Kidding aside, husbands and wives surely do experience communication problems…and it could drive us crazy!! Of course, we love our spouses, but the big question is: do we EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE that love?
Well, there’s a classic book that could help you with improving communication in marriage: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. That book and its sequels continue to be a huge help in improving marriage and family life in general, but specifically, communication.
The premise is simple. Each of us has five languages of love, and they are featured below (taken from the book’s website)…and stay with me as the important part of this blog is after the love languages are described:
• Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
Now, if you’re still with me, this is the important part: while we like all of these five, each of us has a PRIMARY love language that takes center stage over all others. The trick is, if we want our spouses to feel loved, WE HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT THAT LOVE LANGUAGE IS!!
If we don’t know our spouse’s love language, communicating to them that we love them could be a challenge. Here’s an example given by Gary Chapman, himself (with small modifications, by me, to fit the Philippine setting of this blog’s audience):
Let’s say there’s this husband whose love language is physical touch, particularly the sexual kind. Now, one day, feeling deprived of primary love language for a long time (for him) he says to his wife,
“Honey, I feel that you don’t love me anymore.”
The wife looks at him, bewildered, and exclaims,
“I don’t love you? I DON’T LOVE YOU?! I wash your clothes, cook your food, keep your house clean, raise your kids, shop for groceries…” and goes on describing HER acts of love to her husband.
The husband, stunned for a while, gathers his wits and retorts,
“I can take the clothes to the laundry shop, we can order take out for the food, we can hire a maid to keep the house clean, the kids are at school most of the time, the driver can get the groceries; WOMAN, I JUST WANT YOU TO GIVE ME SOME LOVIN’!!!!!”
So, you can guess what the wife’s love language is, right? Acts of Service. The husband doesn’t get that her doing all these things for him is her way of showing her love. And she didn’t know that physical touch is the primary way her husband feels loved. Do they love each other? Sure! It’s the communication of it that’s the problem.
You’d better find out what your spouse’s primary love language is, so that you can have better love communication in your marriage. You’d better find out yours, too, if you don’t know it yet. So do you know your spouse’s love language? Hitting its mark as often as you can will send her to the moon. Depriving him or her of it will send the spouse spiralling downward.
Wifey’s primary love language is physical touch. If we’re going through the mall, she’d insist that I’d put my arm around her or hold her hand. The kids all have to line up and kiss her goodbye before leaving for school. My primary love language is words of affirmation. I can get by on a good compliment for the longest time.
Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts has been an instrumental part of my church’s marriage activities for a long time, now. It was no different in our recent marriage retreat, The Story Of Us. The guests were educated about the 5 Languages of Love and took the Love Languages Test, sharing the results with their spouse. Many of them were shocked that they’ve been married for so many years yet they have been depriving each other of the best way to show love.
You can buy the book in both Kindle edition and Paperback edition. There are other editions available, such as an audio edition and an imitation leather bound edition as well.
Learn the five languages of love today, and improve communication in your marriage. Oh, if you’re interested to join The Story Of Us in December, I’m sorry, but it’s long been sold out. We may have a third couples retreat next year in case there’s lots of couples on the waiting list, so there’s still hope.