When Wendell and I got married, we thought it’s going to be an easy cloud nine life. Well, why not, we dated for 8 years before tying the knot and we were able to stand the storms of that very long engagement (We were proud to have surpass the what they called “7th year itch”, whatever itch it is.). Our lives within those years were so unbelievably going on the right places. We were welcome by both sides of relationship, whether it is family or friends.
However, letting two individuals with different beliefs and upbringing styles live in the same roof is where you can see the reality of marriage. IT IS NO CLOUD NINE. Wendell and I started to see each other’s flaws and differences and sure, it’s a challenge for both of us. Loving our spouse every single day is one of those easy-to-say-but-hard to-do-each-day things. But it sure is important. We always go back to what we have promised on the altar:
“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ‘till death do us part.”
One of the many important things needed for a marriage to keep going is communication. And even in this area, husbands and wives has different ways in doing it. As Wendell and I are decided in making our union work peacefully as possible, we invest in attending seminars and reading books to learn how we can keep our relationship better and stronger. We come to learn about the Five Love Languages. This is actually a book written by Gary Chapman, a renowned marriage counselor, and director of marriage seminars. In his book, he discussed the concept of a “love tank”.
What is a Love Tank?
Every child is born with a love tank. It is like a gas tank in a car, while love is like oil in a car’s engine. When the love tank is full the world looks beautiful and we feel loved. When the love tank is empty we feel discouraged and uncertain about ourselves and our relationships.
The Five Love Languages
Like what it is said, love is like oil in a car’s engine. So to make a relationship work, we should fill the love tank with the right love language. Here are the 5 Love languages:
1. 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.
2. Quality Time
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.
3. Receiving Gifts
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.
4. Acts of Service
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 wants 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.
5. Physical Touch
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.
Upon knowing this, Wendell and I needed to communicate the right love language of each other to be able to fill up each other’s love tank. You can check out your own love language on the love languages website.
Rarely do couples share the same love language. And sometimes the love language we communicate is not actually our partner’s but ours—it is what we want to receive. Just like us before we discover this five love languages, for example, Wendell is so good at affirming words that he praises me every time to make me feel happy. He complements the way I take care of the house and our children. Yet I feel I’ll be happier if he will help me do the dishes and give some time playing with the kids (Acts of Service).
On the other hand, I love serving him— make him coffee, prepare his food, massage him. But taking a look and appreciating his works according to him makes him feel more loved (Words of Affirmation). It comes to a realization that we’re doing our own love language rather than doing the other’s. So we need to adjust and make an effort to change how we communicate. We also have to consider that our love language is changing from time to time depending on what current situation we’re in.
We may have differences in views and doesn’t share the same interest, but we were able to compromise and prioritize each other through the help of the love language. This is just one tool , of course. Always putting God in the center of your union before anything else will absolutely keep your marriage going amidst the challenges.
About The Author
Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia Topical Oil user.