The couple sitting in the counselor’s office had been married over forty years. They had weathered financial setbacks, the rearing of two children, moving from city to city due to job changes, and countless marital disagreements. But they had finally hit their last wall and in desperation, they had come to the point of consulting a marriage counselor. Now they sat in cold silence, as they waited for the therapist to join them.

Into this tense and silent setting walked the counselor, who seated himself and turned to the wife. “Mrs. Smith, in your opinion, what seems to be the root problem that has brought you and your husband to see me today?”

Tears of frustration filled her eyes as she bit her lip. Finally gaining control of her emotions she blurted,
“He never tells me he loves me! He just blabs on about everything else in our lives. And I am sick of being taken for granted!”

Staring in astonishment at his wife, the husband then exclaimed, “What are you talking about, woman? I most certainly have told you that I love you!”

Mrs. Smith yelled back in frustration, “When? When did you tell me? You never tell me you love me!”

“On the day we got married, I said how much you mean to me and that I truly love you. And I told you then that if anything changed, I would let you know! Nothing has changed!”

If this is you, then maybe – just maybe – you might need to change your way of communicating.

A five-hour feast – forty years ago – of their favorite foods doesn’t help a hungry person today. And the words of affection you spoke to your spouse long ago doesn’t do a blessed thing for right now. Most of us need to hear that we are loved just-a-leetle-more-often than that. Granted, you may be one of those strong silent types, not comfortable expressing your deep feelings. You prefer showing your love by doing, not talking. Understandable. But here is the problem: Your loved one needs you to give them those words. Their ears and eyes feed their heart. And if the heart is starving, then a lonely hunger begins, and hunger feeds resentment.

This truth applies to more than spouses. Many a child goes through kidhood, never getting a lot of ‘Atta-boy!’ from his parents – and eventually grows into an adult with a lingering, deeply buried sense of frustration and low self-esteem. Parents, words of encouragement and love have more effect on the well-being of your child than anything else does in this life.

You have the power to give a loved one a great head-start on their day. Go ahead and praise little Johnny for only spilling his orange juice once at breakfast. Hug your prickly, sulky teenager as she flounces out the door. Stop rushing around and make time to tell your spouse you love them.

Make their day brighter – and probably their life.

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