Life seems so complicated. We live in a world of 35,000 advertising messages a day plus who knows how many verbal and text messages from friends and family. That doesn’t take into account email!!! It’s no wonder life seems complicated. We’re in a constant battle to pare down the “noise” in our world to what’s most important. And most times it takes multiple levels of paring to get to the root of important – Cherishing our Spouse!
The other day I was just trying to confirm that backups were being done on our website. It had been a few months since I looked at the backup system and something inside my gut just said, “You need to look at this! This is important!!” So I started to research
Who is in charge of the backups – the website host, domain host, do we have a plug-in that does this?
I started making phone calls and getting more questions than answers. Which led to more research and more phone calls and more unanswered questions that required me to make decisions based on information that I didn’t have! Do you FEEL MY PAIN? It just seemed like that never-ending loop of, “This is the wrong dept. Hold, and I’ll transfer you…Again!” The more you work at something it feels like the deeper you get into unanswered questions and the further away you get from any resolution.
Marriage can feel that way too. We think we know what would make us or our spouse feel loved and cherished but when we try that “thing,” they don’t like it or act like it didn’t even happen. So what’s up with that? Why can’t I do something simple for my spouse that makes them feel special? There may be a few reasons.
Why can’t I make my spouse feel special?
- I’m trying to “love” them the way I want to be loved.
- Maybe I’m treating a symptom of a deeper issue that’s not going to be a quick fix.
- I’m using the world’s methods of showing love instead of what’s authentic for us as a couple.
Trying to love my spouse the way I want to be loved
This is such a natural action that most of us don’t even realize we’re doing it. And if you are doing this, you’re in good company. It takes some intention to change the way we think about how our spouse wants to be loved and cherished. If you don’t know your Love Language (go here now to do a free assessment). It will reveal how you and your spouse want to be shown love. If you’re trying to show your spouse love the way you want to be loved there’s a good chance your efforts are going unnoticed. Plus you’re not getting the impact for the effort you’d like.
Five Love Languages (don’t guess at this – take just a few minutes to do the online assessment)
- Receiving Gifts – Pretty darn straightforward. These folks like to get gifts from others. It makes them feel special and cherished.
- Quality Time – Spending time alone with each other to talk and dream together.
- Physical Touch – Anything from holding hands, to a scalp massage, to sex!
- Acts of Service (devotion) – Doing stuff your spouse really doesn’t like doing (i.e., unloading the dishwasher, grocery shopping, the yard, changing diapers, fixing dinner…)
- Words of Affirmation– Telling your spouse what amazing characteristics you see in them and how much you love this. DON’T LIE! – They’ll see right through it. Instead, find things you really do admire. (i.e., how they love the kids or your parents, how they get up every day and go to work, how they are great at saving money, how creative they are…)
Treating a symptom of a deeper issue
We hear this a lot. “All we do is fight. We can’t ever have a conversation without ending up yelling at each other. I’m just so tired of hurting my spouse.” Treating this symptom could look like just agreeing with whatever your spouse wants. Never voicing a different opinion –basically becoming a doormat. This is one way to treat the symptom, and it will temporarily cut down on the fighting. However, it’s not going to make you feel good about yourself and resentment is going to start building. This usually ends in an even bigger fight than you used to have and may lead to even more bitterness and eventually contempt. You see, fighting isn’t about just a difference of opinion.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you?
Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” James 4:1
Yes, fighting comes from desires within. So the reason you fight with your spouse is not money, sex, or time. These are just the symptoms of the fighting. Kind of like the headache that’s a symptom of the stress from a demanding boss.
We fight because we have desires that are not being met. Those unmet desires make us uncomfortable, so we lash out at the people closest to us, usually our spouse. The people we should love and cherish the most are the ones who take the biggest blast of bitterness and anger for not making us happy. More on this in upcoming blog, “Healthy Marriages Can Disagree But They Don’t Fight.”
Using the world’s love language instead of ours
We see ads, hear lyrics and read articles telling us what our spouses want. If we believe what we see and hear they want a sexy, well-dressed, put together woman who never has a hair out of place, whose kids make perfect grades and are also the sports team champions. She does every task with ease and always has money left over to buy lunch for the homeless! Really????? Men, if you believe the ads and rhetoric, you should be sexy, shredded, make no less than high six-figures, drive a very expensive car, and live in the biggest house on the block with an impeccable lawn, amazing kids, and the most beautiful wife ever. Listening to what the world says we should be is never a good idea.
Be authentic to you and your spouse’s love languages. Find out how they want to be loved and then DO THAT!
This is a RELATIONSHIP SUPERPOWER!!! Don’t try making up some fabulous plot to smooth things over. It just doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Find out what makes them feel loved and do that!!!
Let us know what your love language is and the best way your spouse could use this super power.