Is speaking your spouse’s love language a race to the top?
Or to the bottom?
Most spouses want to love well. Unfortunately, they don’t consider the sacrifice that involved with loving well.
A while back, my husband took some time off work.
One morning, he began the day with a big tight hug and told me he loved me. Then we held hands in the middle of the living room and started the day with prayer.
After breakfast, he went off to do the laundry. He then set about folding the clean cloths and putting them away in the closets. Right after that, he made the bed (even though it was my turn, since I was the last one out of bed).
I lounged lazily around the house, feeling loved and spoilt.
It went on like that for a a few days. He did the dishes, cleaned up the kitchen floor, did the laundry, wiped surfaces, got around to do some pending maintenance works in the house
Well, you ask, what’s the big deal? Isn’t he just being a responsible husband?
Well, in the Otiende household, his actions are a big deal.
They are huge because we’ve not always been like that. Like many couples, we struggled to speak each others love language, to love the other person in a way they wanted to be loved.
Speaking my love language – a race to the bottom
I am big on acts of service – I love it when my husband helps around the house. Unfortunately, my husband hates chores. So we argued and had big fights about his lack of help and my desire to have him involved domestically.
Since I was also domestically challenged, I was not the best at communicating my needs because I was easily frustrated. He on the other hand wanted to feel a little respect and gratitude for all the other things he was doing in the marriage.
So this week has been a reminder of how far we have come.
We are not perfect but I now realize that we are not the only couple on a journey to discover how to love well. We are not the only couple learning how to humble ourselves and learn to love each other the way the other person desires.
It’s not enough to love each other – maturing love goes a step further and loves sacrificially.
How to love my spouse
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In his book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman explains how couples experience love in five unique ways.
1. Acts of service
2. Quality time
4. Physical touch
5. Words of affirmation
Among the five languages, my strongest is “Acts of Service.”
When Tommy cooks or cleans, I hear “I love you”, “You matter to me”, “You are important and precious”, “I will do anything for you”.
The atmosphere in our house got me thinking this week.
About love and relationships and how tend to give others what we want instead of taking time to learn them and give them what they really want.
But being a student of another, studying what they need so you can give it to them, calls for patience and a serious dose of “humble”.
“Influence is about others. Sure, it may begin with gaining power, but real leadership turns around and gives that power away.” Jeff Goins, The Secret to influence is
To be ‘powerful’ or significant means giving away, not amassing. We gain strength by being weak, we earn by giving away.
Marriage is marked by seasons – the feel and the atmosphere of the relationship rarely stays the same.
To navigate seasons as a couple, you must learn to appreciate even the small efforts done by your spouse.
You cannot be so caught up with the grand projects that you refuse for your heart to rejoice, to glow and to dance regardless of a million other things not done.
A healthy marriage is where we we learn to be grateful for what our spouse does for us. Especially when you know that it’s not natural for them; that it’s something they have to learn.
Loving others the way they want to be loved is a race to bottom, not the top. We go out of our way to love others, not the way that is easy and comfortable and familiar to us, but the way they want to be loved, even when it costs us something.
If one wants to be great, they must first become small. Matthew 20:26
Your turn: What do you think? Why is speaking my love language so important in marriage? How are you working to speak your spouse’s love language? Let’s talk in comments!
Are you wrestling with the overwhelm of marriage?