You continually ask your husband to spend more time with you and he schedules a day to wash the car, clean the garage, and sweep the yard. You make breakfast for your wife every morning and she grabs a bagel instead and heads out the door always saying "thank you" but never leaving a kiss goodbye.
At the end of day; you are both left feeling unloved, devalued, and misunderstood. And yet, you didn't argue and things were accomplished. Anyone would look in from the outside and say, you both seem happy, and yet there's a disconnect.
How we love one another goes far deeper than the concept of "I like affection" vs. "I'd rather you just say I love you" or "I like when we go hiking" versus "I'd rather just sit on the couch and look at you all day." Yes, these are ways of loving and we all have preferences, but if it's just a preference, why do we feel deeply wounded when this preference isn't met?
Milan & Kay Yerkovitch share this personal journey of frustrating patterns that lead to deeper and deeper wounds dating back to early attachment. In their book, How We Love, they define various "love styles" and how these interlace with your spouse. It's more than just defining how you love but learning where your desires truly stem from and how your spouse can meet those needs while they have desires of their own. We highly suggest you take a look at Milan & Kay's work. Start out by taking a little quiz and see how the results may relate to what you've been sensing. If your marriage has been going around in circles for years, then please know, that one, you are not alone, and two, there is something you can do to change that.