My dear Jil, it’s important you distinguish between love and sentimental expression of love. The two are not the same and if you don’t distinguish them you may break your marriage. A man may deeply and sincerely love you but may be poor at sentimental expression. That he is lacking in the sentimental department doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, he just needs to work on that. Of course, your feelings are legitimate, a man ought to express his love and appreciation to his wife. But you can’t say a man who works so hard to take care of you doesn’t love you. That will be unfair.
To the man – and this is a male perspective, taking care of family is the greatest expression of love. Of course, a woman may have a different view but that’s the male perspective like I said. Men and women have different worldviews concerning expression and administration of love. What he hasn’t realised however is that those sentiments mean the word to you. They appeal to something deep. He’s of course, careless not to pay attention to your emotional need. You NEED those sentimental expressions. I realise for you, it alleviates that feeling of inadequacy, that feeling of needing to be wanted. These are quite natural. But men learn in marriage as they go along, as do women. You’ll be shocked the things you need to learn about. Marriage is a school of life. For example you both need to learn about each other’s sleeping temperament. Yes, sleeping temperament. Some people are light sleepers, some are heavy sleepers. Some sleep in the dark, some in the light. Some people sleep early, some sleep late. Some people sweat in sleep, some don’t break a sweat. When sleeping temperaments are crossed, there’s a need for balance and accommodation. There are so many things you have to observe about each other, things you need to accommodate. Your marriage is young.
To say he doesn’t love you because he missed your birthday will be unfair to him given his sense of responsibility. Truth be told, many men don’t even remember their own birthday! Many men who remember their wife’s birthday use “cheat” methods. They probably programmed it on their phone, or their secretary or sister reminds them. I’m just saying certain sentiments don’t come naturally to men. It’s why the man needs to work on those things. And sometimes a man is so preoccupied with trying to provide for his family he forgets some things. If he’s chronically deficient in remembering birthdays, you need to institute a self-help system. You can make sure his secretary reminds him. Or you can make sure YOU remind him well in advance with cues. Or you can simply go shopping and send him an affordable invoice. Buy the present you want him to buy and thank him. I’m just saying these kinds of things are not worth breaking up your marriage. They’re trivial in the scheme of things.
Now, am I absolving him? Of course not! He’s being careless forgetting. Carelessness is dangerous in marriage. But you must not use this as opportunity to compile dossiers of accusation against your husband. That’s also dangerous. Compiling accusations against a spouse never leads to anywhere good. It’s prosecutorial. You need to dial down those feelings of hurt and have forbearance. Love forbears. I’m sure you’re not perfect too. He may just be more absorbent and less vocal about your imperfections. How do you know for example that you give him the kind of sex he really desires? He may just decide to accept whatever you offer. You can see I’m being real with you. You don’t even know if he likes some of the dishes you serve, but he eats them. Men tend to accept such things and swallow them. They view complaints as too bothersome. But that he doesn’t complain doesn’t mean he doesn’t have issues. He may just love you so much it doesn’t matter. If it means so much to you, programme his phone to remind him of your birthday. You know he won’t remember.
Now, you can’t say you’ll rather have those sentimental expressions rather than everything he provides. That’s not exactly true and you know it. You’ve not thought through the implications of that. Would you rather marry an irresponsible man who can’t fend for his family but keeps cooing “I love you”? That’s irresponsible love. Would you respect such a man? Won’t you get frustrated at taking care of him? Love is first of all dutiful before being sentimental. Love is responsibility. The sentimentalism of love is like icing on a cake. You’ve got to have the cake. Love has to be responsible first. You won’t want to marry a guy who has no care about rent, utility bills, school fees, etcetera. Or you just want a stud? And so when you have a loving and devoted guy who’s failing in a minor department you don’t condemn the totality of him. You sit down and talk things over. If it’s so difficult for him, you accommodate some things though you keep prodding. Of course, it’s better he remembers your birthday without a prod, but these things don’t come naturally to many men. You can’t just isolate him from humanity and lay blame on him. Talk to men and you’ll be shocked about your findings.
When he does make effort encourage him to do more by appreciating what he does. That’s wisdom. It’s easy to fantasize breaking up a marriage over nothing but if you’re wise you won’t give Satan a foothold. Both of you need to work together on each other. You need to work on those feelings of yours by the way. Truth is, those feelings may actually have nothing to do with birthday. You may be channelling other stuff. Can you imagine him saying you don’t love him despite all you do to make him happy and comfortable? That’s the point. So stop compiling a charge sheet against your husband. Tear it up! You’re not public prosecutor. What I suspect though is that your courtship wasn’t deep enough, or maybe you rushed into marriage. You didn’t have enough time to really know each other. Courtship is when you make peace with what can’t be changed. Sit down as a couple and talk things over. Tell him how important these things are to you. Suggest to him how to overcome his sentimental challenges, but do it in love. Don’t be accusatory. Don’t break your marriage over a triviality.
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org
For related letter, search for Revenge at http://jacknjillive.com
For business & career resources, live video sessions and answers to entrepreneurial and business questions, join Squaretable – my business and career mentoring platform. Visit www.lekealder.com/squaretable to subscribe.
*Please don’t leave without clicking the SHARE button below.Compiling accusations against a spouse never leads to anywhere good. Click To Tweet