Jim and Mary have been married for 10 years but can’t seem to see eye-to-eye on almost anything. The more they tried to please each other and show love to each other, the more emotionally distant they became. Neither could figure out what the problem was, as they both really felt they were trying to make things work. Jim did all kinds of things for Mary to show his love; he changed the oil in her car, he never cheated on her, he had stopped drinking with coworkers after work, and he tolerated what he saw as her dysfunctional family.
Mary also felt she was trying hard to show her love for Jim. She did most of the household chores, she constantly shared events from her day with him,she constantly inquired as to what was wrong if he sat quietly and didn’t talk much, and she verbally told him often that she loved him.
Neither Jim nor Mary felt loved by the other, even though Jim showed love to Mary in his way and Mary showed love to Jim her way.Â Unfortunately, like many couples, they were on different love “channels” and thusly were not communicating with each other. This lead to constant frustration and anger, since both were trying hard, yet nothing was happening.
We all have certain “channels” that others can use to make us feel loved by them. Problem is that we assume that our channel is the same as our partner’s channel. This often is not the case.Â Some people feel loved mostly through verbal expressions of love which others feel most loved when others do things for them, buy them gifts, or show physical affection toward them.
To improve their marriage, Jim needed to verbally tell Mary more often that he loved her and also to talk to her more about how he felt about things,especially their relationship. For her part, Mary needed to show more physical expressions of love, as this was extremely important to Jim. When we make a real effort to give our partners what they need to feel loved, (even if we don’t understand it, or it seems so different from how we personally feel loved), we may find that this inspires our partners to reciprocate and start giving us what we need.