Studies have shown that romantic love lasts 18-30 months. That is why many couples are disillusioned when they discover that they’ve lost that lovin’ feelin.’ Add work demands, children and the stresses of daily life, and romance can seem like a distant memory.
But romance is only one aspect of love. In order to make love last forever, couples must invest time and effort. One way to achieve this goal is to discover your spouse’s love language. According to marriage guru Gary Chapman, we all identify primarily with one of five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, or Physical Touch.
The interesting thing about love languages is that husbands and wives hardly ever share the same one. While my love language is Physical Touch (note: physical touch does not necessarily mean sex), my wife’s is Acts of Service. I often make the mistake of trying meet her emotional needs in the same way that I like mine met. That approach rarely works. Although she enjoys a back rub or foot massage, she’d much rather my say, “I’ll take care of the laundry for you, honey.”
Every time I wash the dishes, take out the garbage, or give her some quiet time away from the kids, I’m making deposits in her love bank. However, I often find myself making withdrawals. When I’m lazy, break my commitments, and create more work for her, I’m implicitly telling my wife that her feelings don’t matter. This type of emotional neglect is harmful to a marriage. If this behavior continues for too long, it can wreak havoc on a relationship by destroying the intimacy and trust that marriages need to survive.
Therefore, I vacuum the floor without being asked and surprise my wife by cleaning the garage or putting some gas in her van. I may never be as fluent in my wife’s love language as she’d like, but I continue to work on ways to say I love you in the language she understands. Do you I always feel like doing these things? Of course not. But I know that these small investments of time and energy will pay huge dividends in my marriage.
By learning and speaking each other’s love language, my wife and I have moved beyond romantic love into a deeper form of love – agape, which means self-sacrifice for the benefit of another. And we intend build on this foundation as our love continues to evolve and grow.
photo via freerangestock