So one of the things that Courtney and I are trying out to be closer in our marriage (ten years by the way!) is an exercise based on the Five Love Languages. A man I know and admire took those five languages (Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch) and created an exercise where each half of a couple lists five real, measurable, and observable things that their loved one could do on a frequent basis to show how important and worthwhile you are. A good example is “read a book with me” or “touch me when you walk by me.”
The point is that you then act on those things. Doing so does two things:
- Teaches you and your spouse how to communicate within your respective love languages. I would think that most people don’t speak the same love language as their spouse, and this activity teaches you how to talk to your spouse in their love language.
- It builds intimacy (not sex, but familiarity and closeness and trust) because it builds your spouse and your spouse in turn builds you. It creates real power between the two of you.
Courtney and I have debated this for a few weeks now, and I have some ideas of what would mean the most to me. I’ve found that while I like all five of the love languages, I really thrive in Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. I need to hear that I matter to her (and to others for that matter), and no, saying it last week is not enough. Daily would be nice. Hourly would be better! 🙂
And to be touched. To be desired…. Who wouldn’t want to feel like the person you love and who loves you back wants to touch you? To be near you? To be protected by your returned embrace?
One other thing I’ve noticed as I’ve thought a lot about this activity is that it also paints my insecurities and vulnerabilities. It helps me see why I feel so ignored some times by family and friends (and no, that’s not an assault on my beloved family and friends). It helps me see why I like to my name said by people. I like to have people recognize a job well down. Honestly, I’d much rather have Courtney greet me at the door with a hug than a gift. My perfect birthday would be good food, good friends, and gifts if they happened to be given. But honestly… I’d rather Courtney spend my birthday money on gas for travel and food for a party…. 🙂 No gift could ever replace the closeness of the people I love the most being right there!
So maybe Quality Time matters to me as well….
It’s been a fun exercise, and I’m honestly looking forward to the recharging for the second decade of our marriage. In so many ways, it’s surprising to think ten years have already gone by, but as I sit here in my sunny living room watching one kid nap, two kids play on the iPads, and the fourth stir in her crib in the next room, I just have to think how good it has all been.