My husband and I have been together for ten years. We have been married seven and have two kids ages five and two. Reading this, you can probably relate to the words that help sum up life: chaos, love, challenge, laughter. Fill in your own words here.
Marriage takes work. I didn’t feel this the first few years of marriage. We only were married a year when I got pregnant yet the following years were still pretty breezy. Enter kid number two and more years of marriage and I definitely have moments that truly feel like hard work. One day in particular a couple of weeks ago, after an argument about something silly yet seemed very serious in the moment (I am pretty sure my husband had the nerve to use a decorative towel or something), I was feeling like I just wasn’t being listened to or appreciated.
I started praying, which is what I often do when I need to talk things out. I prayed and thought about how we do change as people but it was something different. Something I hadn’t thought of before.
I realized what the problem was. My love language had changed.
If you are not familiar with the five love languages they include:
- Words Of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
I didn’t even regularly think about these love languages. To me, it was more a book that I had read awhile back. It wasn’t like I walk around thinking, “oh, my husband hasn’t given me many words of affirmation lately and that upsets me.” While I didn’t make that exact connection, that is what the issue was.
Two things about this whole thing were unfair to my husband. First, I don’t think he knew what my love language was when we got married. Second, if he didn’t know then, he definitely didn’t know what it was now. In fact, I wasn’t even sure.
One thing I have learned after seven years of marriage is that my husband cannot read my mind. I often forget this and get upset but when I pray on it, I am reminded that we are both human (how frustrating sometimes when you just want to put the blame on someone!). I did four things and I share these with you in hopes it might help to grow your marriage a bit stronger.
1) I figured out what order the 5 love languages fall in for me right now.
2) I made a list of small things that my husband does that makes me happy (a couple of mine included when he brings me a coffee on a Saturday morning, when we all go to the gym together or when he vacuums my car without being asked). My list is a mix of the love languages and that is ok!
3) The most important thing I did is I shared it with him! I didn’t put my list under my pillow and pray that he would just know what makes me happy. Instead, it turned into a wonderful conversation because I phrased it NOT as “These are the things you don’t do that you need to start doing” (because, come on- that would put anyone on the defensive). Instead, I phrased it as “These are things you do for me that make me super happy. Like when you sometimes bring me coffee when I am not expecting it.” SIMPLE things. It builds them up to know it’s not about what they are doing wrong but what they are doing right that you notice and appreciate them for doing.
4) I asked him for his list. Now, warning, this might be tough. Some husbands might think you are setting them up for failure or that it’s a trap. My husband was not quick to agree to this and it was actually hard for him to come up with anything. But start by just asking for a couple of things. Maybe it’s something as simple as hugging him when he walks through the door (physical touch) instead of just going right into parent mode.
Are you in tune with your Love Language? Has yours changed without you even realizing it? We’d love to hear!