Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Growing Love

There's a super-well known book out there called The Five Love Languages. If you haven't read it with your spouse, you should. In a nutshell, the author, Dr. Gary Chapman, has studied all the ways that can make a person feel the most loved and put them into five categories. The book helps you understand what makes your spouse feel the most loved, and as a result, grows your love for each other. 

The biggest eye-opener for me personally was realizing that, often, if I am focused on trying to love my husband in a particular way, it is actually what I am wishing what he would do for me. Realizing this has been great for our marriage because now we are sensitive to it. If I am suddenly searching on Trip Advisor for weekend getaways while Ben is at work and sending him emails about said searches, then he knows I need quality time. If I am telling him more than usual how handsome and visually appealing he is, he can probably guess that I need to hear something similar (but of course not necessarily). 

Having read this book together opens conversation too. We can easily ask each other, "What could I do for you today that would make you feel loved?," and it isn't awkward. From day to day, and even minute to minute, the answer to that question could change. But most people have one or two "biggies" that keep their "love tank" (a Dr. Chapman phrase) full. Mine is a melding of gifts and acts of service. If I know that Ben has been thinking about me, I feel loved. So when he sends me a random text just to say I love you, or swings by a drugstore to grab a bag of truffles my heart is confident in his love for me. The bonus for Ben is that when I feel loved, I am more motivated to show him love- and I'm not necessarily consciously aware of it. 

When Ben willingly, without any hints from me (hints are OK sometimes) does something like this, he is loving me unselfishly. He is making some kind of sacrifice on my behalf (it may feel like a sacrifice when you do something for your spouse that does not come naturally). He is proving his faithfulness to me and confirming our pure love for one another. He is reflecting the pure, unselfish love of our sweet Savior, Jesus. There is no greater love than this! "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

In case you haven't heard, Valentine's Day is Friday. If you have ever been frustrated that your spouse does not understand how to love you, I highly encourage you to read this book together. Since you probably won't finish it by Friday though, I challenge you to go ahead and ask your spouse the question "What can I do to make you feel the most loved?" And then gently and lovingly explain what would make you feel loved (it's likely to be whatever you've been doing for your spouse). 

Honest heartfelt conversations like that can really grow your marriage. But more than that, you must ask for God's help. After you have the conversation with your spouse, pray together and ask God to help you love each other in such a way that builds each of you up, to perform these acts of love wholeheartedly and unselfishly, and to help you be that reflection of our union with Christ as individuals. 

I pray that your love for your spouse grows as you seek God's help in serving each other this Valentine's Day. 

Have you read The Five Love Languages?

What are you doing for your spouse this Valentine's Day?

If you're looking for ways to spice up the romance this Valentine's Day head on over to To Love Honor and Vacuum and check out today's steamy post on sex. I'm linking up for today's Wifey Wednesday. Christian Marriage Advice

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