DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Ray," and I have been together for eight years, married for one. He is a great husband who works hard, is responsible, healthy, and he does half the household chores. He also tries to stay in great shape. We have a lot in common. My only problem is how Ray shows his love for me.
Ray says he expresses his love by doing what needs to be done -- repairs, yard work, grocery shopping, etc. I appreciate it, but it doesn't feel like love to me. I'd like him to buy me flowers, send me handwritten notes, take me to romantic candlelit dinners, etc. I reciprocate by giving him back rubs, baking him his favorite pie and buying him small gifts.
How can I get my husband to understand that it would be good for our marriage to give each other these "extra" acts of sweetness? We have talked about it, but he hasn't changed. -- DEMONSTRATING LOVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
DEAR DEMONSTRATING LOVE: You can't dictate how someone "should" express love. If the gestures you're looking for don't come naturally, it really is defeating the purpose to demand it. Many women would kill to have a husband who demonstrated his love by doing all the things your husband does.
Unless Ray has suddenly changed since your wedding, this is the person he was all during your seven-year courtship. The chances of him changing to any great degree are slim, so try to accept him the way he is, and you'll both be happier.