It seems like marriage should be easy. For example, I have EPH.5 engraved on the inside of my ring, and that simple inscription really encompasses everything that you need to know:
Wives – Respect him
Men – Love her
More than a decade after putting on that ring for the first time, it seems like it is more difficult than that for some reason. There are times where you think “I DO love her, why isn’t it seem to be working?” And I’m sure you wives sometimes think “I absolutely respect him – what’s his problem?”
Lost in Translation?
Giving love and showing respect are like all forms of communication – what is ultimately important is “Did my audience understand my message?” In other words, I can say the exact right things, but if the person doesn’t understand, then my message is worthless. It doesn’t matter if it is fancy or not; the quality of my message will be judged by its effectiveness alone. In the same way, if we are expressing love and respect in ways that the other person doesn’t understand then our efforts are in vain. It’s like we are saying all the right things, but in the wrong language. I mean, I’ve never actually walked up to Dana and said “Volim te svim srcem i želim živjeti s tobom vječno.” (A very nice sentence if you are Croatian.) However, I have definitely tried to express my love to her in ways that suited me, instead of seeking out the way that suited her.
Gary Chapman has tried to help us with this topic. Although every human likes to receive love in a multitude of unique and different ways, but he has boiled them down into 5 major categories:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
We recommend that you go to this website and take the free quiz: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/
More importantly, afterwards, talk with your spouse about it. We realized that talking about your marriage can be dicey. So, one great way to make this a positive time is to list off some of the great ways that they show you love. This will help your spouse really focus their efforts on effective expressions of love and do those things more often. Help them out – they may be shooting blind here, but don’t take this opportunity to gripe about things they could start doing, or things that you want them to stop doing. Make this a positive and encouraging time. After you have taken the quiz and have learned more about what each language means, fill out this document.
Printable: | You’re Speaking My Language |
Under each category put ways that your spouse fulfills that language. Be specific! Typically you feel loved more completely by 1-3 of the different languages. Focus on your top three and put several examples. If you have examples for all five, then fill them in. Sometimes it is hard to remember things right on the spot, so maybe you can fill it out over the course of a week. Remember this is a way for your spouse to know you on a deeper level, so help them understand you clearly.
Marriage is wonderful, but it takes time, effort, and understanding. We hope that you will join us in purposefully building up your marriage by speaking your spouse’s language!
We highly recommend that you read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
Here is an excerpt from Dr. Gary Chapman’s explanation of his concept:
Paul spent three hours building a bookshelf for Marcie. All she wanted was 10 minutes to talk.
Carol bought Dylan a brand new set of golf clubs. He wondered why she didn’t sign the birthday card.
Ryan gave Jennifer a hug and a kiss. She frowned at the pile of dirty dishes.
All too often, couples fail to express their love—they try, but they’re speaking different languages. This can lead to frustration, resentment, hurt feelings, and a strained relationship. Fortunately, saying—and hearing—“I love you,” doesn’t have to be that hard.
FYI: Languages can change over time so this is a good exercise to do throughout your marriage.