Michael and I went to a Valentine’s Day dinner at our parish last Friday. The evening included a talk on marriage by Lloyd and Jan Tate, a great couple from New Orleans. I was surprised when the Tates ended up speaking about the Five Love Languages. My first thought was something like, “Well, I’ve heard this all before….”
But the Tates got into the meat of their (actually superb) talk, I realized that God was putting a little nudge on my heart. I really needed the reminder to love on my husband in the way he best feels my love for him. All evening, the song “Wishin’ and Hopin” from My Best Friend’s Wedding was stuck in my head, hence my post.
We won’t reach our spouse’s hearts by thinkin’ and prayin’ and wishin’ and hopin’ (or, ahem, resentin’ and comparin’ and criticizin’ and naggin’). We have to see our spouse’s need for affirmation, or thoughtful gifts, or quality time, or physical touch, as legitimate and real. Then we have to choose to love in those ways that make our spouse feel loved.
I have a very high-scoring Physical Touch spouse. Physical Touch is my lowest score. Go figure. I have to be so intentional about all of those little ways I can add a gentle squeeze, or hug or kiss on the cheek to our everyday interactions. Those things are easier now than they used to be, but they still do not come as naturally to me as they do to him. Touching my husband is sometimes a big stretch for me. I would even go so far as to say it’s a real sacrifice for me at times. But I think that no matter which love language we have to be intentional about using towards our spouse, it’s going to be a stretch and a sacrifice at times.
I like the line in the song: “Just do it, and after you do, you will be his.” Because sometimes we just gotta do it. And sometimes we instantly soften our spouse’s heart, and other times it takes a little while. But all the while we are doing this work of giving and waiting, the beautiful things is that the more we do out of love for our spouse, the more we are His. That’s how marriage brings us closer to God.
You can read into the lyrics of this silly song all you want–I think they used quite a different interpretation than mine for My Best Friend’s Wedding.🙂 I, for one, am thinkin’ tonight about “how great true love is,” and that there is nothing wrong and everything right about “doing the things he likes to do” for love of my husband, and ultimately for love of my God.
"We have to see our spouse's need for affirmation, or thoughtful gifts, or quality time, or physical touch, as legitimate and real." I've TOTALLY been thinking about this lately!! My marriage is not about me. Why is that so hard for me to get sometimes??
Erin Franco says
Girl, I've been there. Kinda recently. 🙂 I had this crazy realization of how the devil had gotten me to this point of being so deeply self-centered and brooding. I literally prayed that God would help me take my thoughts captive and get away from thinking about myself and my problems so constantly. It's one of those crazy God stories, but pretty much God led me to read about St. Ignatius' discernment of spirits, and I realized that I had been plagued a lot by a spirit of desolation, a defining characteristic of which is self-centeredness. I know, right?! So…if any of that resounds with you (or anyone else reading this), check out this site that I found when I first started looking at this: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/making-good-decisions/discernment-of-spirits/introduction-to-discernment-of-spirits/