How The 5 Love Languages Helped Our Marriage
I stood with my hands on my hips and said, “If this is not going to be fun, I do not want to be here!”
It was the yearly planting of the garden.
My idea of gardening is pretty simple:
Step 1: Dig a hole
Step 2: Throw a bunch of seeds in
Step 3: See which seeds actually grow
Not my husband. Melis is a farmer. His idea involves methodically making straight rows by tying a string to two sticks and placing each stick on either end of the row as a guide. Then you hoe next to the string to make perfectly straight rows (or at least in theory).
Straight rows are a farmer’s dream come true.
That is not my idea of a good time. Regardless of what we’re doing, it needs to be fun!
What’s The Big Deal About The 5 Love Languages
Perhaps you’ve heard about Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages, written in 1995. Although it’s been around for over 20 years, it remains a popular book that has helped over 15 million people improve their relationships by discovering their love language.
Chapman explains that each of us has a primary love language, which is the main “language” that we prefer to use to connect with others.
The 5 love languages are…
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
For couples, this means that each partner may have different love languages. And Chapman says that if we’re not speaking in our partner’s love language, then our partner will not feel loved.
One example is that you may be trying to love your partner with acts of service, but if your partner’s love language is quality time, then your partner won’t feel loved.
Can you see how this could potentially cause disagreements, hurt feelings or resentment?
The Benefit Of Knowing My Love Language
Now back to the gardening…
One of my love languages is quality time. So it’s not enough to just spend time together, it needs to be a good time together – quality time.
When I learned one of my love languages, I realized that it’s important to me that we make the most of the limited time we have together. So it’s okay to plant a garden or work together, but I want it to be quality time… a good time.
A time where we can connect and enjoy each other’s company.
Once I understood my love language, I could then explain to Melis why it was so important to have quality time and what, exactly, “quality” time meant to me.
This was incredibly helpful for him to understand me better.
It also helped us to stop arguing over this issue because he understood that he was filling my love tank when he made an effort for us to have a good time.
Another benefit to understanding my love language is that it gave me words to express how I was thinking and feeling.
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Why It Helps To Know Your Partner’s Love Language
Of course, it goes both ways…
Understanding Melis’ love language – that words of affirmation are so important to him – gave me a new understanding and empathy for the fact that I had not been speaking words of affirmation over him for the first years of our marriage.
As soon as I realized that that was so important to him, it was so easy to fill up his love bank because I truly do love him…
And I want him to know that I place a high value on him and on his presence.
So learning about his love language made it easier to love him rather than being more difficult.
How Love Languages Can Help Couples (According to Melis)
When both of our love tanks are full… then when we hit a rough spot, it’s much easier to work through it because both of us have the security that we love each other.
It’s just a small bump in the road.
However, before we learned about the love languages, both of our love tanks were basically bankrupt. So when we hit the bumps in the road, they were huge and recovery was difficult.
As a result, learning that Ann’s love languages are touch and quality time was important and helpful. And I was happy to give her a hug when she asked for one and be intentional about time together.
For me, once I understood that words of affirmation
1) I didn’t receive words of affirmation growing up, so for the first 25 years of my life, my love tank was dry.
2) After we got married, because we didn’t know about the love languages, I didn’t hear words of affirmation from Ann at first.
Now, however, because we understand our love languages, we can be intentional about meeting each other’s needs.
Unlike before where we were shooting in the dark… We didn’t know and hadn’t given much thought about how to meet each other’s needs.
What’s The Next Step?
You can’t do what you don’t know.
So it’s important to realize that awareness is the first step toward healthy relationships and working on something.
Without awareness, we don’t know the direction we’re going.
Perhaps your next step will be to discover your love languages, which you can do by either purchasing Chapman’s book or by taking the online quiz.
Or maybe you already know your love languages and you’re feeling really lonely in your marriage…
If that sounds like you, then your next step could be coaching. Marriage wasn’t meant to be lonely. Don’t stay stuck.
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