One final topic about marriage that I would like to touch on is the expression of love for your spouse. You’ve probably all heard this old joke. There was an older couple who had been married many years. One day, while they were sitting down to a meal, the wife asked the husband, “Why don’t you ever tell me that you love me.” The man thought for a minute, then answered, “Dear, I told you years ago when we first married that I loved you and that if anything ever changed with that, then I would let you know.” We can laugh at the irony of the joke, but there’s obviously something wrong in a marriage if those words are seldom or never spoken. It is not enough to say them once or twice a year with Mother’s or Father’s day cards, birthday cards, and Valentine’s day cards. Verbal expressions of love for one’s spouse should be spoken at least once a day. However, there are other ways to express love. In his bestseller The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, first published in 1995, Gary Chapman revealed the five ways that we can express love for our spouse (or other loved ones in our life). The five "love languages" are gifts, quality time, words of affirmation (encouragement and telling them that you love them), acts of service, and physical touch.
Men tend to focus on the acts of service, thinking that, if they keep the wife’s car in good working condition and perform all the necessary maintenance or if they complete various chores around the house, then their wives will already know that they are loved. While these may be well-meaning gestures and may be evidence of love, they may not communicate love adequately in a way that the wife will perceive as loving. The important thing, according to the book, is to find out which of these love languages mean the most to your loved one. Consequently, although you may continue to do the things that you think express love such as maintenance on the car, you must also make sure to do those things which meet your spouse’s view of what truly expresses love. And you cannot assume that you know. When you ask your spouse, you may be surprised at the answer. This applies equally to wives as well as husbands. Women tend to be more emotionally aware than men. But if the wife’s expression of love does not meet the husband’s love language, even if she is moving mountains to show love in other areas, then the husband may feel neglected and unloved. This is why it is so important to communicate with your spouse, and to discover ways to bless him or her with what is pleasing in their eyes, doing those things which they will perceive as expressing love.
I had intended to finish today, but I still want to discuss parenting, so I will address that tomorrow. I pray that you will have a blessed day, walking in the pleasure and love of our Amazing Lord.