Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lasting Love - Part 4

I’m continuing my series on some of the reasons we have managed to stay together all these years. Here’s another.

4    Communication

When we were first married, I expected Larry to know what I needed by osmosis. I figured if he loved me, he’d figure it out. Didn’t happen.

I tried hinting. That didn’t work either.

I finally figured out guys were just clueless.

Fortunately, early in our marriage, we attended a couple’s retreat. The leader asked, “Are you mind readers?” We shook our heads. “Then how can either of your know what the other needs or wants? You have to tell each other. Men don’t do subtle. They need direct answers.”

I hadn’t thought about it in those terms. How could he know my needs if I didn’t tell him?
A few years later, I read the book Love, No Strings Attached. It changed my life so much that I led a study on it at church. One of the techniques the author suggests is for each partner to write two lists:
·         What I need to feel loved
·         What I do to show you my love
Then we numbered the first list from most important to least.

We exchanged lists. What a surprise! Larry didn’t know how important remembering birthdays and special occasions was to me. (Number one on my list.) I didn’t know he showed his love by washing my car. (I just thought he wanted clean cars.)

I learned to tell him when I needed something without waiting for him to figure it out on his own. And he learned to listen.

I also think it’s important to say the words, “I love you.”

Larry’s mother told me once the only time Dad told her he loved her was on their wedding day. Their pattern was that she said, “I love you, Murl,” and he replied, “Me, too.”

I used this as a theme in “Finding Love in Paradise,” my novella in our award-winning romance anthology, Directions of Love. (I also included Larry’s non-proposal in this one.)

Dad showed Mother his love her entire life, but he almost never said the words.

Larry, on the other hand, has said them often—at least two or three times a day. The words matter to me, and he knows it.

From another couples’ retreat, we learned to be more effective in our communication by using ‘on a scale from one to ten’ to indicate how much we want (or don’t want) to do something. I remember one time when Larry wanted to see a really stupid (IMHO) movie. When he asked if I wanted to go, my answer was, "Is there anything less than zero?”

He took Kim, and I took a bubble bath, got into bed, and read for the evening. We were both happy, and we both knew we’d gotten what we wanted.

How do you communicate? What kinds of things are most important to you?


  1. Great story. Reminds me of the time when my husband said he left me a love note in the car. I ransacked it at night, then in the morning. "Your love letter was lost, do you think it blew out of the car?" I asked him. he looked at me with his perplexed eyes. I did't write you a letter, I tanked up the car.

    1. Yeah, we need to be clear. Now when Larry washes my car, I know what it means. And I'm sure when you have a full tank, you do, too.