“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
MARRIAGE MINUTE #2: Love Languages
Knowing each other’s Love Languages is the easy part..."speaking" each other's Love Language…well, I just wish that I was as good at it as Brad is. When asked what the greatest commandments were, Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and Love your neighbor as yourself.” If we all applied those two commandments to our lives, it would be world-changing! Putting God first, loving Him together and loving each other as we would love ourselves, that would be marriage-changing! So, let’s all do it, right? Well, it’s not always so easy. Why?
Please don’t hear me saying that I don’t love my husband…I do…very much…with all my heart. But sometimes it’s easier for me to show others that I love them than it is for me to show Brad that I love him. I feel that with others---friends, neighbors or even strangers, I put all my heart into loving them, but sometimes my husband gets what’s left over. After showing love and serving others, taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, making meals, doing laundry, playing spiderman, reading books in silly voices, spending time with and encouraging friends, returning emails, planning a mom’s ministry, I wonder why I don’t have as much to give to Brad? Hmmmm…Oh, I don’t know…could I be……… tired? Yes, of course I am. But why should Brad get the tired me…the exhausted me…the I-just-want-to-go-to-sleep me?
God is really challenging me this week to love Brad as much as I would love anyone else. To put loving him as more of a priority, especially because I know what his love languages are. Not to say that it’s easy for me to always communicate using his love languages especially because we don’t “speak” in the same love languages, but at least I know where to start. At least I know what I need to work on this week to show my husband how much I truly love him by "speaking" his love languages.
Learning your spouse’s love language will change your marriage. It really will. But then you also have to apply that knowledge. And that’s when your marriage will truly thrive! Knowing your love language will help you understand how you feel loved. Knowing your spouse's love language will help you understand how your spouse feels loved. Speaking each other's love language will help you become more giving, loving, attentive. Speaking each other's love language requires thoughtfulness, effort and yes, energy. But it's worth it!
So what are the Love Languages? Well, to fully comprehend what the love languages are all about, I highly recommend that you read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman WITH your spouse. I promise that it is not only an easy read, but it is also both interesting and enlightening. Here is the world’s shortest summary of it:
There are 5 love languages—5 ways in which we feel loved and show our love to others.
1. Words of Affirmation—encouragement, way to gos, great jobs
2. Quality Time---spending time together talking, laughing, interacting (not just watching tv)
3. Receiving Gifts---special, thoughtful gifts
4. Acts of Service---housework, getting up with the kids, putting gas in the car, doing something kind and thoughtful
5. Physical Touch---massages, hugs, flirty touching, and of course, sex
I am definitely a Words of Affirmation and Quality Time woman. My husband is Acts of Service and of course, Physical Touch. Is there any guy out there who's not? Because we speak totally different love languages, it can make it more of a challenge to show each other love. A lot of times, we tend to show our spouse love in a way that we feel loved and not in the way they feel loved which is why it’s so important to know the other person’s love language. I love the story that they author tells of a couple who were completely dissatisfied with their long-term marriage. He did EVERYTHING for her—yard work, house work, anything she needed, he did it, but she was never satisfied. Dr. Chapman, knowing that the wife's love language was Quality Time not Acts of Service (which was the husband's love language), gave the husband an assignment to just sit and talk to her for 15 minutes a day. That changed everything! The husband was shocked to learn that all those years to show her love, all he needed to do was talk to her for 15 minutes instead of working his butt off doing all these things for her that didn’t even make her happy at all. I LOVE this!
Brad and I experienced something similar when, years ago, I would call him on my drive home from a rough day of teaching and needed to vent. The conversation would always end in an argument because he wanted to fix it (Acts of Service) and help me figure out how I should go about making the problem better, but that just made me even more mad and upset not only at the situation but also at him for not understanding me. After reading the book, I learned that because one of my love languages was Words of Affirmation, all I really needed from him was some encouragement. So, I told him…”Honey, from now on, please just let me talk and then say things like ‘It will all be ok’ or ‘You’ll have a better day tomorrow’ and just listen to me.” Sure enough, the next time I needed to vent, he said, “It will all be ok. You’ll have a better day tomorrow.” I just laughed. I didn’t mean for him to use the EXACT words that I gave him, but it made us both crack up.
This week, I pray that you will take steps forward in not just finding out each other’s love languages but speaking them to each other as well. Once Brad realized that he didn’t have to worry about fixing the problems I had, he couldn’t believe how much easier it was just to listen and encourage me. And that’s what he does now. He shows me that he loves me and cares for me by speaking my love language, and I really appreciate that he’s learned to do that for me. Now, I need to do a much better job “speaking” to him in his love language. I encourage you to do the same, and I promise you that “It will all be ok. You’ll have a better day tomorrow.” and so will your spouse (especially if his love language is physical touch…wink..wink).
Sorry this was longer than a minute. J Hope it was worth the extra couple of minutes. May God bless all of the marriages out there!!!