Marriage is supposed to be hard work, so I have an assignment for you. Learn your husband’s love language.
“You are so handsome.” I batted my lashes at my hubby from across the kitchen table. He kept his eyes fixed on a magazine and stuck out his tongue. “I adore you,” I crooned again. “Do you know what a great dad you are?”
“Uh-huh.” He looked up. “Hey, do you know late the dry cleaner is open?”
“The dry cleaner?” My face drooped. “Didn’t you hear what I said? I’m pouring my heart out to you here, and you’re talking about the dry cleaner.”
“What, I need to pick up my shirts. Would you hand me those chips, please?”
Heaven help us.
My love language? Words of affirmation. Tell me I’m special, compliment my hair or my parenting or my casserole. Reassure me with words that say you love me, then I will feel loved.
The hubby man, on the other hand, is not a gushy words guy. I could tell him a hundred times a day what a brilliant, strong and sexy specimen of divine workmanship he is (no lie), but it wouldn’t register nearly as much as taking out the garbage. Because my husband values acts of service more than words of affirmation.
Compliments don’t come naturally to him. He’s learning they’re important to me, though (because I not-so-gently remind him often), and every once in a while he surprises me. Like last Saturday.
“What are you doing, Beautiful?”
I turned around to see who he was talking to. There were only two people in the kitchen—my husband and the frumpy lady in a faded apron who was poking toothpicks into a batch of muffins. My husband looked straight at me and smiled, so clearly he was referring to the muffin frump. I smiled back.
“I’m checking to see if these muffins are done. Do you want one?”
“Sure. I love your muffins.” He patted my tush and walked away. Inside, my heart squealed. He called me beautiful! Yay!
Fast forward half a day. I tackled a typical Saturday to-do list—laundry, e-mails, baking. But when I went downstairs to the basement to throw in a load of wash, I spotted the mess of hand-me-down clothing bins scattered across my husband’s workshop in the back of the room. These were my responsibility; a project I’d been putting off because it wasn’t urgent and, quite frankly, the disorganized clothes didn’t bother me. After all, I don’t need to step over the haphazard piles to reach the hammer and duct tape. That’s my husband’s problem.
Or is it mine?
Earlier that morning, my sweet hubby stretched beyond his comfort zone to speak my love language. I realized at that moment that I needed to sacrifice my own agenda to speak back—in the language he knew best. So I put aside the laundry, heaved a deep sigh, and hauled those clothing bins to the living room for some serious de-cluttering. Three hours later, my husband had a clear path to his workbench. And I had a better understanding of how to love him.
Think of it this way. Imagine if I gave my husband a Kitchen Aid mixer for his birthday instead of new hunting boots. Because of course I would swoon to see a shiny Kitchen Aid sitting on the counter. Eeek! It’s what I’ve always wanted! But it’s not what my husband wants. He drools over hunting boots. So it’d be pretty ridiculous to give him my heart’s desire for his birthday, right? How would I feel if he gave me hunting boots for mine? Yuck.
Of course we know we love each other. But I feel loved best when my husband shows it in the way that speaks to my heart. And so does he. Isn’t God funny? Often he pairs two people with opposite love languages—in order to teach us how to love unconditionally.
“We love because he first loved us,” (1 John 4:19).
“Honey, I organized the bins. I knew it was important to you and I’m sorry it took me so long.”
“I saw that.” He wrapped his arms around me. “Thank you.”
“Beautiful.” I corrected.
“You mean, thank you, Beautiful. That’s my new name.”
He shook his head and laughed softly. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” And from now on, I’m going to show it better.
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If this post encouraged you, please share it! You might also like He Thinks He’s Being Helpful, When Hubby Leaves His Socks on the Floor, and How to Marry Your Husband All Over Again.
Linking up with: Playdates With God, Titus 2sdays, Wifey Wednesday, Wedded Wednesday, Grace at Home, Thriving Thursdays, Things I Can’t Say and The Marriage Diaries @ Let Why Lead.
Erica - Let Why Lead says
During our eight years of marriage, we’ve gone back and forth about what languages we each speak. I guess we both just have a couple primary ones, which I think is pretty common. Your example reminded me to keep thinking about it, though, because it’s been a while. (Too long, honestly!) Thanks, dear. Have a great week!
I love to see your smiling face here, Erica. I think the love language issue will be a lifelong lesson in our house, but it’s a worthwhile challenge for sure. Hugs to you!
Monica Nixon says
Your husband sounds a good bit like mine. 🙂 When I first got married I prayed and asked the Father to teach me how to love My husband. I still pray that prayer. After only a year of marriage I would venture to say we’re still learning each other’s love languages. I’ve heard it can take a while to learn and then “another while” to get in the habit of practicing. This post encourages me to be diligent about honing in on my husband’s love language (s) and working to love him the way he receives it. I can tell I’m learning. It’s so exciting to see, because I know it’s only God teaching me.
God opens our eyes, so true, Monica. I’m pretty sure it was the Holy Spirit whispering to me, “organize the basement bins” – because my own head would not have chosen to go there! 🙂
Darby Dugger says
Hi! Found this through Wedded Wednesday! Love languages really are like the secrete art to marriage, aren’t they?! My husband is “acts of service” and I am “gifts” and so we are still learning how to speak to each other’s language. However, last night, in sub-zero temps I walked the trash cans down to the curb so he wouldn’t have to. The whole time I was giddy thinking, “this is an act of service.” 🙂 Great post.
Hi, Darby! Thanks so much for stopping by from Beth’s place. I can relate to your trip to the curb – I think the same thing whenever I pick up the trash cans for my husband after the truck has come through. I figure it’s one less thing he has to do when he gets home from work. Now my kids beg to help bring them into the garage! Blessings to you and your family!
You know I say it to you over and over, Becky, but you are a beautiful writer as well. You blow me away every time I come by and that ain’t no lie! (Yeah, I’m a poet too! Who knew?!) An.y.way … I loved your insight and that analogy about the mixer is perfect! I’m also very happy about your new endeavor – Haven Help Us! I’m looking forward to reading your fine work over there too. Hugs to you and hope you had a great Christmas and New Years holiday!
Beth, I so appreciate your encouragement. (After all, I am a words of affirmation girl!) Funny, but every time I write a post about marriage these days, I think, “What will Beth think about this one? She’s the expert!” 🙂 You’re in my prayers, sister. Godspeed radiation and healing. Hugs!
My husband is a server love language – but my boys, – they are all different – (quality time, server, hugs, giver – and one I haven’t figured out – the littests is a little elusive:) Speaking our spouse’s and our children’s love language is life changing – love. love. love your post!
I’m trying to figure out my little one’s language, too! My older daughter took the quiz and displays some definite preferences, but so far her little sister just wants mommy all the time – so, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation… all of it! She doesn’t pick just one!
It took me a while to realize this. That just because something would mean a lot to me didn’t mean it would mean a lot to my husband and vice versa.
It took me longer than it should’ve, Shell. And I’m still learning every day!
My husband is the same way. He will fill up my car with gas when he knows I’m running low.
Awww, good husband, Barbara!
Love love love this post. Thanks so much for sharing this story! With 3 little girls 4 & under + a crazy household to run, I’m 100% sure I’m taking my husband for granted in many ways. Sometimes we’re speaking the same language, other times we’re on different planets. I’m keeping this close to my heart + making more of an effort to speak his language, starting today!
Your words bless me, Amy. I’m happy you’ve found some encouragement here. Blessings from my crazy household to yours!
Tshanina @ Thrifty T's Treasures says
I loved this! Finding out our spouse’s love language is one thing, but putting it into practice is another.
So true, Tshanina! Thanks for sharing your smile here!
Marissa D says
Hi Becky – I love this! There has been a large learning curve for me as I learn my husband’s love language. And after we had kids I had to relearn it. Our love languages seem to change, slightly, as our lives change. But there is joy is searching for it and discovering it. I came across your post on Salt & Light, I’m so glad I did.
Hi, Marissa! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I agree it seems like our love languages adapt as we grow and change. So it’s never a once-and-for-all lesson, is it? God sure does keep us on our toes. Blessings for a great weekend!
Bridget Childress says
I love to be told sweet things. My husband is also one who likes to be showed that he is loved through actions. I love this spot and will be featuring it on the Salt & Light Link Up party this coming Monday 🙂
Hi, Bridget! Thanks for reading and for spreading the word! You brightened my day. Blessings to you and your family!
Sometimes I am guilty of not complimenting my husband enough. I find things to pick on and he is always so sweet. Today I let him know his haircut looked great and he was so handsome. He put together a piece of furniture I ordered for our new home without my asking or even mentioning it. I realized things would go a lot smoother if I said positive things instead of nagging. And sweet words definitely inspire me to do things such as clean out the basement or attic – so I guess it goes both ways.