I have great conversations with my friends; and sometimes those conversations can be challenging. I recently referenced one of my favorite books, The Five Love Languages, and that sparked an interesting conversation with a girlfriend. Sadly, my friend and her husband are having marital problems and while I pray that God will save their marriage from demise, it’s not looking good.
You see, the problem is that my friend’s needs are not being met, and her husband seems uninterested in meeting his wife’s needs. As I’m speaking with my friend we began to talk about what our love language is. Everyone has one and it’s important that couples know one another’s love language because everyone feels love differently. Before I go any further, let me tell you what the five love languages are that Gary Chapman discusses in his book:
- Words of Affirmation – Spoken praise and appreciation
- Acts of Service – Goes beyond saying ‘I love you’ to actually helping and doing things that show love and appreciation
- Receiving Gifts – The gifts need not be expensive or elaborate; it’s the thought that counts. Even something as simple as a homemade card or a few cheerful flowers will communicate your love to your spouse. Little things mean a lot to a person whose primary love language is receiving gifts.
- Quality Time – Giving undivided attention is one of the best ways you can show your love.
- Physical Tough – In marriage, the love language of physical touch includes everything from putting a hand on your mate’s shoulder as you walk by, touching his or her leg as you’re driving together, and holding hands while you’re walking to kissing, embracing and sexual intercourse. If physical touch is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing communicates love more clearly than for you to take the initiative to reach out and touch your mate.
Ok, so now that you are up to speed on what the love languages are, I will tell you that my top three love languages are (1) words of affirmation; (2) acts of service; and (3) quality time. Sadly, my friend repeated that her needs are not being met in marriage and she was frustrated. I immediately thought of what Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People said about Emotional Bank Accounts. He fashioned our emotions to that of an ATM. He said if we constantly withdraw money from our bank accounts without ever making a deposit, eventually the account will be depleted of all funds and the account goes into an overdraft status. Mr. Covey says the same thing happens to us in our relationships. If we are constantly giving…giving…giving; giving our time; giving our love; giving our attention and not having the same deposited back into us, eventually our emotional bank account goes into an overdrawn status and we feel depleted.
Surprisingly as my friend and I continued to talk she tells me that she is no longer angry at her husband for not meeting her needs. She said after a lot of prayer, soul searching and counseling with her pastor, she came to the realization that it’s not that her husband does not want to meet her needs, he has no idea how. That statement blew me away…and challenged me at the same time; ‘He has no idea how to my meet my needs.’ I’m challenged by that because my tunnel vision perspective says he does not want to. People do what they want to do and if he really loved his wife and was really committed to making it work, he would do whatever was necessary to ensure that his wife’s needs are being met.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he really doesn’t know how. I immediately thought of my last relationship. When I was homeless and jobless and had nothing but my faith, I looked to my friend (whom I was living with at the time) to fill the void I was feeling. To help me to feel better about myself and my situation. I was looking to him to be my emotional rock but he was not doing that. I remember lying on the sofa crying and praying about my friend not doing what I thought he should have been doing, when I heard God’s voice say, “I Am He who is your everything.” Talk about an AHA moment!!! So while I was challenged by my friends revelation, I get it…her husband, like my friend, is not able to meet her needs. Sadly, he has no idea how; and that has nothing to do with his wife, as it had nothing to do with me.
My friend said she feels free now that she realizes that her husband is not able to meet her needs. I understand completely as I felt freed as well. Talking to my friend though has caused me to change my prayer about my husband. I now pray that he will also take the time to learn my love language(s) and love me in a way that fulfills me.