I often get emails from wives who feel that their husbands either don't love them enough or don't love them at all.  I hear comments like "he doesn't love me nearly as much as I love him," or "I love him very much, but he doesn't love me back," or "if only it was enough that I adore him, but he doesn't return the feelings and I feel like I'm in the marriage alone."

Sometimes, this is just the wife's perception based on how her husband acts and based on the vibe that he gives off.  Other times, the husband has either eluded to or flat out told the wife that he is no longer "in love" with her.  This places the wife in a very difficult situation. Obviously, what she's been doing hasn't been working, but she doesn't want to make matters worse by taking the wrong tactic. She doesn't know if she should hold back or show even more affection or attention.  I understand this catch 22 because I've been standing square in the middle of it.  I'll tell you what my research (and my experience) indicate works in this situation.

Can You "Make" Him Love You?: I used to think that if I was able to come up with the correct words, or happened to take the appropriate actions, I could then "make" my husband have a change of heart.  What I didn't understand at the time is that men absolutely hate to feel like they are being manipulated or that you think they aren't intelligent or perceptive enough to know that you're putting on a little show.  Anything that you do has to be absolutely genuine and should not feel forced.

With that said, there is a definite strategy involved. While you can't "make" someone love you, your actions can elicit feelings of connectedness and affection.  And frankly, I believe that there isn't a whole lot of difference.  Don't get caught up on the semantics of what he's saying: ("I really do adore you, but I'm not 'in love' with you,") so much as the vibe, actions, and feelings that are bouncing between you. Because at the end of the day, it is absolutely human nature to move toward what makes you feel good and positive and to move away from what makes you feel negative.  This is sometimes unconscious, but it's just how it is.  So no matter what words he is using to verbalize it, the truth is that he's moving away from you and the marriage because he perceives both as negative, as unable to be fixed, or undesirable.  This is what you must change, no matter what words you use to define it.

Finding His Pay Off To Ellicit Feelings Of Love:  The truth of the matter is, everyone follows their perceived pay off like a rabbit follows a carrot. And a man's pay off is typically feeling like he's on top.  Men want to feel confident, worthy, competent, smart, and that they are getting the best of what life has to offer.  They don't like to settle, so don't present yourself as something that is less than the best that they can get.

When you interact with your husband, ask yourself if the person you are presenting is reading as a payoff or a consolation prize.  I know that this sounds harsh, and I don't mean for it to, but I believe that you must be honest about the situation in order to come up with the best solution to turn it around.  And, honestly, men tell me all the time that a wife who is groveling, begging, or following them around trying to change their mind is not what they really want out of life.  So, where does this leave you? Most likely changing course.  And that's OK.  It's better to stop what is no longer working than to keep walking down a path that leads to nowhere. (I learned this the hard way. More on that here.)

Presenting What Your Husband Really Wants (You Have Knowledge Of What It Is): The truth is, you know what attracts your husband because you've already had this magical combination when you were dating.  Admittedly, you are both likely two very different people today.  However, there were things about you that deeply attracted him.  This is different for everyone, but surprisingly, men often cite very similar things to me - enthusiasm, a sense of humor, a laid back attitude, an open heart, a deep commitment, caring deeply about his happiness, and understanding him like no other and loving him fiercely anyway.  I can tell you for a fact that men rarely tell me "I love my wife because she is young, beautiful, and sexy."  These are not the attributes that they cite, so don't use the excuse of "I'm not young and pretty anymore."  This doesn't matter as much as you may think.

What they really want is someone who is confident, alluring, and someone who "gets him."  They want a woman who could get by just fine without him but wants him anyway. So, don't degrade yourself.  Tell him that you're sorry that he feels the way that he does.  Calmly explain that you love him and want him to be happy, but you can't control his feelings either way.  You can control how you act and for your part, you want to be happy as well and you don't think you can be truly happy if you know that you two are not interacting as positively as you can.  So, you're not going to argue or conduct yourself in negative ways.  Then, turn your attention to what makes YOU happy and to YOUR pay off.

Many people will say "well you just told me not to be subservient, but now you've told me to make all these concessions."  True, but the concessions do a lot for your situation.  They let him know that he doesn't have to avoid you because he fears more of the same.  And you set the stage for some serious changes.  You're also putting into motion the change of perceptions that very much need to happen.  Trust me when I say that it is necessary.

In the days that come, you might have some challenges keeping this up.  But, always stop yourself if you find that you're reverting back to old behaviors.  Always keep your eye on what you really must do.  Ask yourself if you're hurting your cause or helping it.  Because if you do this correctly, you'll find him somewhat intrigued by what is causing these changes.  And, that's when the perception starts to change.  You must build on this because this is where he'll begin to see you as the pay off he's seeking rather than what he's trying to escape.

Without a doubt, I loved my husband much more than he loved me once upon a time. We were on the verge of divorce when he finally admitted this to me. I reacted quite badly and made many of the mistakes discussed in this article. Thankfully, I did not continue down that path. You can read that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

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