My wife and I are still within our first year of marriage and I just got a new job and have been traveling for training. I also worked a second job the last two months because I knew we would be in between checks. So things have been really, really busy.
She told me today the I don’t appreciate her for what she does. We haven’t had a date in a month, and she mentioned that I don’t do little things like write her a note or send flowers for no reason or just massage her feet without her asking.
I guess I don’t know how to express that I appreciate her, especially when I’m exhausted. Honestly, I’m frustrated since I’m burning the candle at both ends. I think it’s silly to always have to say and do these “little” things when she knows how I feel about her, and with what little time I have right now I want to do nothing but fall asleep.
What can I do?
I understand what you’re saying about feeling that your wife is being sort of demanding, maybe a little petty, perhaps a bit needy. After all, you’re in love, you’re newlyweds, and you’re working your ass off to contribute to the financial stability of your household. But….ya gotta maintain your relationship. It’s not enough to simply come home at the end of the day. God willing, your marriage will be the longest and single most important relationship in your life. It needs to be nurtured, not just when you feel like it, but consistently.
It’s like having a workout plan, right? You want to be fit long-term, so you work out 4 days a week now, in order to achieve that goal in the long run. Even the days you don’t want to workout because it’s raining or you didn’t sleep well, you do. So it is with the fitness of a marriage–you put in the time now for the payoff later. That bod ain’t gonna be fit come July if you’re not getting on the treadmill in November.
What she wants...
You say you don’t know how to let your wife know she’s appreciated, but it sounds like she has given you the road map: flowers, love notes, and foot massages. The flowers you can easily and quickly pick up at the grocery store, since you probably have to go there once in a while anyway. Or, you can order them in about three minutes online. A love note can be a single piece of paper that says, “You’re so beautiful” that you tape on the mirror in the bathroom so she sees it when she wakes up. Or it can be a text in the middle of the day–“Thinking of you and hoping you’re having a good day, sweetie.”
The foot massage, well, I don’t blame you for not wanting to do that when you’re exhausted and probably would appreciate one yourself, but physical intimacy–massages, caresses, kisses, hugs, sex–is critical to your marriage. Don’t feel like it? Fake it until you do. Massage each foot (in a sweet, generous manner–no eye rolling or heavy sighing) for three minutes. That’s six minutes out of your life, six minutes you can spare, and the payoff is a wife who feels loved.
…and what she actually gets. Womp, womp.
The flip side of all this, though, is that YOU need to feel appreciated and loved, too, and I’d gather that your needs in that area aren’t being met either. Otherwise you’d be more enthusiastic about showing your wife that you love her. Think about what you want. My guess would be you wouldn’t mind hearing her say, on a regular basis, something along the lines of, “I know you work so hard, and I really appreciate it.” Maybe you’d love to have her take the dog out in the morning once in a while so that you could get an extra fifteen minutes of sleep. What do you need to feel that your marriage is a sanctuary from the stresses of the outside world?
Basically, you and your wife have to meet in the middle. She needs to cut you some slack and understand that this is a season in your relationship where you’re exhausted and you just don’t have the energy to be Mr. Romantic. And you need to spend just a little more time trying to show that even in the most stressful of times, she is still your first priority.
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