Life is a grind. It can chew us up, wear us down, and spit us out. With the constant demands placed on us of work, education, finances, sports, family obligations, church obligations, raising kids, taking care of parents, illness, and whatever else you can think of-life can be tough.
If you have been around a while you can surely relate. If you are married perhaps you have seen this to be true in your spouse. We all have a “love tank” that can be filled up and poured out. Life drains it; it is up to us to fill it up for one another.
One of the things I have learned in my marriage is that your spouse needs you to be a safe harbor for them to shelter in from life’s storms. My wife needs to know that she can come to me to be filled up and recharged in order to go face the world again.
Really important point #1
Pay attention and identify your spouse’s needs– sometimes even before they do.
I just celebrated my fourteenth wedding anniversary. I am blessed to have been blessed with a wife that knows me better than I know myself. When something is bothering me my wife knows it. Sometimes she knows what it is that is bothering me before I do.
This is important!
To get to this level of understanding of one another it takes more than just an occasional question. It takes more than just a quick debrief of the day before you fall into bed.
It takes constant attention and work to maintain and improve this relationship.
To truly know your spouse, you have to observe and listen and learn what it is that bothers them or breaks their heart. You have to be the one that asks God to speak to you about how you can love them better, indeed to love them like Jesus loves you.
Really important point #2
Learn what your spouses love language is and begin speaking to them in that language daily.
Perhaps one of the greatest tools available to you to help you in your relationship is Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. If you are not familiar with it, you can find more information about it here.
This book is so important, I believe it should be required reading before you get married.
The basic premise of the book is this: each person feels loved in one of five different ways:
- Acts of service-doing something for that person (takes the burden off of them)
- Words of affirmation-telling them they are worthwhile (you are amazing and talented)
- Quality time-spending time together (can be just sitting and watching a movie)
- Physical touch-just like it sounds (can be as simple as just holding hands in public)
- Receiving gifts-bringing or buying a gift (flowers, chocolate, jewelry, etc.)
I would encourage you to go here and take the quiz to see what your love language is. Also, have your husband or wife do it as well.
I think that you will find what makes you feel loved may not be what makes your spouse feel loved. This is ok. That is why God put you together!
What tends to happen is that we give love to our spouse in the way that we would like to receive it. For example, I feel loved by receiving words of affirmation. So when you comment on this post and say, “Jesse, that was really insightful writing! Keep up the good work!” It makes me happy.
My wife feels loved when I have done acts of service. This means if I do the dishes or fold the laundry or take the kids somewhere for her she feels loved. If I try to compliment her on what a great Mom she is or how good dinner was she will appreciate it, but it won’t resonate the same way as an act of service.
Once you recognize your love language and that of your spouse you may begin to see that you are showing love in a way that you want to receive it rather than how your spouse would most feel loved.
Really important point #3
Recognize that you can never, ever invest too much into your marriage relationship to help it grow, mature, and blossom.
I have been married for fourteen years, but I still can improve upon my marriage.
This past weekend was one of the best weekends we have had in our marriage. A lot of factors went into this, but in marriage sometimes it is good to remember that you can still surprise each other and show love to one another in new ways.
You can never love your spouse too much
or put too much effort into your marriage.
It just isn’t possible.
When I remember that my marriage is a picture of how Jesus loves the church, it inspires me to love my wife deeper and more fully every single day.
Why wouldn’t you want to learn and grow and treasure the one that God joined you together with for eternity?
If you haven’t yet taken the Five Love Languages quiz yet, do it and post your love language in the comments below and let me know if you think it is an accurate representation of how you feel loved. I’d love to know what you think.