My husband and I have taken the “Five Love Languages” quiz. If you have not, or simply don’t know what that is, click HERE to check it out. “The Five Love Languages” was written by Dr. Gary Chapman, who also wrote the book we studied earlier called “Now Your Speaking My Language.” This quiz is short and relatively painless, but it is super helpful when it comes to knowing how your spouse feels loved by you. We speak different “languages” as a couple and we have different needs. This tool can help couples meet each other’s needs more fully.
My husband, like most men, came back with a very high score under “physical touch.” So, for him, it’s the amount and quality of physical intimacy that lets him know how much I love him. For me, it’s “words of affirmation.” I tend to be a wordy person, anyway, so that is no shocker. I put a tremendous amount of value on words – my own and others. So, I need to hear my husband tell me he loves me, that we are okay, that he’s happy with me, etc.
Now, the truth of it all is that we tend to love our spouse the way WE feel loved. For instance, my husband is always hugging and kissing me, which is great, but it’s not the same to me as him telling me how he feels. On the flip side, I am always telling him how much I love him and need him. But, to him, those are just words when he is looking for my physical actions to show him that I love him. To love each other to the fullest, we need to speak each other’s languages.
My husband and I have run into this often in our marriage because I need words from him and he needs physical touch from me. At times, our “neediness” can be overwhelming to the other. Just last night we were enjoying our 18th wedding anniversary and I wanted to hear him whisper “sweet nothings” in my ear and tell me how much he loved and adored me. Well, we ended up spending an hour talking about our son who has the flu, work stuff, and several other “life” issues that were far from the romantic stuff I really wanted to hear. I began to feel sad, then depressed, then lonely, and so on. I tried to spark an intimate conversation by asking him a leading question about his feelings for me and he simply clammed up. He felt put on the spot and knew that I would analyze every word he said . . . because he knows I take words super seriously.
The night went on and we got past it, but now that I reflect on that conversation I realize that what I needed from him was not realistic. Prompting him to use flowery words that are not comfortable with him is not fair. He is a quiet guy, reserved and a bit shy. Telling me romantic stuff does not come easy for him and makes him feel uncomfortable (or, using his words, “stresses him out”). To him, our conversation about “life” was romantic and loving. Being able to talk about things with me, even the mundane things, makes him happy. He was enjoying our time together quite a bit until I opened my mouth and put unreal expectations on him.
So, my conclusion is this: We need to give our spouse the love they need, but within reason. There seems to be a distinct difference between “needs” and “needy.” I was being needy last night. Yes, I will admit he could have been more accommodating since it was our anniversary and all, but I think things turned out the way they needed to so that I could see the difference between him giving me what I need and me being needy. He tells me he loves me every day. He calls me endearments such as “sweetie” and “baby.” He tells me I’m beautiful all the time. He even says “YAY!” in text every time I text him that I’m on my way home. I am getting what I need. I just needed to see it.
What do you need from your spouse? How can you both give and receive what you need from each other?