Hello friends, you know communications problems are obstacles that many marriages can’t hurdle. While both husband or wife might be well meaning, the best intentions in the world won’t help if they are speaking different languages. Imagine a marriage where the husband only speaks Greek and the wife speaks Chinese. 🙂 That would probably be frustrating.
In his book The Five Love Languages, marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman says that people tend to show love and feel loved predominately in one of five ways:
- Acts of Service
- Giving Gifts
- Words of Encouragement
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
If you are trying to communicate love to your spouse in a way that comes naturally for you (like giving gifts for no reason), that might not even be noticed if your spouses love language is acts of service or words of encouragement. This kind of language barrier can create another misunderstanding. For the wife who needs quality time, she is thinking “My husband must not love me anymore. He’s never home with me therefore he loves his work more than me.”
Meanwhile, her husband who works all day at the office (whose love language is “acts of service”) might be thinking, “This job is killing me. I wish I could be home with my beautiful wife, but I love her so much I want to work hard so that she can buy the things that she likes.”
Is anyone here at fault? No. However we can clearly see that there is a communication issue here that needs to be addressed. The wife needs to realize that her husband is showing her his love through his actions in the only way that he knows how. Maybe this is how his dad showed his mom? However she would be wise to appreciate his love from his perspective.
The husband needs to realize that his paycheck isn’t all that romantic and cuddly to his wife. While his heart is in the right place, it would serve him (and her) best to learn other ways to express his love for her in a way that she will understand. It might sound funny, and you might even feel awkward when you first try it – but anytime you try learning a new language, your bound to stutter and stumble a few times. (You should hear me when I am trying to add a new Greek word to my vocabulary. HA! Pathetic! 🙂 But does it stop me? Oh nooo!) Persistence always pays off. And in this case, it certainly will for you. 😉
In any new venture, there is always a learning curve. Just like learning to blog, write a book, or cook a new recipe, (or for me, cook without burning down my house) you need to give yourself grace. I would not expect you to be proficient overnight. No one can be. You will get more of what you encourage. So when you see that your spouse is making the effort, then recognize and encourage that behavior!
The more time you spend speaking encouragement into your spouse and building him/her up with words that are affirming, the greater the chances you’ll see that behavior increase. Find out what “love language” your spouse speaks and become fluent in it. Be proactive. (psst… that means ask) 😉 When you do this, you might discover that your spouse is “bilingual” or perhaps “multilingual” and may speak several love languages. (hugs, vacuuming, and chocolates! OH – be still my beating heart!) 🙂
Then you BOTH can have a lot of fun learning the other dialects as well. 😉 Remember, when it comes to love, actions speak much louder than words – however make sure that your spouse knows what your actions are saying. Well meaning intentions don’t count for anything unless you follow through on them. And sometimes, the BEST way to say “I love you” is simply to say “I’m sorry.” (it works wonders!)
You only live once my friends – so love boldly; seek the Lord in all things; give with your whole heart and don’t hold anything back. Let each serve the other, and both serve the Lord.
May your relationship experience a richness, breadth and depth like never before!
Dr. Christy 🙂