Maybe some of your friends' marriages are breaking up. Or maybe, inexplicably, they're holding together even though the two partners are no longer in love. Whatever has triggered your recent bout of insecurity, you could use some reassurance that your husband still loves you. We're all human, after all, and prone to worries and fears. And besides: psychologists say it's a good idea to conduct a marital “checkup” from time to time. Although no two marriages are alike, they would tell you it's generally true that many men don't always express what they feel. (Women are better at this skill.) Still, you can rest assured of your husband's ongoing love and devotion if you recognize him in these seven traits.
1. He is Unfailingly Loyal
Most people value fidelity in marriage, but it comes in other forms besides sexual fidelity. No, you shouldn't have to worry where your husband is – or who he's with – when he's late coming home from work. A loyal husband also has his wife's back – speaking highly of her when she's not around, looking out for her interests and pursuing ways to make her life better and easier. Over the course of a marriage, you may face chapters where it seems as though it really is a matter of you and your husband against the world. A loyal husband stands up to myriad challenges.
2. He Trusts You
Trust is another quality that people define differently. To you, if could mean more than someone who doesn't sift through receipts in your purse, search your internet browsing history or “dial back” numbers on your phone. (These are qualities of a suspicious person.) You will know that you have attained the “brass ring” when you trust your husband completely, with virtually everything, and he extends the same faith in you. You don't have to check up on him and he never checks up on you. Trust should be inviolate.
3. He Makes You His Priority
You are the center of his universe, and he puts you first in matters and decisions big and small. In general, men understand the feeling of being subjugated, especially when they're “competing” against the needs and wants of demanding children. Despite the potential for so much interference in life, a man who loves his wife regards her as the family beacon and so puts her needs and interests first.
4. He Builds You Up
Pride and respect motivate a man to become his wife's biggest cheerleader – the one from whom she draws a great deal of her self-esteem and self-worth. It can be easy to take this admirable trait for granted, so take a step back and ask yourself: When you're feeling down and need positive reinforcement, is your husband the one who restores you?
5. He is Protective
It seems to be in men's DNA to protect, though women can perceive protection as control. There may be some truth in this, but a man who loves his wife does try to protect her from real and imagined threats to make her feel safe – even if this means taking control over a situation. Protection is rooted in love.
6. He Treats Your Happiness as His Happiness
The saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life.” And this doesn't mean that a man will become subservient to a demanding, unrealistic woman. Rather, it means that a wise and loving man does what he can to ease his wife's anxiety or unhappiness, investing his time and energy to see her truly happy.
7. He Listens – and Watches You
It's fairly easy to catch anybody looking off into the distance if you talk long enough, and husbands probably have the most opportunities to get caught in this behavior. Since women have the stronger “gift for gab,” they should also know that a man who simply sits and listens during a venting session has the gift of patience, fortified by love. A quick, sideways glance shouldn't distract you from the realization that the bigger, love-confirming nonverbal cues – a steady gaze, a sympathetic nod – matter much more.
...But What if He Falls Short?
In their totality, these seven traits could spawn other fears: that your husband falls short of the mark because he does not exhibit these traits all the time. In fact, unless you're married to the world's only perfect man, he most likely doesn't. There may be times when he forgets to ask you what you want from your favorite takeout restaurant (so much for prioritizing you) or when you have to raise your voice to compete with the football game on TV (so much for hanging on your every word). He might rather have you home early on weeknights than take that time-monopolizing job at work (so much for being your biggest cheerleader). If these seven traits describe him on his very best day, then you already know the answer: Yes, your husband loves you.