Let’s not pretend that marriage is easy, hmm k? It takes a lot of work and a lot of adapting over the years. No matter what age you get married at, you’re still growing into who you are as a person. I thought I did most of my growing up in college, when I was 18-22. But I would have to disagree now that I’ve just entered my 30s. I think most of my maturing happened between ages 24-29. And who knows, years later I may think my 30s is where I did the most growing. But we’ll talk about that another day.
The point of this is that people change. And that’s life; that’s going to happen. What’s important is that you and your partner change together and work through things when they arise. That you make an effort to get to know how to make each other happy and continue to keep your “love tank” full.
What is this crazy babble? Well I recently read the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman. Did I read it because my marriage is failing? No. I like to think of it as being proactive. Am I doing everything I can to keep my marriage happy and healthy? Yes. Because marriage is work and you have to put work in to see results.
I’ll be the first to admit we’ve been to counseling. When your life is dictated by someone else (The Army), you can be put in situations you hadn’t planned on being in. Before my husband deployed the second time, we wanted to make sure we had all of the tools for healthy communication. How could I be there for him? How could he be there for me? We were going to be thousands of miles away and it was going to be a challenge. So instead of reacting, we did our research before and were proactive about the situation at hand.
In Gary Chapman’s book, he discusses the 5 different love languages that couples use to communicate.
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
After taking this quiz I discovered that my highest two love languages are acts of service and receiving gifts.
What exactly does that mean? It means that I feel most loved when my husband does things for me (pick up the living room, offers to pick up the kids, wash the car, etc) or gives me gifts (in the form of actual gifts, notes, my favorite candy, etc).
When people think of gifts they think of the act of purchasing something. Which isn’t necessarily what someone who resonates with the receiving gifts love language wants. They just find that they feel most appreciated when their partner surprises them with small things or gestures. A rock in the shape of a heart when they’re on a walk or a postcard from the city they traveled to for business.
Acts of service may include folding the laundry, starting dinner, putting the kids to sleep etc. Sharing the responsibility of a marriage and parenthood seems to be my most dominant love language. I get easily overwhelmed and having my husband share the responsibilities equally is how I view being loved.
My husband’s primary love language, hands down, is physical touch. I didn’t even need to have him take the test to prove that. He feels love when I’m near him, holding hands, snuggling while watching a movie. Which makes me think his secondary love language may be quality time. Not sitting together and staring at our phones but actually spending time together. Maybe it’s taking a class, picking up a new hobby, or traveling together! Just take the time to really be present with each other.
There were so many points while reading this book that I was just like, THIS MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. So many arguments stem from the fact that you don’t speak the same love language as your spouse. How can you understand and respond to French if you don’t know French and speak Chinese? Same goes for love languages. If you don’t feel love the same way your spouse feels love, you may not even realize you’re not keeping your spouse’s “love tank” full.
So how do you do that? By showing your spouse love the way they feel loved. If its out of your comfort zone, just remember that when people feel loved, they are more likely to reciprocate. This book offered so many examples of marriages that were failing and after taking the time to figure out each other’s love languages, they were the best they’d ever been.
Another point that really stuck out to me was the fact that your spouse might think they’re showing you love but if it’s not your love language, you feel as though they’re neglecting you. Instead of wasting time and years showing love in the wrong way (I say wrong as in it’s not their love language) it’s better to learn ahead of time how to speak a language they understand.
So why read this book?
It’s eye opening.
Who should read this book?
Honestly, everyone. Not just married couples but everyone. By knowing your love language and being aware that there are other love languages, you will know so much more about what it takes to be in a relationship.
Will it save my marriage?
I can’t answer that question however, I can say I don’t believe it would hurt it. Whether or not it’s damaged, this book has truly opened my eyes to healthy relationships and how to better them.
Have you read this book? What’s your love language? If you’ve read it, what’s your experience been?
Go grab your own book here! Best investment you can make for your marriage 🙂