I’m Married … Help Me! Keeping Love Alive

By: Donna Clark

What happens to love after the wedding? If we were in love, why is it that now it seems we’ve fallen out of love? Does love really stay alive and continue to grow in some marriages? If it doesn’t, is that why we have so many divorces, or do couples continue to live with that nagging feeling of emptiness, a marriage void of love. Keeping love alive is crucial for a marriage to be successful, for a marriage to survive. So, how do we do that? Good question. As a matter of fact, it’s a very important question and it’s one that couples should ask themselves on a regular basis. Marriage is the mix of love and a heartfelt commitment between a man and a woman who promise to stand by each other through the journey of life. A union of hearts that results in a bond that goes beyond friendship making individuals soul partners for life. When a marriage is healthy, each person feels loved and appreciated, then the relationship is strong and prepared to weather the storms of life that come.

According to Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, we each have a love tank. For our marriage to not just survive but flourish and be enjoyable, our tanks must stay full. A marriage can’t run on an empty love tank any more than your automobile could operate with an empty gas tank. A husband’s love tank can only be filled by his wife and the wife only by her husband. Knowing how to show love to your spouse is the key.

On the brink of divorce, a couple sat across from their marriage counselor hoping to save their marriage. The husband shared how he had worked so hard and had become a very successful businessman. His success had allowed him to give his wife a beautiful new home, new automobile, extravagant gifts, all the finer things of life. He just couldn’t understand why she wasn’t happy, why she didn’t feel loved. The wife then began to express her feelings. Yes, her husband had provided all these things, but that didn’t make her feel loved. The material possessions were not what she was needing to keep her tank full. She longed to spend time with him. And since he was driven to have his business succeed and provide monetary gifts, there wasn’t much time left to give to her. No doubt this husband was trying to show his wife that he loved her, providing for her all that she needed and many things that he thought she wanted. But his thoughts of showing love were not what his wife understood or received. What spoke love to her was completely different from the ideas that her husband had. Therefore, an empty love tank. And a marriage failing.

All of us have a love language. Dr. Chapman, in his book, has determined that there are five main love languages and that we all have one language that will overpower the others. Knowing the love language of your spouse can’t be stressed enough. Love has to be spoken in a way that is understood as showing love.

Quickly, I want to share the five languages with you. If you want your marriage to thrive, I highly encourage you to determine your spouses love language and your own also. The 5 Love Languages is a wonderful tool to help do just that. And once you determine the love language of your spouse, Dr. Chapman gives great examples of how to love through that language.

Words of Affirmation: Solomon wrote, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” There is tremendous power in verbally affirming each other. Compliments, words of encouragement, and approval are powerful communicators of love.

Quality Time: Giving your spouse your undivided attention. The cell phone is put down, TV turned off, and giving each other your full attention. Looking at each other, talking to each other are ways of giving life to each other. It’s a powerful communicator of love.

Receiving Gifts: For someone with this love language, purchasing gifts is one of the best investments you can make. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just a small item given with sincere thought can speak love in a huge way.

Acts of Service: Doing things that you know your spouse would like for you to do, cooking a meal, trimming the shrubs, walking the dog are all acts of service. They require thought, time, and effort and are a great expression of love.

Physical Touch: “Love touches” are the emotional lifeline for the person whose love language is physical touch. Without those touches, a spouse can feel rejected, unwanted, and unloved.

Seldom do we speak the same love language as our spouse. We can become confused or frustrated when we are trying to show our spouse we love them, through the language we understand, and our spouse doesn’t receive it as such. The problem is we’ve got to speak to our spouse in THEIR language, not ours. Only then will it be heard and received as love. This is a great example of sacrificial love. Learning how to show love to our spouse in a way that’s not familiar to us. It requires intention, sacrifice, and time. Once you discover your spouse’s language, then you will discover the secret to a loving marriage.

Give the book a read. It will guide you into some eye-opening truths about yourself and your spouse. The outcome, should you choose to follow Dr. Chapman’s advice, will be great and you won’t regret it.

Making a better marriage,

By: Donna Clark