*Five Minute Friday is an initiative set up by Lisa-Jo Baker over at Surprised by Motherhood. It has now been taken over by Kate over at Heading Home. The basic premise is to take the word Kate gives and write, non-stop for 5 minutes. Then you stop and post. Read more about it here. This October, I am taking part in a series based on this called “31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes”, in which we commit to writing from the prompt as usual, but everyday rather than just on a Friday. Read more here.
One of the most useful things my husband and I did in our marriage preparation was discover and discuss our love languages.
We had both come across Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages before, but came back to it significantly and more deeply as we prepared to be married, and it continues to be a big part of our married life.
Real married love looks very different over time to what Hollywood and Disney would have us believe. Romance and feelings come and go, but what remains is a steady commitment and security in knowing we are loved and respected, and this is particularly well seen in the way we learn and use each other’s love languages.
My husband and I are blessed to have fairly similar love languages, but our primary ones are different. He prioritises Physical Touch, and anyone who knows him well will recognise this in his affectionate hugs. For me, Quality Time is number one. I never feel more loved than when someone I love spends one-on-one distraction-free time with me. Sadly, this is a tough one to keep up when there are babies and toddlers in the house, but we are blessed with a good sleeper in our daughter, so manage to make time in the evenings for this.
When we have had more difficult times in our marriage, often we find that we have retreated into ourselves and the speaking of each other’s love language has slipped. But it is a self-perpetuating cycle – the more (or less) you speak each other’s love languages, the more (or less) you feel loved as a couple and so want to show more (or less) love, etc. So the importance is clear!
One thing I have found really interesting about the love languages is that they are not static – they change over time, and particularly if you go through any big life changes. With the sudden death of my father-in-law quickly followed by the birth of our first child, my husband and I found that things changed in our love languages, as they did in our lives in general. Our primary love languages remained the same, but we did find we appreciated others more. Acts of Service jumped up much higher for us both as we appreciated the little practical things people did for us and we did for each other at times when we found it difficult to do them ourselves.
Couples who have been together for any significant length of time usually understand well that love can be very practical and take a lot of thought and commitment, but that there is truly nothing else on earth like it.
Speaking each other’s love language, and leaning into the God who Himself is Love, can sustain love through even the hardest of times.