I was joking with a friend that our lawn is my husband’s mistress.
He does like all things lawn care, even if they take a tremendous amount of time. We live on a big lot.
Watching baseball is kind of his mistress, too, but clearly the pandemic has derailed that a bit.
I say it in jest, of course… that the lawn and baseball are his mistresses. But it does generate a worthy discussion about love languages.
Christian Author Gary Chapman coined the term “Love Languages” to describe preferred ways people give and receive love. The ones he identified are Quality Time, Acts of Service, Gifts, Physical Touch, and Words of Affirmation. He has unpacked this, of course, in numerous books.
The term “Love Languages” is used so much that in many regards, it is engrained in our vernacular as Christians. But even beyond the church, multitudes of people have come to use and understand the concept.
I would enjoy sitting on our deck more on nice evenings with my Beloved, because my number one love language is quality time. But I need to look no further than the view from my deck to see what has captured my husband’s heart at this time of year. Ha!
Now to be fair, I also appreciate the satisfaction and enjoyment my husband gets from taking care of the lawn and the plants and the landscaping. If it brings him joy, then I do want him to experience that! He’s the man I love dearly. I want him to have what brings him joy.
To his credit, if he can incorporate lawn care with time with me, he is very much game for that. We planted some flowers together the other night. And I have on occasion helped plant the garden. These aren’t my favorite activities, but I do enjoy time with him.
And it’s not like he’s oblivious to my need for quality time—with him and with my closest friends. I’ve gotten good at expressing my needs. When I say I need some time with him, he realizes that expression is genuine. It’s not a selfish desire. He also always has been encouraging and supportive that I spend time with my friends.
I crave authentic relationship and conversation the way photographers crave perfect light and the way chefs crave fresh ingredients. I don’t even think I have it in me to do shallow relationship.
For me, authentic relationship is nurtured primarily via quality time. It’s not to say the other love languages don’t fuel authentic relationship, too. The more you understand about love languages, the better equipped you are to love well and to express how you best receive love.
What makes you light up with happiness? What makes your spouse light up with happiness? There are good clues there on preferred love languages.
As far as the other love languages in my marriage, I know that Acts of Service are high on my husband’s list of giving and receiving love. Several years of marriage have been good training ground for me to better understand how to love him and allow him to love me in this way.
Physical touch is important to both of us; probably more so me than him. But we both do deeply understand how to touch each other and what it adds to our connection.
Neither of us are huge on Gifts as an expression of love, although we both have come up with some phenomenal gifts over the years. As for Words of Affirmation, being a writer, I am pretty adept at this as a way to show love. Words are my wheelhouse. But interestingly, this ranks pretty low on my list as far as receiving love.
So what about Love Languages in your marriage?
Have you and your spouse grown to understand and appreciate each other’s love languages? On the flip side, can you see where different love languages have at times caused miscommunication or even conflict in your marriage?
If you aren’t familiar with the concept of love languages, certainly you can check out Chapman’s books or even just do some searching and reading on the Internet. Reflect a bit on this as it relates to your own marriage—and then grow where you can.
The lawn may be my husband’s mistress right now. But we still find some time on the deck every now and then. And rumor has it professional baseball may start in July, so I’m sure we’ll enjoy watching some games together later this summer!
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.