This article is inspired by two things: 1) Iyanla Vanzant’s tips on how to ask for what you want in an ancient issue of Oprah magazine; and 2) a reader’s comment about her husband. She doesn’t have to ask him if he still loves her because she already knows the answer.
“My husband and I have been married for over 18 years,” says a reader on How to Know if Your Husband Still Loves You. “A year ago he left me and got back with his first wife, the mother of his children. She hurt him badly by cheating on him and having a child with another man. Now my husband says he loves me, not her. He has discussed getting back with me a number of times but never followed up. In the past he has told me he doesn’t love me anymore, but he wants to remain my friend. What he says and does are two different things. He hasn’t started divorce proceedings, and he tells me I look nice. He acts as though he still cares. Recently on his birthday I sent a poem telling my husband I still love him. He thanked me for the card but that was it. I really don’t know what to think. I still love and miss him so much, is there any chance for us or should I give up?”
That’s a good question to ask her husband. “I still love you and miss what we had together. Is there a chance we can save our marriage?” Talking to him may not give simple or clear answers, and it may hurt. But he and you are the only two people in the world who have the power to answer that question…and to change your future as a couple.
These five tips won’t tell you if you can save your marriage. They will, however, help you clarify what you need from your husband, ask if he still loves you, and accept his response with peace and grace.
5 Tips for Asking Your Husband if He Loves You
You may have heard that old cliche, “them that don’t ask, don’t get.” Or maybe you’re familiar with Jesus’s words in Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Asking your husband if he still loves you can be healthy and good — and it might even improve your marriage! But talking to God — praying — first is the surest, deepest and truest foundation of peace, joy and freedom. If you’re spiritually and emotionally grounded, your marriage can thrive despite the circumstances.
“In my deepest, darkest moments, what really got me through was a prayer,” says Iyanla Vanzant, author of Get Over It! Thought Therapy for Healing the Hard Stuff. “Sometimes my prayer was ‘Help me.’ Sometimes a prayer was ‘Thank you.’ What I’ve discovered is that intimate connection and communication with my creator will always get me through because I know my support, my help, is just a prayer away.”
1. Understand what lies beneath your question
Before you ask your husband anything, ask yourself a few questions first. What brought you to this point in your marriage? Maybe you’ve been married a long time, and simply need a relationship tuneup. Maybe your husband disappointed or betrayed you — or maybe you suspect your husband of cheating on you. What are you really asking for when you’re asking your husband if he still loves you? What do you need from your husband…and does he have the power or ability to give it to you?
Try to understand what you’re really asking for. The wife who left the comment above wants to know if her marriage can be saved. Sometimes there’s a question beneath the question, such as “Am I still a lovable wife?” or “Are you happy married to me?” It can be difficult to understand our own motivations and needs, but it’s a powerful way to discover the truth. Know what you need. Try to discern why you need it and what’s going on inside you. This will help you talk to your husband authentically and honestly…and it’ll also help you accept his answer.
2. Accept that your question will cost you something
“Every request comes with a cost—there is no free lunch,” says Iyanla Vanzant, author of Trust: Mastering the Four Essential Trusts: Trust in Self, Trust in God, Trust in Others, Trust in Life. “For instance, asking for a raise may mean a tense conversation with your boss—and if you’re successful, nine times out of then the raise will come with additional responsibilities. That’s the cost: You have to be willing to do what’s required. We cannot enjoy the benefit if we can’t accept the price.”
Asking your husband if he still loves you will cost your pride. You have to lay down your ego, set aside your pride, and humbly ask for the love you want. The cost is that you’ll feel scared or embarrassed, maybe even humiliated. And that’s normal! It’s not fair that you as a wife should be searching for tips on how to ask your husband if he still loves you. Of course you’re embarrassed and hurt. Let yourself feel the pain. Accept that this is where you are right now — but it won’t always be this way. Allow yourself to feel hurt and lonely when your husband doesn’t have time for you or dismisses your feelings. Just be aware that every ask — and every “yes” or “no” answer — will cost you and your marriage something.
3. Don’t let fear stop you talking to your husband
No matter how hurt or embarrassed you feel, don’t let fear hold you back. Be brave and bold; your courage has the power to change your marriage and life! Learn the difference between sharing your feelings versus accusing or shaming your husband. Allow yourself to feel scared, anxious and hurt. It may be wise to learn how to stop fear from controlling you so you can take the risk of asking your husband if he still loves you. Admit and accept that it’s scary to ask someone for the love you need…and ask anyway. If you have the courage to ask your husband for love, you increase your chances of receiving love.
“Fear is an obstacle that blocks your capacity to receive,” says Iyanla, author of Peace From Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through. “I’m not just talking about the fear of making your voice heard. I’m also talking about the fear of getting what you want and realizing it’s not all you’d hoped it would be, the fear of the responsibility that will come with it, the fear of losing it, and the fear of what will happen if you don’t get it. These are all common fears, and they can get in the way of asking for the things you yearn for.”
4. Ask for what you need with trust and curiosity
There is a difference between trusting that your needs will be met even if your husband doesn’t love you, and emotionally smothering your husband. Give him space and freedom to tell you the truth about how he feels. Allow your husband to respond without judging, criticizing or condemning him. Give yourself the same gift: the freedom and space to feel how you feel. Don’t judge, criticize or condemn yourself. Learn how to accept and love yourself, your husband and your marriage.
“When you do not believe you deserve whatever you’re asking for—if you don’t believe you’re worthy—you are not open to receiving it and, more often than not, you will not get it,” says Iyanla. “That’s how the universe works: If you don’t put your trust in it, it won’t deliver.”
5. Ask with hope, but without expectation
“When you want something, you may be required to ask more than once—and you can’t get too attached to the manner through which you receive it,” says Iyanla, who also wrote Living Through the Meantime: Learning to Break the Patterns of the Past and Begin the Healing Process. “If you want love, ask for it—but know that it might take awhile and may not come from the partner you expect. If you want a fulfilling career, understand that you may get it, but perhaps not in the field, position, or time frame you anticipate. Asking for and receiving what you want means keeping the faith that you will get it, even if the outcome doesn’t look the way you thought it would.”
That’s my favorite tip on how to ask your husband if he still loves you: Be open, courageous and clear about what you want and need…but expect anything. Be open and willing to accept how your marriage unfolds. Trust that God really does love you and want the best for you (learn what that means!), and that there are blessings in the “no’s” and challenges in the “yes’s.”
Your big and little comments are welcome below. You might also want to practice talking to your husband in writing, in your private journal or even here. Writing is a fantastic way to untangle your thoughts and process your emotions. Asking your husband if he still loves you is a difficult thing to do; the more you can work through it before you talk to him, the smoother the conversation may go.
In peace and passion,
P.S. Do you feel insecure or anxious about asking your husband for what you want and need? Read How to Stop Feeling Insecure in Your Relationships.