Seven from Seven (part 5)
If you missed part 1 and are wondering what this is all about you can read it here. If you want to read the parts in order, click here for part 2, part 3 and part 4 also. Basically in the year that Lucy and I are celebrating seven years of marriage I’m sharing seven things we’ve learned in those years. Not to brag, not to show off, not to pretend we’re perfect, just to talk about some things that have helped us and that will help to build our marriage further in the years to come. I’ve broken it into 7 parts so it’s not too much to read at any one time. Parts 1 -4 were published over the last few nights, here’s part 5, and parts 5 & 6 will follow tomorrow night and the day after.
The first lesson was: we’re not perfect and that we shouldn’t expect too much of each other.
The second lesson was: we’re not God.
The third lesson was: not to go to bed angry.
The fourth lesson was: love is sacrificial.
The fifth lesson is: we’ve learnt to speak in each other’s love languages. Different people speak different love languages; they express and receive love in different ways. What to one person is loving is to another barely worth taking notice of. Gary Chapman has defined five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, gift-giving and acts of service. Some people can do most or all of these at times, but, like having a mother tongue, we all have one love language which comes most naturally to us.
In marriage love has to be conveyed in a language that the other person understands. Lucy likes gifts as much as the next person, but I can lavish all manner of presents on her and she can still feel unloved if I don’t give her the quality time that is her primary dialect. If I neglect that, I might as well be speaking Greek to her. Conversely, Lucy does all kinds of acts of service for me, whether it’s cleaning the bathroom or sketching out a design I’ve got in my mind, but that’s not my main love language. I appreciate those things, but unless they’re accompanied by words of affirmation I will feel unloved. So, even though these other expressions of love might not come naturally to us, we have to become fluent in them for the sake of our spouse. It’s as hard but as rewarding as learning another language, say French of Italian. But a failure to do so will mean all kinds of frustration and mis-matched efforts. Your best will never be enough if it’s lost in translation, so spare yourself wasted effort and invest your efforts where they’re most readily understood.
Come back tomorrow for part 6…