Six months into my marriage, I couldn’t figure out why my husband and I were suddenly fighting more often. It’s not that “the romance wore off” or any of those depressing cliches. I still get butterflies seeing my husband at the end of a long day, and waking up next to him is the best way to start my days. The romance was definitely still there. But the love was missing.
That is, love as an action. I bet most of us think love is only an emotion, like sadness or joy. It comes and goes on its own, and once it’s gone there’s nothing we can do to get it back. It’s true that if you’re not right for each other, a few months of dating will reveal that and drive you apart. But when you’ve been in a committed marriage for years, the problem isn’t that you just stopped loving them.
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, couples counselor and author of The 5 Languages of Love, the reason long-term couples begin to fight more and love less is because they are not giving, or receiving, the right type of love.
Chapman writes that there are 5 love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Gift Giving, and Physical Touch, each of which contributes to someone feeling “loved.” We learn these languages in childhood, and each individual speaks a “primary” language. When a couple doesn’t speak the same love language, it results in each of them doing what they would want done for themselves, and not taking the time to figure out what to do to make their spouse feel loved.
The 5 Love Languages is a light read, without any academic jargon, just examples of real couples broken relationships, and how Chapman’s counseling helped them regain real love by discovering their primary love language and acting on it. I highly recommend reading the book because each chapter delves deeply into how to know whether your spouse speaks one of the love languages, and how you can speak it to them.
If you don’t want to read the whole book, you can still take the quiz, with your spouse, and figure out each other’s primary love language. Once you have your results, you can hopefully start showing each other the right type of love.
I haven’t finished the book yet but it’s message has already resonated within our marriage and I’ve got so much great advice and ideas to work with that I’m sure we can see improvements soon. I’ll keep you posted!
Thanks for reading!