eventually get old enough to stay overnight at grandma’s house.
This may sound straight out of the June Cleaver School of Being a Perfect Wife, but it never hurts, once in a while, to fix hubby’s favorite dinner, even if it is full of fat and cholesterol and carbohydrates. He will appreciate it. He will also appreciate seeing his wife looking nice, make-up on and hair fixed, rather than the bedraggled creature who usually answers the door, hair dragged back into a messy ponytail and old sweats on. Does this sound almost chauvinistic? It’s not. A man likes to know his wife cares enough about him to fix herself up occasionally. Rail at the inevitable, but men are visual creatures. A vision of their wives looking lovely is very often the best affection-generator around. Slinky lingerie never hurts, either.
A wife can also talk to her husband about being more affectionate. These conversations should never take on the whiny, “You NEVER hold my hand anymore!” Rather, they should be positive and should contain the words of a mature adult, not a bratty teenager. She should begin by praising her husband and thanking him for all the things he does for her: takes out the garbage without being asked, keeps the cars running, mows the lawn, etc. Then, she should say something like, “Honey, you are such a wonderful husband and such a wonderful man. I love it when we can be affectionate because I love being close to you. Let’s hold hands once in a while and act like kids. It still makes my heart go “Thump!” when you stroke my cheek. Let’s make it a point to do fun stuff like that more often. You remind me and I’ll remind you.” When the wife includes herself in the actions, it is much less likely to create resentment.
Now, the husband may well come up with something like, “What — you think I don’t love you, or I’m not affectionate enough?” If he does, the suitable answer, still in a sweet, soft tone of voice is, “I know you love me. And I’m so thrilled I have such a wonderful man to love me. It just feels so good when you touch me. I’m greedy. I want you to touch me all the time! There’s nothing I love more than when you hold me and tell me you love me.” Ladies, if your husbands don’t turn into a puddle of senseless goo when you say this, it’s time for counseling.
The whole point is that a woman can bring up sensitive subjects if she doesn’t do it in a way that attacks her husband. She needs to assume some of the responsibility: “We’re both so busy these days,” “I’ve had such a hard week with the kids,” whatever. And even if she doesn’t feel she needs to assume any responsibility for her husband’s lack of affection, if she does just a little, it could pay enormous dividends. And withholding affection to “get back” at a husband is dirty pool, and should be beneath a woman who considers herself to be a good wife.
It is easy to build up resentment when people are so involved in outside pursuits and don’t make time to communicate with each other. It’s also easy to hold grudges and dig up old arguments to throw in a spouse’s face. This is unhealthy in the extreme. Bury the past and leave it buried. If a real, long-standing problem exists, get counseling. Name-calling and screaming fights leave little room for affection. What’s the fight about, anyway? Is it REALLY worth brutalizing a marriage over? Probably not. Count to 10, or 20, or 100, and calm down. Walk away. Don’t allow anger to overtake a conversation.
Daily “I love yous” and not allowing the sun to go down on your anger are two ways that long-time married couples have of keeping their relationships healthy. They also know the value of letting their spouses know how important they are, and how much they are needed. Getting a husband to become more affectionate may entail some changes on the wife’s part, but if the changes result in a healthier, happier, more loving marriage, they are worth the effort.