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You gotta know you're wanted...

My husband and I are part of a group at church and we just finished going through the book, "The Five Love Languages".  I had read it awhile back, but thought it would be a fun refresher.  Girls always think going through a marriage book is a good idea, I think.

But here's the thing:

The more I thought about it, the more my husband and I talked about it, the more I considered throwing the entire thing in the trash (except I couldn't actually do that because it was on my Kindle.  Ha.)  But in concept, I thought about abandoning the whole thing.

It's not because it's not a good read.  It's not because it doesn't contain good information.  It's not because I don't want to discover my spouse's primary love language and go crazy for them with it.  I want Aaron to feel loved, respected, honored and needed by me.  And I know that he does.  And that's not always because I speak his primary love language.  And I know he loves me, even though my heart-craving "words of affirmation" are sometimes few and far between.

I wrote similarly about this awhile back, but I've been thinking about all of this love language, fill-my-love-tank business in a deeper and broader way.

Such as, take how God loves us.  For instance, my primary love language according to Dr. Chapman's formula is "Words of Affirmation".  How many times do you think I hear an audible word from the Lord?  Or how often He sends me Hallmark cards?  Or how many times I hear, "Good job, sweetheart!"  Yeah.  Those things have never happened.  And some people will says eloquent things like, "Life is God's love letter to us!" or "That sunset was God's gift to me!"  And those are true statements. I don't disagree.  But my point is that God doesn't always love me the way I would, dare I say, prefer to be loved.

And sometimes my husband doesn't either.

But I never question his love by what he doesn't do.  And I don't question God's, either.

So, I have a kind of radical idea:

What if we just plain loved who we were with.

You do remember what loving someone looks like, right?

It means finding out their likes and dislikes.  You did this when you dated.  Ooh, he likes that kind of candy - awesome.  You would buy it and stash it in his glove compartment to find.  He likes a certain band, wants to go to a total dude-movie, likes going out for wings and beer over Olive Garden?  Then that's what you do.  You smile, you plan, you dress up, you pay attention.

Those are the little things.  Does he like it when you wear your hair a certain way?  Does she like it when you offer to help with the house work, carry in the groceries, hold her hand just because, cuddle up to watch football?

What happened to respecting one another?  Because, the way I see it, if you respect the person you are with, who you love, who you married, well, it's kind of a no-brainer that respect means doing more of what they love and doing less of what they hate.  You don't intentionally tick off those you respect and seek to honor and find favor.

One of my best friends couldn't be more different than me.  We've grown in similarities as we've gone from 20-somethings to 30-somethings and gained husbands and pregnancy weight together.  But in the beginning, we were just such an oddly matched set.  She was confident, I was skittish.  She was a saver, I was a spender.  She took charge, I was a follower.  She had a dog and a cat, I just had a cat.  She had an eclectic style and my apartment living room was decked out with WWII memorabilia and movie posters from, "Pearl Harbor".  We have joked before that we were each others' first marriage.  We had to learn to compromise on a few things.

Because she loved me, she aimed to be more sensitive and supportive.  Because I loved her, I aimed to respect her privacy, support her boundaries.  She gave in to my desire to be together as often as possible, but I also strove to give her space and to love her in a way that was service-minded and less frilly (which is more my personal taste).  We worked it out.  And we've been "together" for ten years now.

And in a way, okay, maybe I learned her love language in a backwards sort of way and maybe she learned mine.  But the real nitty gritty is that I loved her and so I showed her respect for what she loved.   And likewise, her for me.

And when we got married, we did the same with our husbands.  Mine likes to hunt?  Okay, so now I have a mounted deer head on my guest-room wall.  Hers isn't crazy about scents around the house?  So she gave up her love of Yankee Candles.  That wasn't because her husband's love language was "Let the house stink".  It was simply a personal preference and out of honor and respect - and love - she keeps the candle burning to a minimum.

We sacrifice ourselves and our desires for those we care for.  That's what the language of love is about.

It's not about five steps to intimacy or weekly date nights or extravagant gifts.  Sure, we all like to be romanced.  Women are always going to love the feel of dating.  We're always going to want some surprises.  That's in our makeup.  We want to know we're pursued, wanted, chosen.  We always want to know that before and after the rings are exchanged.  And men always want our respect.  They always want to know we trust them with everything.  That we would be a little lost with them.  That we need them for more than simply unclogging the drain.  But of course, completely believe he has every ability to fix such things.

God isn't such a stick-in-the-mud that He doesn't realize this.  He did create us after all:

"Wives, respect your 
h u s b a n d s
as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your 
w i  v e s
and do not be harsh with them..."
~   C o l o s s  i a n s   3 : 1 8 

In his book, Love and Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs expands on the basics of male/female love and puts it so succinctly:
"Men do unloving things to get respect,
and women do disrespectful things to get love."

This is why we go round and round.  This is why he complains that he works so hard for us and to provide and we complain that we feel unloved and he doesn't know how that could be, because hey, look at all he does! and she comes back with, "Well, if you REALLY loved me, you would...."  Vicious cycle.  Merry-go-round marriage insanity.

But it's the Biblical basics!  It's so 1-2-3.  It's elementary stuff.

He wants respect.  What does that mean for your husband?
She wants love.  What does that mean for your wife?

Get off your high horse and your pride pony and get back to looking eye to eye and loving who you're with.  If you respect him, you don't demean him.  You don't tear apart his job.  You don't talk badly about him to the kids, to your friends, to your Mom, to anyone.  If you respect him, you recognize his effort, his labor, his coming home every night.

If you love her, then you love her and do things that make her happy.  She likes flowers?  Surprise her. She likes you offering to take the kids and shoving her out the door to do something on her own?  Do it.  If she lights up when you show you remember something she pointed out or mentioned she wanted to do - then do more of that.

Once you find out their favorite candy, don't just buy it once and stop.

Keep calm and do it again.

"Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end..."
~ I Corinthians 13, The Message

Comments

  1. so i'm not married or anything, and i've only been in one relationship. but i gotta say this post says everything i've always thought!! it just makes more sense, and fits more with what i see in scripture than all the love language stuff i hear and have been told. so thank you! and maybe i am not crazy. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much, Damaris!!! <3 I think all of those teachings are great and can definitely have a positive influence on any relationship or marriage. The more we know ourselves and the ones we love, the better we love and care for one another. I just think there's a big problem when we get hooked on, "This is my love language and he never does it!" and then we live in a cycle of dashed expectations - when in fact love IS there. Thanks for getting it! *smile*

    ReplyDelete

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