One of the blessings of NFP (in that "feels like a curse" kinda way) is its ability to quickly and unforgivingly thrust your relational weaknesses to front and center stage. This is often especially accute during the early years of being newliweds while trying to gain your marital footing, during times of extended abstinence that postponing couples sometimes endure, and during times of noticeable stress. For most of us it comes down to one, seemingly simple, need to feel loved.
When my husband and I were married almost 8 years ago, showing and recieving love seemed so simple. How could my husband not know how deep and unconditional my love for him was? However, what we found as time passed was that we both were feeling like the other wasn't really expressing that love. I mean the words were there.....and we knew that we loved one another...yet we truley struggled with the recurrent disruption in our marriage and relationship centering on a less then acceptable sense of mutually expressed love.
When we were engaged we had heard a bit about a book called The 5 Love Languages but hadn't taken the time to go any further. Coming back to explore this concept more was one of the best things we have done for our marraige. While we still aren't perfect, we see our shortfalls in this area much more objectively now and have the knowledge of what we need to work on moving forward....Let me explain.
The basic concept is that there are 5 main ways in which a person can express or recieve love. They are:
While you may connect with more then one of the above options, generally speaking you will find you are dominant in one or two over and above the rest. And if you look at how you, yourself, show love, you will likely see that as your highest priority in how you would like to receive love.
This is where it became eye opening for us. Not only did my husband and I have completely different love languages, but we actually found one anothers' love language to be the lowest on our priority scale and thus the least intuitive to express. We were literally unable to understand one another and were completely msising eachother's attempts at expressing love. This left both of us feeling very discontent which was most obviously felt during times of stress and/or abstinence.
Especially when a couple needs to postpone pregnancy and finds themselves enduring periodic or prolonged abstinence, good communication becomes a non-negotiable skill for marital harmony and personal happiness. Showing one another love and affection in ways you both understand can mean everything to the health of the relationship and your ability to survive those stressful times.
Now I know that when I see my husband having a hard day, instead of doing that extra load of laundry, and spending my evening cleaning his garage, what he really needs from me is to give him a hug, hold his hand, or just put rest my arm on his while we sit next to one another. And he knows that instead of rubbing my back or giving me a kiss, I need him to help me fold that last load of laundry, empty the dishwasher or wrangle that last resistant babe into bed. I love that man and I need him to know how much I love him. If you haven't fully explored the 5 Love Languages® website take a moment and give it a glance. You might be surprised what you learn about yourself and your spouse both independently and as a couple.
Note: The 5 Love Languages website has all the info you need to get started including short online assessments for several different categories including: Wives, Husbands, Parents of Teenagers, Singles, Children, and Languages of Apology. The quizzes are quick, easy, and at the end will give you an immediate analysis of where you rank in each love language as well as a detailed description of your highest scoring area. Enjoy!
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