Often, the biggest sources of confusion in dating and marriage are the mistaken assumptions people make about one another.
Both men and women are probably equally guilty in this area. But being a husband, I can say from experience that it can be tough when a man mistakenly assumes mutual understanding about something - and there really isn't any. Inevitably, the number one offense men seem to make is that we assume our girlfriends or wives completely understand that we love them. We take for granted that they see clearly - in exactly the way we do - how much we care for and respect them.
In relationships, as in most things, actions speak louder than words. As simple as that sounds, it's not always so easy to bring yourself to show love openly and often. Maybe you've heard that saying, "If you're going to talk the talk, you'd better be able to walk the walk!" In other words, actions mean more than good intentions or even promises. This is especially true when it comes to showing love for someone else.
The Bible makes a timeless observation: "I may speak in tongues of men or of angels, but if I have no love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal" (I Cor. 13:1, "The Revised English Bible"). It takes effort to keep from becoming "as a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal." Actually demonstrating love unselfishly, in ways that wives or girlfriends (or husbands or boyfriends) understand clearly, takes resolve. It means that sometimes we have to confront fears about commitment. Or about rejection. Or it may mean that we have to swallow our pride if we've already experienced rejection, real or perceived.
In contrast with all of that, unselfish love for another person is a very freeing thing. Loving unselfishly means that we love without keeping score, without being concerned about our own fear or pride. Expressing love for each other unselfishly can fortify a relationship as nothing else can!
Why? Because God, divine Love, made His creation, including his sons and daughters, to reflect Him spiritually. The Christian Science textbook, by Mary Baker Eddy, says, "Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.
"Human affection is not poured forth vainly, even though it meet no return. Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevating it" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 57). It's natural for us all to express love in outward, visible ways. God supports us as we demonstrate the affection and care we feel for one another through our words and actions.
Expressing the qualities of God is what helps us to overcome such traits as fear and pride and jealousy and self-centeredness. We owe it to those around us, but it's just as important to ourselves, to express divine Love freely by openly demonstrating the love we have in our hearts.
There is no formula for loving one another. Everyone is an individual and has something unique to contribute to a relationship. The point is that you shouldn't hide what you have to contribute - especially when your goal is to care about your partner and not just yourself. Science and Health states, "Tender words and unselfish care in what promotes the welfare and happiness of your wife will prove more salutary in prolonging her health and smiles than stolid indifference or jealousy" (Pg. 59). (You could substitute "your husband" here, of course!)
We never need to be afraid to show love for someone. There's no reason we should be held hostage by pride or fear. We're not alone in relationships. God is with us, supporting our efforts. "Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power" (Science and Health, Pg. 192).
Proving your love is really a basic element of being Christian. Jesus Christ told his followers, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:34, 35). By the very fact that you love in this way, you are identified, not as one who just assumes that people feel loved, but as one of Jesus' present-day followers. You offer love openly and unselfishly.