Things have been going well up until the last 10 days, when I've been in a huge funk and overwhelmed with sadness. I keep thinking "is he really remorseful?" and "is he ever going to be able to love me the way I need?" and I was starting to doubt.
Then it hit me that it's as simple as his deciding to be all-in when it comes to showing me his love. For a long time, even pre-A, I'd felt insecure about his feelings for me. Looking back, I think my H was content to experience and feel love for me in his own head, but he didn't necessarily see the need to express that in any way.
Now he sees that need, and he's really trying. It frustrates him that he doesn't always know how to show me his love, so I've told him and given him ideas. But it still feels like a 70% thing...he will do those things when he's feeling good or has the time, but some days the little things get lost in the shuffle of everyday life. And they can't. I can't be the person he gets around to when everything else is taken care of. Ironic how his being such a devoted, dutiful, responsible man is what attracted me to him in the first place, yet that's also what means all his other commitments come first at times.
Anyway, I just wrote a letter to him that I haven't sent yet. I want him to know that I love him and support him, but that he has to be all in on showing me that he loves me. That's it. He can either choose to do that or not, and if he chooses to do it, I'll be there to help him. Would love thoughts and ideas...I'm planning to wait a few days before giving this to him.
I’ve realized at last what has been causing my deep sadness over the past 10 days. I thought about the things I’ve shared with you – that love for another person is expressed though your actions toward them, that remorse is an active state of making things better rather than a passive state, and that your initiating loving gestures to me is especially meaningful. And the uniting element across all three ideas is ACTION.
What’s been bothering me so much is that as much as you’ve been working to show your love to me, it feels like a 70% effort to me. You’ve said things to me lately like “it has to be a balance and not every day can be all about this” or “I’m busy focused on the kids” or “I’ve never been touchy-feeling.” That is all true, but those statements say to me that your giving acts of love to me is a lower priority than everything else. You’ll get to me if you have time, if you think of it, if you have everything else taken care of. But a love based on your schedule and plans is about you, not about me. That’s a selfish love, which really isn’t love at all. I don’t believe for a minute this is how you feel or what you mean to convey, but it’s what comes across in the 70% effort.
Love is a choice. That’s all there is to it. Our marriage should be one where each of us conveys our love to the other, every day. Period. And you have to be 100% in the game. What I’m asking for takes so little of your time or effort, really. Ten seconds to send a quick text. Grabbing some flowers for me when you’re at the store, just because. Making the effort when we wake up to turn toward me, look me in the eyes, and say good morning. Showing me your love by doing a few things every day that speak to me doesn’t take any more than you deciding that this matters and that you’re doing to do it. Every day, forever. And you should expect the same from me.
At times you’ve said that this feels forced or that you have to “feel it” to act. That’s what I took from your comment yesterday about not being a touchy-feeling person. Well, so what? That’s the vacuuming story from Love Languages. That’s why I’ve learned to enjoy soccer and skiing and fishing and all the things that are meaningful to you. You yourself have proven your willingness to step up for the people you love. You hate cooking, but every day, you make sure the kids go to school with lunch, because you love them. You don’t ever say “I’m not into cooking” or “I’m too busy today.” You make sure the kids are fed, no matter what. You cart the kids all over town for their activities not because you love driving but because you love our children and support them in pursuing their passions. You were 100% all in on speaking my love language, earlier this summer, and you were surprised to find that it made you happy as well as me. So you choose to do this for the kids every day, and you’ve chosen it at times for me. I’m asking you to choose to be all in, again, and forever.
I can’t force you to speak my love language any more than I can force you to love me. But you say you love me, and you’re already doing all sorts of things to show me. What had me so upset over the past ten days is that you’d backed off of this effort, as if to say “now I’m busy with other things” or even worse “now that we’re past the worst of the crisis with the affair, and I know you’re choosing to stay with me, I don’t have to put in as much effort.” You’ve told me over and over how important it is to you to feel connected and loved, and I need the same from you, even if my love language is different than yours. I expect this from you just as you should expect it from me. Both of us being all in is necessary if we’re going to have the marriage we want instead of the one we had. It’s not easy to get out of the old habits and learn new ways of expressing love, but I know we can do it because we’ve both already started down the path. Now I need you to show me that you mean what you say about choosing me and our marriage by making your love for me an ACTION, every day.