Hi Friends, if you're looking for the final The Best Yes webcast replay, click here.

Wednesday, July 4

Let Yourself Believe He Loves You

Guest Post by Shaunti Feldhahn

It was ironic that when Lysa asked me to post a guest blog about some of my research, I was on my way back from a conference where that research had just come to life before my eyes.

You see, my husband, Jeff, and I have surveyed thousands of men, women and teens for our books, and one of the most consistent findings is that nearly all women and girls share these subconscious questions:

Am I loveable? Am I special? Am I beautiful?

Lysa and I co-wrote Made to Crave for Young Women to help girls look for those answers in God rather than from popularity, guys, or the latest cute outfit. But those questions don’t necessarily stop just because a girl grows up.
The day Lysa called me, Jeff and I had just finished doing a marriage retreat with a group of police officers and their wives. Part of that was helping the men understand that their ongoing reassurances of love are vital precisely because of this uniquely female insecurity.

Although a man rarely questions “does she love me?” after the wedding, a wife doesn’t feel permanently loved just because of that “I do.”

Among 80% of women, their subconscious question becomes not just “does he really love me?” but also, “would he choose me all over again?” So it makes a big difference when a husband purposefully answers that question well. Every. Single. Day.

We tell the men that, and its true, but I’ve also seen that even when our men do a great job of showing their love…we need to be willing to receive it!
At this retreat, a teary-eyed wife pulled me aside to ask how she could handle the fact that her husband of three years kept going to do fix-it work on his widowed mother’s house, rather than spending his evenings at home with her and their new baby. “I just don’t know how to handle the fact that he keeps choosing his mother over me,” her lips quivered. “It’s like he’s wishing he never got married.”

I was surprised, since on the surface her husband seemed like a man who loved his wife. Sad for her, I commiserated, “How often is he away like that?”

“Probably one or two nights a week.” She saw my startled look, and said, “It doesn’t sound like much, but what’s hardest isn’t handling the baby alone, it’s the fact that he’s choosing his mother over me. When I ask him why he has to go, he just says his mom needs his help now that his father has died. I love that he’s a loyal guy who loves his mom, but it feels like he doesn’t love me.”

As we talked more, I tried to gently help her see the truth that was becoming clear to me: her husband did love her, but she wasn’t accepting it.
He was regularly saying “I love you,” helping out with the baby even when exhausted from work, and taking her on date nights every few weeks. But she was still finding it hard to believe in his love because she was so focused on this one area of hurt. She was interpreting his once or twice a week visits with his mom as evidence of a lack of care, rather than an evidence of a man who cared deeply about family.

And honestly…she’s not that unusual, is she? Because of that “am I loveable?” fear, many of us aren’t great at countering that insecurity with truth.

Instead, we create distress that never needed to exist. Even worse, when we hold on tightly to that insecurity, rather than talking ourselves out of it, we often end up questioning the love of a good man. And unfortunately, this can sometimes bring about the very struggles we fear.

Girls, a man may not always know how to express love in the way his wife or girlfriend most needs, but our research showed that in the vast majority of cases, he really is trying.

Our man demonstrates by his actions and words that he loves us–but when we “feel like” he doesn’t, and act on that untrue feeling, we set him up in a situation that is confusing and de-motivating, because it is impossible for him to overcome.

(I recently posted this little video clip on Facebook to try to explain this dynamic to our very confused men.)

Yes, some men need to better-understand what “speaks love” to their wife or girlfriend. And certainly there are many marital situations that don’t have a simple answer.

But let’s look at what our man is trying to do, rather than what he isn’t.

When we make an intentional effort to focus on the Philippians 4 truths of what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy about our man and his actions it will help us see the care toward us that was there all along.

End note from Lysa:

Thank you Shaunti for this message. I needed to read this.

Marriage is so complex. If you are in a hurting marriage, please know I am praying for you today. I’ve been there.

I also want to wish everyone happy day-after Independence Day.

I am so thankful for our freedom and the men and women who fight so bravely to preserve it! I hope you had a wonderful day with your family and friends.

To celebrate today we are GIVING away 6 books! — 3 copies of Shaunti’s For Men Only and 3 copies of Made to Crave for Young Women.

To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment and let us know a little way those around you show their love to you. It can be about anyone in your life — your husband, children, mom, dad, or friend.

Discussion

  1. 360

    My husband of 31 years has always shown me love although in the early years I did not accept it in the right ways because of my own insecurities. I am so thankful that he stuck with me and loved me in spite of all of the ways I treated him because of those insecurities. He loved me by being there. By telling me. By being a great father to our daughters and by making a living for us. What a wonderful man. I only wish I knew it a whole lot earlier.

  2. 361
    Sally Babbitt says:

    My teen-aged children show their love to me by living within the boundaries my husband and I set, even though they would rather not. I also “feel” their love when they tell me about their activities, friends, and the things that matter to them. My adult children show their love by sharing with me about their lives and activities. I sense their love when they call & visit me, or look forward to our times together. My husband shows his love to me and our children in a myriad of ways, by being faithful to me for 35 years, being committed to his job day in and day out, putting our needs before his own, refraining from indulging in his own desires so that our children can enjoy many activities which require his time, energy or money. My husband shows his love to me by doing things with me that I enjoy. All of my family members show me their love for me by occasional gifts they’ve selected for me that they think I would enjoy and appreciate.

  3. 362

    Thank you so much for posting this. The posts from your blog along with the emails I get from Proverbs 31 has been so encouraging to me. My husband shows his love to me by washing the dishes after I cook in the evenings and having our Sunday night talks. We’re in our first year of marriage and the couple that did our marriage counseling gave us this suggestion, one night a week we ask each other a few questions, 1. How are we loving/respecting/bothering each other, 2. How can we be spurring one another on 3. What are we growing in/can we be serving each other, its also a chance for us to worth through arguments or misunderstandings we’ve had. Over the past year its been really neat to see the areas we’ve grown in and the commitment he has made to me to do this every week.

  4. 363

    My youngest son (age 9) does not pass through a room without first stopping to give me a hug. If it has been some time since we’ve shared a moment together, it’s a really LONG hug!

  5. 364

    My daughters showed their love to me by helping to clean up after our annual 4th party that was attended by almost100 people.

  6. 365

    Those that love me show it by putting up with my many quirks and letting me be my unique self! :)

  7. 366
    Jen Torresson says:

    My husband is amazing at loving me – just not always in ways I see. This speaks to me so clearly and encourages me to really have my eyes open and see his acts of love!

  8. 367
    Deborah Engler says:

    Hi my husband and I have grown apparat 28 years of marriage. Especially after 2 years ago a suituation happened that changed. Oth of us for the worst we realy started to live deprecate lives together in the same house. The police arrested my husband for a crime he committed a month ago it has taken this to wake us both up. He finial attended church with me this morning a great answer to prayer our church pastor is working with my husband then we will repeat marriage counciling together. Some where along the line the law will do what ever is nessary to do and what God has already planned to happen anyhow. I am amazed how God can use all suituations to. Ring us closer to him and also back in the relationship he realy planned for us.

  9. 368

    I soo needed to read this today! My boyfriend of two years is very task oriented and can get so focused on his mission, that he doesn’t think to call me or come to see me, for weeks or months (we live 60 miles apart). I have been listening to the Lord reassuring me, but had a moment this morning….that’s the exact moment He pointed my eyes to this blog!! Go figure. Can you girls pray for me, please? (His name is Louis.) That he would realize that I need his reassurance, that he needs to speak my love language, which ironically is quality time! And I will keep listening to God’s reassurances. Bless you, Shaunti. Bless you, Lisa. Thank you for inspiring me.

  10. 370
    Jennifer says:

    My husband tells me daily that I am the only women for him. He brings me coffee in the morning and we have uninterrupted coffee time together where we talk and pray together. He was my rock when we lost our daughter to a terminal illness allowing me time to grieve. And he is the most amazing father to our 6 children. He shows me love by spending time and investing in our kids.

  11. 371
    Corinne says:

    I am so grateful to you both for putting this issue out there. I always felt that my insecurity and distrust issues came from a childhood plagued w. lies, etc. I have been very good at playing the victim. To know that the “do you really love me” attitude is prevalent brings me comfort. My husband and I have worked through some pretty tough stuff. My heart is filled w. gratitude and love that through God’s grace we are seeing truths instead of being clouded by lies we tell ourselves. We have different love languages and we recognize the importance of God as the cornerstone of our marriage. We have a 14 yr old daughter and intend to use your book as the basis of discussing some of the issues that we as women face in regards to ourselves and in relationships with others. Thank you for bringing this into the light.

  12. 372
    Heather says:

    I’m lucky in that my husband shows me love everyday – always complimenting me, helping when he can (in his own way), and he’s a great dad. I usually recognize his efforts, and try not to deflect his compliments, but that’s an area where I struggle – it’s more natural for me to say, “Oh, you’re just saying that,” rather than “Thank you.” Or if I do say thank you, I always follow it with a compliment back, because just accepting the compliment feels wrong to me.

  13. 373

    My husband shows his love by making sure I can go to Mom’s Night Out whenever I need or want to. As a homeschool Mom of 2 boys there are times I just need to be around other Moms that understand where I am.

  14. 374

    Wow, I want to share with you young wives out there that there is so much truth in what Shanti wrote. Sadly, it took me YEARS to understand that. I have a hubby that God has blessed me with and I am finally able to see how much he really does love me. I have some chronic pain issues that limit my ability to do things around the house. My God-given man takes the trash out, takes care of the cat box, takes the laundry out to the garage, cooks a meal when I am hurting too badly to do so and there are tons of other little (but big, in my mind!) things he does for me. When I met him online 16 years ago, and then met him face-to-face, God whispered to my heart “You can trust him with your heart”. I cried all the way home from our meeting that the Lord loves me so much to bring a man into my life that He promised to do! No, I didn’t get this guy right after He promised either. I had to wait, grow up, get counseling, make mistakes – all of that.
    Ladies, your man does love you! Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and write down all the things he does for you. Men speak with their actions and it took me 30 years to accept and appreciate that. My guy tells me he loves verbally several times a day – not mushy or anything…just out the door, he pauses to tell me or before we turn out the lights for bedtime. But he PROVES it not by complimenting me when I take special care with my hair (he most likely will not even notice it) or get a new dress or stuff like that. No he proves it by the little things that amount to huge things for me. No, he is not perfect, a little messy (desk, for example – lol), not real emotional but he shows his emotions by doing and I want you to take a look at your marriage in a new light about when he does for you. Yes, even getting up and going to work to provide for you is a way he says I love you. Taking care of the yard, etc., – well, I could go on and on – you look for yourself. Accept the love he shows you and throw out those expectations that you read about in romance novels or soap operas. That is not real life and most guys are not made that way….you’d get tired of it anyway! Trust me on this, okay? Thank You, Lord, for your gift to me!

  15. 375
    Stephanie W says:

    My boys are still at the stage where they don’t mind kissing and hugging me. There is a noticeable difference in their relationship with their father and their relationship with me. I can tell when they are genuinely expressing their love for me.

  16. 376

    My husband will do and fold laundry to help me get caught up. My kids love to draw me pictures!

  17. 377

    My husband always calls me things like: baby, sweetness, doll, sweetheart, princess…he does this even when he is frustrated with me. On the very rare occasion that he calls me by name I am caught off guard! These names make me feel very loved throughout every day :)

  18. 378

    I am getting married in April. Even though this is supposed to be the “easy time”, its hard getting schedules together. My Fiance schedules in his calender “future planning” sessions with me so that he can engage and show me that even though there are tons of other more pressing matters, our future together is the most important thing and cannot be erased from his schedule.

  19. 379

    My kids will make things for me or come up to me and just give me a hug for no reason.

  20. 380

    After 29 years of marriage, my husband lets me know he loves me in many ways! Just about every time we hug, he goes “Woo-hoo!” to let me know it makes him feel great. He whistles at me when I’m dressed up — and sometimes when I’m not. If he knows about a wish or dream I have, he does what he can to support it or make it happen. He listens when I need to vent. And sometimes he even does crazy stuff like run toward me in slow motion with his arms open for me — in the grocery store!

    But let me also add that we have had some very, very tough times when we didn’t like each other at all, and it was a struggle just to stick it out. So this isn’t some fairytale, easy, perfect marriage. We’ve worked at it!

  21. 381

    Today I was surprised by my daughter’s arrival at my work place. Monday is my very busiest day and my daughter stopped by to give me a can of Arizona tea – my favorite brand and my favorite flavor. Of course I was sceptical…,”Ok Amanda, what do you want?” Amanda’s answer, “Nothing, it’s Monday.” She made my day – probably my week.

  22. 382
    Tanisha says:

    The bullet point that spoke the most to my spirit and my circumstances would be:

    Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control

    I find that this is an area that I struggle with the most, in my walk. If there is something that is truly disturbing to me, I tend to keep my feelings bottled up inside, in an effort to avoid conflict. Inevitably, I end up causing more harm than good, with this tactic. I recognize that such behavior is not pleasing to God, it is unhealthy for me — and downright toxic for those around me.

  23. 383
    Connie B. says:

    My husband love spending time just taking walks together.

  24. 384
    Karen Bean says:

    this is my 1st visit to this page -Amen to our LORD for helping me find it !!! I can not wait to dig into the new book. I will confess I am the “bad reactor”, I am the “raise my voicer”, I am SO in need of this book !!! I let things build up, I lash out, and MAN is it saddening to me after, and the the realization sets in how ungodly it was… not pleasing Him the way I work hard to do in my walk with Him. Relationship strain is my biggest valley that I walk, I can’t wait to seek the knowledge, and encouragement that will come from this book.
    I know I will spend A LOT of time in these pages that the Lord brought me to today with His grace of placing us where we need to be and when we need to be there.

  25. 385
    Katina DeGraftenreed says:

    The comment that spoke most to me is:

    Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode or react somewhere in between.

    I tend to not want to cause a trouble, therefore i just stuff everything and not respond at all, and I know that is not helpful, nor is it what He wants me to do.

  26. 386
    Melodie says:

    Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.

    All the bullet points hit home but the one above is the main one. I am looking forward to your book!!

    I need to learn how to feel calm in situations and to not act out of control!!

  27. 387
    Aleasha says:

    I’m worse than insecure, I’m insecure about being insecure!

    I recently open-fired on my boyfriend because he delayed our date (in a long distance relationship) so he could help someone at church. I hadn’t seen him in a month and “felt like” he must not have wanted to see me as much as I wanted to see him otherwise he would have told the folks at church he had previous commitment. I told him not to worry about coming at all! Can you believe it??? I cancelled the date altogether! Talk about cutting off my nose to spite my face! Very ugly:(

    While it’s comforting to know I’m not crazy and there are others out there with this same insecurity, I want to know where it comes from so I can know how to put an end to it. Maybe Philippians 4 will not only help me in my relationship with my man but also with myself. Perhaps overcoming my insecurity is a matter of thinking about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy about myself so that I can understand and accept how/why my man loves me so much!

  28. 388
    Jennifer says:

    Honestly, Lysa, truly……all of them (why below):
    * Know with confidence how to resolve conflict in your important relationships.
    * Find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended.
    * Identify what type of reactor you are and how to significantly improve your communication.
    * Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode or react somewhere in between.
    
* Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.

    I’m in a relationship right now that I know God is working in but I’m honestly struggling with this exact thing. Even when I try to not accuse, just to express if and why I’m hurt, he gets mad, offended, defensive…..and, in the past, has left the house. I’m just starting the journey in not basing my love on emotion but instead on a decision to love with Agape love. I can feel the difference and I think because Les can too, last night, he didn’t leave.

    So I do have hope, but when I came across this, it’s a comfort to know I’m not the only one that has these thoughts and struggles.

    Thank you for everything that you do. God Bless you.

    Jennifer

  29. 389
    Audra Cherbonnier says:

    The bullet point that speaks most clearly to me is learning how to be honest with people when they offend me and no longer being everyones doormat to wipe their feet on. I really look forward to learning more about how God wants me to respond!! Thanks, Lysa!

  30. 390
    joyce wilson says:

    I so enjoy the encouragement messages every day,, I start my day thinking on them, so thanks for all you do for women
    Todays message hit me so real.. I do have an issue of self worth, My husband of 8 yrs is a “touchy” romantic person but is a loud boastous person and says things that offend me and make me feel so much more worthless, but in the next hr , he is as if nothing has happened expecting me to just jump back . but I can’t,, i feel that he don’t really love me or he couldn’t hurt me with his words as he does BUT I started to day seeing at all the things he does do for me, like picking me flowers, fixing me coffee in the morning before he goes to work, calling me at work to say he loves me,, so really he does love me, but now i have to get myself in a place that I can accept it,, I will work on it,, so thanks for your help,, and god bless you all,

  31. 391
    Georgetta Wright says:

    * Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.
    I love this bullet point. It is needed in my life as I face uncertainties about a certain relationship in my life. The uncertainty doesn’t necessarily stem from the relationship itself, more than the advice people give regarding this relationship. When I recieve what I consider as negative advice, I tend to respond with agressive tone of voice, basically in a defense mode.

  32. 392

    * “Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode or react somewhere in between.” Yep, that’s me. I used to react. Slamming doors, stuff, one-liners – real maturity I know. With God’s help, I’ve really been working on that. But stuffing negative emotions isn’t healthy either. I’ve been trying to take it to God but this is new territory for me. I’m finishing up Becoming More… now and it has been a blessing to me. I’ve never earmarked and highlighted more in a book! Thank you Lysa!!

  33. 393

    * Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode or react somewhere in between

    For the last 18 months I’ve been dealing with a group of women who are speaking untruths and gossiping about me and my 7 yo daughter. My first reaction was to ignore them, but our town is not large and I am constantly running into these women who turn their back and noses up. Finally I blew up and called them on it. They spoke more untruths and here I am again acting like it didn’t happen. I NEED THIS!!! Ordering the book now!

  34. 394
    Elizabeth says:

    * Identify what type of reactor you are and how to significantly improve your communication.

    I have been having trouble to keep a friendship alive. The past 18mths my friendships having awhol, A friend got jealous because I was friends with someone else she knew. Then she had an outburst and said a lot of mean things to me. I can’t trust her anymore and just want her to know my true feelings but keep the peace at the same time because I see her every day when dropping little one at school. God has been walking with me though It seems I struggle with communicating my feelings to a friend if they have upset me or done something My husband tells me Im too honest at the best of times so no trouble there! Please Help!!! Thank you for your inspiration. :-)

  35. 395

    Learn to respond with no regrets and identify what type of reactor I am.

    I would love to improve my communication skills so that I know that I am responding in a positive way and in a godly way. I want to relieve stress in my life and knowing how to communicate in a healthy way will help with this.

  36. 396

    Great word. Good reminders for all of us- guys and gals!

  37. 397

    My husband loves me when he makes me coffee in the morning :) It took me awhile to realize what an act of love that was, but it’s wonderful!

  38. 398
    Shannon L says:

    Lysa, I receive your blog posts as well as the Proverbs 31 devotions. Whenever I miss the days post, I give myself grace to delete it without opening it. I don’t want to read multiple devotions in one day to “catch up”. For some reason, I didn’t delete this message. Something inside wouldn’t let me. You see, my husband and I have been going through a “why are we still married if it’s going to be this miserable” period. We’ve been married 11years and have 2children, 8 and 3 years.

  39. 399
    Shannon L says:

    Our marriage has been a struggle from the beginning. If not for the grace of God, we would’ve divorced long ago. My husband has finally agreed to marital counseling. We are in the process of healing past hurts and tearing down the walls that have been built. This is my biggest area of struggle. I don’t want to tear down my walls because I don’t want to be hurt again. But I can’t receive my husbands love either. Thank you for showing me how I’m sabotaging his efforts by refusing to accept his love.

  40. 400

    THANK YOU GOD FOR BLESSING ME BY ALLOWING ME TO FIND AND READ THE SWEET AND GODLY WORDS OF WISDOM FROM CARING CHRISTIANS. THANK YOU MY NEW FELLOW CHRISTIANS. I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT MY HUSBAND LOVED ME JUST AS MUCH AS I LOVED HIM. WE BOTH HAVE TOLD EACH OTHER THAT OUR LOVE IS HEAVEN SENT FROM ABOVE (LOL). I KNOW THAT IS A LINE FROM AN OLD LOVE SONG BUT THAT’S HOW OUR MARRIAGE SEEMS TO ME. JUST ANOTHER SAD LOVE SONG. I KNOW GOD IS GOOD NO BETTER THAN GOOD BECAUSE IF HEAVEN IS AS WONDERFUL AS IT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE THEN ALL I NEEDTO DO IS SHARE MY LOVE WITH EVERYONE
    AND KEEP MY FAITH IN OUR AWESOME HEAVENLY FATHER GOD AND HIS SON JESUS CHRIST WHILE LETTING THE HOLY SPIRIT WORK HIS LOVE THROUGH ME
    AND MY TRUE LOVER MY HUSBAND. I WILL ASK GOD FORGIVENESS OF MY SINS AND TO PLEASE GIVE ME THE STRENGTH I NEED TO HAVE FAITH THAT GOD IS THE LOVE I AM SEEKING TO GIVE TO MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS SO THEY TO CAN FEEL GODS PEACE AND JOY. FROM ALL OF HIS DISCIPLES. GOD IS REAL AND HE IS WILL NEVER FORSAKE YOU. GOD BLESS AND I PRAY FOR YOU ALL, TAMMY PLEASE PRAY FOR MY HUSBAND TO KNOW I AM ON HIS SIDE WITH ALL MY EVERLASTING LOVE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.