Last week a number of things had me thinking about my marriage. First of all our wedding anniversary was on Monday (4/4). Then Donna at Journey With the King caught my attention with 30 days 30 ways to encourage your husband. Next I read an article in the local paper about a presentation the author attended at her children's school about the five love languages. The speaker discussed the ideas described by Gary Chapman in his books The Five Love Languages.
I looked for the 2010 edition of The Five Love Languages (The Secret to Love That Lasts) at our local library but only found the 1996 edition (How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate). Both describe what the author calls "love languages", the ways people perceive and express love. In order for your mate (or your children) to really feel loved, you have to speak their love language and it's probably different than yours.
In the last two weeks I have read this book cover to cover twice. I have finally found my answer to why I get so angry when my husband leaves his dirty socks on the floor and falls asleep watching television while I'm busy changing diapers, cooking dinner, and taking care of the house. I know why he complains that I don't appreciate him enough (even though I do and thought I was good at telling him that). The secret is we speak two different love languages!
After reading the book and taking the online assessment found HERE, my husband and I determined that I speak the love language of "Acts of Service" and he "Physical Touch." In a nutshell, it means that I feel loved when he does things to help me (acts of service) and he feels loved when he receives physical contact, the small touch of legs, holding hands, a back rub (physical touch). It also means that when the other person does not do these things we feel rejected and unloved.
Gary Chapman states in the book that "love is a choice." If you ask any long time married couple they will tell you that a happy marriage doesn't just happen, you have to work at it. You have to make the choice to love your spouse and your marriage. Our relationship has had some difficulties in the eight years we've know each other but we've been able to work it out and move on. We have many more happy times and great memories. The ideas Chapman describes may not be earth shattering but they are able to point us in the right direction to work at maintaining a happy marriage. And to me that's what really matters. I won't be updating you on our progress but we have decided to devote the next month to really focusing on each other's love language and finding out what really makes the other person feel loved. Our plan is to then practice giving that love and receiving feedback for the next six months. We want our marriage to be the best it can be and make sure that the other person really feels loved. If you see more posts about my husband in the next few months you'll know why!
If you would like some pointers and a lead in the right direction of loving your mate, I highly recommend you read The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Or any of the love love language series by Gary Chapman. If your marriage is having difficulties, just seems to be floating along, or your relationship is great, it's worth a read. Even a great marriage can be better!