Tom - you say you wish your W had been more direct with you, and then tell Steve you don't think being that direct (you say lecture but not sure how that was a lecture) is a way to teach....

Overall, your retelling of this is very dismissive of your wife's feelings. You list a lot of things that you did that you feel she should be grateful for, but - did you ever actually ask her if that's what she wanted? Love language stuff is very real and very helpful to read up on. If I saw my H putting in a lot of effort into stuff that I didn't exactly want/ask for, and if I saw he continued to do that instead of putting his efforts where I asked, I'd be put off, too. My H and I have struggled with this in the past. I likened it to: if I theoretically/metaphorically asked him to weed the front garden bed, and then I see he spends all of his time/energy/effort on doing the entire yard - mowing, edging, the whole shebang - but then I see he didn't weed the garden bed. So I'd say hey, you didn't weed the garden bed, which is all I asked for, and he would feel dejected and unappreciated because of the amount of effort he put in that I didn't "see." I see it, and acknowledge it, but it didn't help where I said I needed help. The majority of your posts read like this - you put in a ton of effort into a bunch of things and are confused when she isn't falling at your feet grateful. It sounds like over time she was pretty specific in terms of what she said she wanted with you, but you just didn't do it. Like others said, it's easy to be complacent. If you are aware of and speak to your SOs love language, its more efficient and makes a huge difference - it shows you're listening.

You say it's a "woman's way to give 100 hints" - is it a man's way to ignore them? Just because she didn't handle something the way you want her to doesn't mean it's not as valuable. See entire thing above and here is the flipside - she put a ton of effort into telling you something, but didn't do it in the way that you would have best heard it, so you both end up frustrated.