After 30+ years of marriage, you think I would have figured out a long time ago what is the best way to interact with my husband. But apparently I’m stubborn and sometimes selfish and would much prefer to keep doing things the way I’ve always done them, yet expect different results (wait … isn’t that the definition of insanity?). I tried every method I could think of to attempt to get Mike to act how I wanted him to, only to wind up frustrated and confused.
How many times have you done the same thing? Your way makes sense to you, so why shouldn’t it to your guy? If communicating with him through text seems convenient, shouldn’t he realize you’re pushed for time and oblige you with a response? If I need him to give me a hug at the end of the day, shouldn’t he be able to see that on my face? Hasn’t he figured out yet how to talk to the kids without upsetting them and me?
I’ve been there! There is no end to the tricks of the trade. We can spend days, weeks, or even years feeling hurt and defeated because hubby isn’t caring for us in the way we need, or that’s how it feels anyway. We move from caring wife into the slow descent of victim, feeling as though he’s just being selfish and unresponsive. We may even buy into the lie that our husbands no longer love us, and the consequences of that trap can be disastrous.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the book The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. It’s been out for a number of years. I even sold it in a bookstore Mike and I owned in the ‘90s. In case you need a reminder, here are the five:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
I read through the book, heard people talk about it, and at one point I had figured out what Mike’s love language was. I don’t think that I was wrong at the time, but I’ve noticed something unexpected has happened over the years—he learned a new language.
When we were early into our marriage, Mike seemed to love giving and Receiving Gifts. It was natural for him and brought him great joy. Now, as we have grown older and are empty-nested, it seems as though Quality Time has become more important to him. What I didn’t figure on, was that the “Love Language” may change over time. Priorities shift, family dynamics change, and other life circumstances seemed to be contributing factors.
I’ve noticed this more and more over the last couple of years after Mike recovered from a heart attack. Stuff has become less important, and spending time with family and friends has become more of a priority. He often asks me to accompany him to different places, even if it seems mundane or boring. Or he wants me to watch television with him, or meet him at a restaurant if he’s finishing work late even if I’ve already eaten dinner. It isn’t the place or the thing to be done; it’s the time together that has become the focus.
…he learned a new language.
As a woman who is naturally introverted and somewhat independent, I don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of additional time with people. As a matter of fact, I’m usually the one looking at the calendar trying to figure out when I can have some alone time! But, as I’ve watched and really listened to my husband, I’ve learned that he is more happy and content when I spend Quality Time with him. Even if we are just watching tv, he seems genuinely glad that we’re together.
There’s a bonus to all this as well … I’ve learned my own “Love Language” (Words of Affirmation). Because I’m working to speak his language, my husband is more cognizant of mine and is working at using it with me. It’s a win-win!
Don’t allow frustration and discontentment with your husband to take away the joy of your marriage. Learn his “Love Language” and “speak” it well and often. Don’t be shy to tell him what yours is, or ask him what he thinks yours might be. Read The 5 Love Languages together. Life’s too short to sit around confused and frustrated about your loved one. Make a real effort to get to know this important aspect of who he is, and watch your togetherness grow!
Learn your love language here!
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