She Said: I mentioned in an earlier post about the book The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman that really helped me understand Gary better and more importantly, love him how he needs to be loved. The philosophy is that while everyone needs to be loved in all five ways, one of these needs to be emphasized the most. They are:
1. Acts of Service (doing stuff for your loved one, like laundry, making them a cup of tea, etc.)
2. Words of Affirmation (aka praise)
3. Physical touch (not just sex but affection of any type)
4. Quality Time together
5. Receiving gifts
There is a free quiz you can take (click here!) that tells you what type you need. Sit down this week with your loved one and take the quiz, then have them take it and share the results with each other. I promise you this 30 minutes or less time will be well spent and help you have a stronger relationship. Anyway, Gary and I took it and I discovered mine is quality time (that is why I love epic, in-depth conversations and hate wasting time) and Gary's is words of affirmation (aka praise). Sometimes when I get frustrated with Gary because he wants me to notice every little thing he does around the house (even though I may have done the exact same chore the day before without any praise!), I have to stop and remind myself that praise is his most meaningful and needed love language. If keeping his "love tank" filled (as Dr. Chapman calls it) means constantly praising him--like every single day praising him, thanking him for dinner, etc.--then it is worth it because in return, I have a happier, sweeter spouse who then will reciprocate by spending quality time with me.
We rarely just sit around without some kind of plan I guess because not only am I a Type-A personality, I also want to feel like we are getting something meaningful and significant out of our time together. So, tonight when he gets home even though we don't have any plans, we will have dinner and then I will ask, "What do you want to do tonight?" (with an emphasis on "do!"). So, we might decide to just snuggle and watch tv but because we decide together what to do instead of just laying around and not discussing it first, my "quality time" need is met because I feel like we agreed on how to spend our precious few hours together each evening after a long day at work.
He Said: I'm probably losing several "Man Cards" by admitting that I have read this book, but I'm okay with that because it gives such meaningful advice on how to truly make your marriage more fulfilled. According to Dr. Chapman, everyone has a love tank that essentially works like your vehicles gas tank--only it is fueled with love, not gasoline. All of the Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time Together, and Gifts work as the fuel. Obviously, the goal is to keep your spouse's love tank filled at all times. The trick to it all is finding the correct order of importance for each of the five love languages, which you can do by taking the quiz in the book or online. A good marriage incorporates all five, but there are certain ones that weigh more heavily than the others. For example, Shawndra's main love language is Quality Time and the last one on her list is Gifts. If she is away coaching volleyball for a weekend without me, I know that she is going to want to spend some quality time with me, and if I have something planned (even just renting a movie and making a nice dinner), it means a lot to her. For me, Words of Affirmation are my main love language. A little praise goes a long way for me. It makes me feel appreciated and more willing to reciprocate some of that love. A simple "Thank you" is all it really takes; I'm not asking Shawndra to scream to the heavens. The key to it all is to find a balance and really make a strong effort to keep these languages on your mind--chances are you have a totally different needs when it comes to the five love languages, and just because praise works for you does not mean it will fulfill your spouse's needs. And this works for family, friends, and co-workers, as well--just don't exhaust all your effort on them before you make it work at home.