Have you ever noticed that your husband doesn’t do things the way you do? (Yes, cue, “Did she really just say that?” eye-roll.) But really, whether it’s parenting, romance, or folding the laundry, I’m willing to bet that you and your husband approach things differently. This difference in perspective can be beautiful, and I believe with all of my heart it was intentional by our Creator. Yet, at the same time, depending on how we handle these differences, they can cause a lot of heartache in our marriages.

One of the easiest ways to identify an issue caused by these differences is the phrase, “If he loved me….”

  • “If he loved me, I wouldn’t have to keep showing him how I want the towels folded.”

  • “If he loved me, then he would plan a date night for us, and I wouldn’t always have to be the one to do it.”

  • “If he loved me, he wouldn’t keep leaving his dirty socks on the floor so that I have to pick them up.”

These are just a few of the “If he loved me” phrases I’ve heard (and, ahem, perhaps even said) over the years.

I believe this line of thinking is fairly common among women, however, there are a few reasons it is downright dangerous for our marriages:


It leads to expecting our husband to be a mind-reader. Sometimes we expect our husband to naturally understand and give love the way we do. This leads us to think that if he really loved us we wouldn’t have to tell him what we need from him, he would know. At other times, we have an unspoken number of times that a gentle reminder is appropriate. Until we hit that mark, life is peachy, but once we cross the threshold into the land of “You Should Remember By Now,” the tempest is building, and the storm clouds are overhead.

When we are dealing with behaviors that leave us feeling loved and cherished (or the lack of those behaviors), it gets messy and emotional in a hurry. When we are feeling hurt and perhaps even unseen, we forget that it takes anywhere from 18 days to almost a full year of consistency to form a new habit (https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-form-a-habit#base-figure). This is even more difficult for our husbands because, unlike the song, “If I Could Make a Living Out of Loving You,” they can’t spend the majority of their energy learning these things. They still have to work, be a daddy, serve the church, etc.


It keeps us from seeing how they are showing their love. I’m truly ashamed to acknowledge it, but there were many times early in our marriage when I deeply hurt my husband. He would spend time and effort to do something for me, yet if it didn’t match my expectations, I would be visibly disappointed. I didn’t always feel loved by him because I had a very narrow definition of how a husband and wife should show their love for each other. Not to mention that when I was having my little pity party, it was much easier to see what he wasn’t doing than to look for what he was doing.


The most important reason the “If He Loved Me” train of thought is dangerous is that it is simply not biblical. I believe that 1 Peter 3:7 is hands down the most overlooked and ignored verse in Scripture when it comes to marriages. “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Notice the end of this verse, “so that your prayers may not be hindered.” Ladies, that’s huge! Our husbands should truly know us, and the consequence, if they don’t, is that their ability to go before our Father in prayer is hindered! We must keep this in mind because I also believe how well our husbands know us is a two-way street.

Early on in our ministry, my husband and I decided it would be a ton of fun to have a couple’s Christmas party for the congregation. Boy, did we stick our foot in it! All of the games we played were centered around how well the couples knew each other. For the gift exchange, each husband/wife brought an unwrapped gift for their spouse. We had one table for the husband’s gifts and one for the wife’s gifts. When it was your turn you were supposed to go pick the gift you thought your spouse had brought for you. For another game, each couple sat back to back and described what the other wore to the party that evening. One husband didn’t even know what color his wife’s eyes were! At times, everyone was laughing and having a great time. But at other times, I really wondered if we were going to end the night by scheduling counseling sessions!

For their part, truly knowing us must be a priority for our husbands. Particularly if you have been married for years, he should have some idea of your favorite (and probably least favorite) foods, candies, music, ways to relax, etc. He should certainly know your eye color! He should know what makes you feel cherished, what makes you feel insecure, and what makes you feel safe.

Yet oftentimes, if he doesn’t know these things, it’s not due to a lack of effort on his part. It is not uncommon for us as women to play the “If you loved me” card and leave them guessing. This isn’t fair, it isn’t healthy, and it isn’t the way to fulfill 1 Peter 3:7.

So what do we do? If we as husbands/wives don’t know each other as we should if we don’t know each other on the deeply intimate level referred to in 1 Peter 3:7, how do we begin to learn more about each other? Here’s a list of suggestions to get you started:

  1. Read…In particular, there are two books that I recommend hands-down for every couple: His Needs/Her Needs by Dr. Willard F. Harvey and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Me not only did I learn a lot about my husband while going through these books with him, but I also learned a lot about myself. If you absolutely aren’t a reader, you can also hop on the 5 Love Languages website and take the quiz there: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/love-language.

  2. Be patient with each other and willing to repeat things…I know that as an individual, I’m still searching and learning things about myself on a regular basis. How can I possibly expect my husband to fully understand me? I’m a work in progress, and so is he, so as we learn and grow as individuals and a couple we need to encourage and share that growth with each other.

  3. Communicate…Be willing to talk to your husband about how you are feeling and why. As your marriage grows and matures, continue to ask each other questions, “Out of this or this, which would you prefer and why?” “What’s one thing I could do this week to show you that I appreciate you?” “What’s one thing I do that makes you feel loved?” “What’s one thing I do that is hurtful to you?” These types of questions are so important for true understanding, and the reality is that the answers to these questions will often change as we change and grow as people. However, continuing to ask helps ensure that we are changing and growing together instead of apart.

Sisters, understanding is so vitally important in our marriages. It’s biblically commanded. Let’s do our best to avoid the destructive “If he loved me” mindset and truly focus on opening up and developing the intimate connection God desires in our marriages.

Lacy Crowell
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Lacy Crowell is the Dean of Students at Freed Hardeman University in Henderson, TN. She has been married to the love of her life, Jonathan, for over 20 years. They are blessed with four amazing kiddos whom Lacy has had the privilege of homeschooling. She has also served alongside her husband in full-time ministry for 15 years.  She is a graduate of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her great joy is working to help others become excited about studying God’s word, and helping couples thrive in their marriages. She is a member of the Come Fill Your Cup team and the author of two Bible study books for women: Proclaimed – Jesus the Messiah which is a study of the Gospel of Mark, and Pursued – God’s Plan for Intimacy in Marriage: a study of the Song of Solomon.