I know this isn't your usual holiday post like most of my blogging friends are writing at this time of year. But it's something that is on my heart right now, so I need to write it.
I should warn you...this may get a little PG 13 or even R rated toward the end, so with that in mind, either X out of the site now or read on.
Hopefully this post does not apply to you. Hopefully you & your spouse are in it for the long haul and are facing no 'issues' -- or at least not ones that have you heading to a divorce attorney. Unfortunately, several close friends of mine are not on the 'long haul' boat right now and my heart is breaking for them. None of these couples entered into their marriage with divorce on their minds. None of them got married & said "if this doesn't work out, we'll just break it off later on". They all intended to be married 'til death do us part'. But in every case, somewhere along the way, something happened. Someone's feelings were hurt, which led to bitterness, which led to anger.....or someone else caught their eye....or a need went unmet for too long....or any of a hundred other reasons. Whatever it was, each of these couples have slowly fallen apart. It's a slow fade from falling in love to falling apart. None of these couples reached this place overnight.
In an ideal world, people would follow God's commands where relationships are concerned. They would wait until they were of an appropriate age to begin dating/courting. They would wait until their honeymoon to have sex. They would always seek their spouse's best interest and yearn to live a life that works for both partners. They would spend their days looking for ways to please their spouse and encourage them in life. But alas, we don't live in that world.
In an effort to help some of my friends and whomever else might be reading this, I'd like to quickly touch on the 5 Love Languages. I am so far beyond grateful for reading this book years ago. It has given me a perspective on marriage that has been life-altering. You see, when you really understand what it is your spouse needs to feel loved & you make a conscious effort to act in that manner, many problems dissolve. How many times have you heard a person say "I just don't GET him/her" in reference to their spouse? That's where this comes in. When you really understand the way your spouse needs to be loved, you won't be frustrated & bitter that he/she is not responding to the things you're doing/saying for him/her. Maybe what you're doing/saying is not his/her love language...in which case, you might as well go beat your head against a wall because your greatest efforts aren't going to amount to much.
The first love language is Words of Affirmation. Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important— hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirit skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Encouragement & support are vital to you. Feeling like your spouse is your biggest cheerleader in life is huge! Mark Twain once said – “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Psychologist William James said that possibly the deepest human need is the need to feel appreciated. Haven't we all, at some time or other, felt that we just weren’t being appreciated – that we were simply being taken for granted? If ‘Words of Affirmation” is our Love language then we will especially sensitive in this area. And on the other hand, we will also respond most warmly to words of affirmation and appreciation. Words of Affirmation need only be simple expressions like - ‘That dress looks fantastic on you.’ or ‘You look fabulous in that suit’ or ‘I really admire you for all the hard work you put into that job day after day that provides for the family.’ or “That was a great meal you cooked – exactly what I felt like.” How often do you say those or similar words of affirmation to your husband or your wife? If ‘words of affirmation’ is your spouse's love language – then in using those kinds of words to him or her you are strengthening (affirming) his or her spirit, and filling up their love tank. If you haven’t been doing that frequently – then their love tank is going to be dangerously empty – and like all the other love languages – if you don’t speak the love language your spouse understands, the result will be a vacuum in their love-tank. And as we know, vacuums will always attract something or someone to fill it.
The second love language is Quality Time. In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. One "dialect" of this love language is Conversation. In other words, undistracted talking with your spouse about something more than the weather, is high priority. A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity. Togetherness has to do with focused attention. A husband who is watching sports on television while he talks to his wife is not giving her quality time, because she does not have his full attention. A husband and wife playing tennis together, if it is genuine quality time, will focus not on the game, but on the fact that they are spending time together.
Since this one is my top love language, you would think I'd have lots more to say about it. But I don't. It just boils down to one thing: pay attention to your spouse & spend undivided time with them.
The third love language is Gifts. Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. A gift is something that you can hold in your hand and say, "Look, he was thinking of me," or "She remembered me." You must be thinking of someone to give a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn't matter if it costs money. Gifts need not to expensive, nor must they be given weekly. But for some individuals, their worth has nothing to do with monetary value and everything to do with love.
The fourth love language is Acts of Service. Can vacuuming the floors or taking out the trash really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Doing something for your spouse that you know they would like for you to do. Cooking a meal, washing dishes, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, changing the baby’s diaper, and painting the bedroom, etc. Similar to the previous love language, the acts of service language is not so much about the act itself, but more about the way the receiver can see "He really saw my need & went out of his way to meet it." or "She knew I needed to get that done but didn't have time, so she did it for me." It's less about the act & more about the thought & effort that went into it.
The final love language is Physical Touch. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy-feely. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial. Hold her hand at the movies, put your hand on his leg in the restaurant. Kiss her EVERY morning before you head to work. Hug him as soon as you wake up in the morning. And remember folks, if your spouse's top love language is physical touch, he/she needs to be intimate on a regular basis. That doesn't mean once a month when you have 5 minutes free on your calendar. Sex within a marriage is important for every couple, but it's especially important for people who "speak" this love language. So go for it...shake the headboard, make a mess of the blankets & sheets. As far as God is concerned, whatever goes on behind your bedroom doors, so long as it includes only you & your spouse, is perfectly acceptable!
There are lots of tests online to determine what your love language is. Most of us have 2. One is a little higher in value than the other. While all 5 languages appeal to me on some level, my top love language is Quality Time and my 2nd one is Physical Touch. Larry's are Words of Affirmation & Acts of Service. When I praise & encourage him and do sweet things for him to help him out, he feels like King of the World. And I love that! (especially since he will then turn around & make me feel like the Queen!)
Take the time to take the quiz or purchase the book & figure out yours and your spouse's love languages. It is worth the time & effort and may just save your marriage!
(note: Some info for this post was taken from websites all over the internet. I did write much of this post, but some info was copied & pasted from elsewhere. All images came from Google image searches.)
4 years ago