“6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7, ESV)
I want to let you in on a little secret. People unconsciously communicate their love in a very specific way, but, most people on the receiving end don’t hear the message. Why? Because we communicate our love for others, through a style that we ourselves believe displays what the true essence of love really is. In other words, you will show your love for others in the way you yourself enjoy being loved, and that doesn’t always translate.
It’s amazing how married people, grown adults, can both work hard at their marriage and yet neither spouse feels like their mate is reciprocating their love. What’s going on? We might not hear the message of love our spouse is sending.
Many couples struggle to connect, and to make matters worse, individually spouses can feel like they are the only one in the relationship making an effort. It’s no newsflash to you, but sadly about half of all marriages end up like a sad Country & Western song. Why? Many times, people feel unloved. Those feelings of being unloved or underappreciated or neglected, lead to further problems. How will people “know” when they are being loved?
Some people feel loved when their spouses holds them closely, are physically affectionate, and they maintain a lot of close contact. Then again, there are people who feel loved when they are told so by messages reinforced with notes, cards, texts, calls, and a lot of time talking. For others, the proof of love is in the pudding, it is when you do the laundry, make a special meal, sweep the floor, or change the oil in their car. Which of these three styles (touch, talk or deeds) describes you? Chances are, your spouse has a different preference of being loved than you do, and if you are both sending a varied message of love, it might be falling on deaf ears.
How do you fix this miscommunication problem? Coach each other. Take turns with each other, asking your spouse how they best feel loved and appreciated (through touch, talk or deeds) and then ask how you can send the message home in their prefered way. This exercise can be eye opening, heart warming, and lifegiving in any marriage. If you don’t want to try this, there’s almost always someone else who will...
But, you may think, I didn’t have to jump through any hoops when we first met! This isn’t about jumping through hoops, it’s about investing energy and effort into the most significant relationship you will ever have with another human! Why do you need to pour more effort in now? Over time, infatuation might dim in comparison to the fireworks your new relationship once enjoyed. Every day responsibilities might be casting a shadow over the dazzling sunshine of love. Love needs renewing because “life” is draining.
If your marriage isn’t as fulfilling as you’d hoped for, let me encourage you to check out a great resource that can spark vitality into your lovelife. One of the best books on relationships I frequently recommend to others and I require all couples to read when I do their premarital counseling, has an eyebrow raising title. “Sex begins in the kitchen” by Christian author Kevin Leman is filled with humor and wisdom. If you are interested in connecting at a deeper level with your spouse, this book is excellent. Leman’s main premise is, men can’t be selfish and self-centered all day and then expect their wives to respond to their advances when the lights go off. For Leman, foreplay begins when men take out the garbage in the morning.
Our own marriage is strong because we actually like each other, we really enjoy each other’s company. My wife and I laugh a lot together; loudly at times. We eat our meals together, we even like to cook together. We go to the gym together. We take trips with each other. We spend time together; we don’t act like we’re roommates. And, we keep our finger on the pulse of things and we know how the other likes to be loved. In fact, my lovely wife nudged me to cover what I wrote about today. I hope you were blessed, because of her encouragement to address this timely topic. Thanks babycakes!
Flowers wilt, cards end up in a drawer, jewellery dulls, and chocolate goes stale -- the best gift you can give your Valentine is to show them daily you love them in their own unique way. And men, spice up your lovelife -- wash the dishes this weekend.