As you make every effort to speak respectfully to your husband as your best friend and as the adult man that he is, you may recognize how much more loving you feel toward him when you talk to him. You may also feel as if the scales of communication are tipping out of balance when he doesn’t reciprocate verbally to the level of your expectations, which brings us to another way to nurture intimacy: learning each other’s love language.
…Most men speak fewer words than women speak. But that doesn’t mean they don’t communicate — they simply communicate in different ways. If we don’t understand this, we may fail to pick up on what our husbands are telling us. Although I’ve had multiple experiences with such failure, one
stands out in my mind. Every other month I would spend one of my lunch hours at the Hallmark store, stocking up on all kinds of sincere, clever, or hilariously funny greeting cards to say, “I love you!”
However, not long after our one-year anniversary, I noticed that I had never received a card in return. Not one. Not even a sticky note. I felt so neglected and furious over all the time and money I had spent picking out all these special cards when there had been no reciprocation at all. Rather than ask why, I stopped sending cards, gave him the silent treatment, and withdrew emotionally (as if this were going to inspire him to send me a note of appreciation!).
I fumed for several days until I finally blew my top while standing in the kitchen crying into my tuna salad. “In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve stopped sending you cards each week! You’ve never once sent me a card! Do you know how much that hurts? Or do you even care?”
My outburst shocked him. He waited until my screaming silenced to respond, “But I mow your yard each week…and I wash your car…and I…”
“Well, of course, you do those things,” I interrupted, “You live here too! Those are your responsibilities!”
“But I do them out of love for you, Shannon!”
I wasn’t convinced until we read the book, The Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman. “Acts of service” is a legitimate love language. We all have to be very intentional about speaking and understanding the other person’s love language so that we can recognize each other’s loving expressions.
What is your spouse’s love language and what can you intentionally do today to show them how much you love and appreciate them?
To be continued…