John and Julia were at odds. And as they sat in the counseling room, she had a long list of complaints about him not being loving, and when I turned to him it was the same. Neither felt loved by the other. I asked him if he knew what Julia’s love language was and he looked at me like I was speaking Greek. I asked Julia the same question and she said she had no clue either. They had been married for five years. So then I went on to explain to them that the best way to communicate love to each other is in the way that they receive love. Gary Chapman writes about this in his book, “The Five Love Languages.” In it he identifies the five most common ways people are wired to feel loved through, words, quality time, gifts, acts of service and through touch. Often the way we often express love to our partner is the way we want to receive it, rather than how they are wired to receive it. So often we end up expending a lot of energy that goes unappreciated.
My husband’s love language is acts of service, so when he comes home from work and the house is a mess, dishes are piled high in the sink, and dinner is not cooked (this NEVER happens!!), I notice him withdrawing and closing up to me, especially if this lasts for a few days (and this never happens!!). But when I meet him at the door in my apron and a glass of lemonade and everything is spotless and the smell of jerk chicken is flooding through the palace, (this happens all the time at our house!) he becomes Romeo on steroids. My love language is quality time. I’d rather sit with him on the sofa for hours and chat about life and feelings and all that kind of stuff, than do housework. So when he tells me he doesn’t have time to sit and chat because he has to cut the grass or fix the broken back door lock (his way of feeling loved), I feel unloved. Interesting, huh?
By knowing exactly what helps your partner feel safe and loved, we put deposits in their love account. We create happy cycles instead of craziness. When we learn to do this on a consistent basis, intimacy is created, arguments are defused and we are able to lift our partner’s mood when they are down.
Think for a minute on what your spouse’s love language might be. If you don’t know, ask them. Tell them that you want to communicate love to them in the way that it resonates with them. Go to Jesus and ask Him to shine His love through you to them, so that they feel His love pouring into them.