Relationships are not all rainbows and happiness. The truth is that while great relationships can be one of the best things in your life, they take constant work and upkeep. It’s easy to get bogged down going through the motions of life, work, and family, letting your relationship and the love you share take a backseat.
When that happens, talking with your partner to acknowledge what is going on is key. Many couples can work out small ways to show each other they care.
But what happens if your partner tells you that they don’t know what makes them feel loved? That can be a difficult situation for you both.
At Rock Solid Relationships, we counsel many different types of couples with their own unique challenges. We know that sometimes it is difficult for a partner to express what the other can do to make them feel loved.
The good news is that you’ve taken the first step in simply asking. Now it’s time to get to the heart of the matter by using a few helpful strategies.
Have Them Keep a Journal
We don’t always remember the specific things and times when we feel loved. A journal can help with this. When your partner notices that they are having these feelings, encourage them to record what is going on around them that inspires these feelings of love and appreciation.
It can also be useful for them to identify the times they’re not feeling loved. This can be a great way to help the conversation proceed, as the answer to what makes them feel loved can often be found in what happens when they’re not feeling loved.
Use Key #2!
In our book, Rock Solid Relationship: Seven Keys to Restore Your Connection & Make Your Love Last, we spend much of the chapter “Key #2: Love is a Verb” helping people understand what actions they need in order to feel loved.
For instance we have an exercise in which both partners write down 10 things that their partner has done in the past that made them feel loved. And those who feel a bit lost on the things that make them feel loved can read about their love languages, romantic suggestions, and more in order to have a menu of ideas to choose from!
Don’t just ask them once — keep asking. Periodically check in with your partner to see if they’ve thought it through and how they’re feeling.
While it is incredibly important for the information about what makes your partner feel loved to actually come from them, there are still ways for you to help. Pay close attention to how they react to various types of interactions so that you notice what they light up about.
Don’t just take this and run with it, though. While it might seem obvious to you why they’re lighting up, science (and the entire history of human interaction) has taught us that we’re not so great at guessing what others are thinking and feeling.
And if you guess wrong about what makes them feel loved and miss the mark, you’re likely to feel less inclined to keep trying. It’s not fun to put in the effort and feel like you’re failing.
Instead, when you see this positive reaction, talk to them about it. Ask what made them feel that way. Get them to think deeper about it.
Generally speaking, the more you can do this — make them think about, essentially, their love language — the more likely they are to realize what causes them to have those feelings and be able to share them with you.
What Should You Not Do?
When situations like this arise, you may be tempted to reach out to your partner’s close friends and family. The idea is that those who know your partner the best may be able to help shed some light on what they think makes your partner feel loved.
There are certain situations where this is okay. For example, if you wanted to surprise your partner and were struggling to come up with good ideas.
However, it’s generally not the best idea. Why? Because as we touched on above, it’s ultimately more important for individuals to define what makes them feel loved and cared about themselves rather than deferring to what those on the outside know.
Remember, relationships are an investment. The dividends will only come when you pay into it, so make sure you’re constantly striving to ensure your partner feels loved and appreciated.
If you are looking for ways to help make your love last, we encourage you to check out Norene and Tim’s award-winning book yourself to help you find what you’re looking for.