My wife and I joined a small group over the summer after not being a part of one for a while. We yearn for being part of a group like this as small groups have been marriage-saving for us. For the past few weeks our group has been reading and discussing Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages. The book is a #1 best seller and has sold millions of copies. But going through the materials within a group, and with your spouse, is eye-opening.
My wife and I have had a decent understanding of what our love languages are, but along with each couple in our small group we decided to take the love languages assessment. The results were what we we expected. My wife’s primary love languages are “receiving gifts” and “acts of service.” Mine were “acts of service” and “physical touch.” Not surprising.
However, as we discussed the results of the assessments one thing we found is some couples have opposite love languages. Typically when one person expresses love to the other they express it in their own love language, the way that means love to to them. So, it seems it would be harder to speak one another’s love language when you are opposites, but easier when the love languages are the same.
Well, that’s not always the case. My wife and I discussed our assessment and the fact that we share “acts of service” as a primary love language. However, expressing it to one another isn’t always easy. We were stumped as to why.
We were thinking “we click … we understand our love languages … we speak the same language—it should be all good.” The more we talked, the more it became evident that knowing and sharing the same love language wasn’t enough, there was something missing. That something was being intentional. We weren’t being intentional in speaking the language we need the most to one another.
Frankly, we both had become content with receiving but not reciprocating love to one another in this way. The same might be happening in your relationship. You may know what to do, but are lacking the intentionality to do it, and do it regularly.
A lack of intentionality can be a silent relationship killer, so be careful to not let it take root. One of the best times to reassess and change courses when you recognize this is the holiday season and end of the year. Most of us will have more down time and time off from work than we normally do. What a great time to start doing some intentional things to grow your marriage and connect better with your spouse.
I suggest taking advantage of this time with some holiday themed date nights. You can enjoy the season, and enjoy each other. I’m probably preaching to the choir, as you probably know dating in marriage is important, but in just in case I want to give you a little help, a little nudge, and some encouragement to be very intentional about it. Don’t the season slip by and miss some great date opportunities.
Below are 5 holiday date ideas:
- Experience the season. Last year we went downtown and a local church had a live nativity scene. What a great experience that was. Use your dates as a reason to experience all the great things of this season—nativity scenes, the Nutcracker, The Messiah, tree lightings, or caroling.
- Have a holiday movie night. It’ll be cold here in the midwest where we live. So, bundling up inside with hot cocoa and a blanket is a must. Doing so while watching a Christmas movie is a great date night during this time of year.
- Enjoy the outside. I’m not a fan of cold weather, but getting out to go ice skating each year is a must for us. Find an ice skating rink, a sledding hill, or have a good old fashioned snowball fight with each other. The kids mustn’t have all the fun!
- Attend Christmas parties and wear “ugly” sweaters. There will probably be no shortage of Christmas and holiday events to attend. Why not attend or host one and have fun with it by wearing your “ugly” Christmas sweaters.
- Get crafty and decorate. One of my wife’s favorite things to do is decorate the tree. It is now marked on our calendars as a recurring appointment each year. Talk about being intentional! Create some ornaments, and decorate your home and tree together. If you have kids, it’ll probably be a family thing, but you and your spouse can save some things for later after the kids go to sleep.
It doesn’t really matter what you do, the important thing is to be intentional and actually do it. Talk about it, plan it, mark it in the calendar, and then do it. That is the opposite of what we have been doing with our love languages. We knew them, but were very unintentional in taking the action to show one another love in this manner. So, be intentional, have great dates, and have fun with one another!
What is one thing you are excited about doing with your spouse this holiday season?
Jackie Bledsoe lost his job, and his family was homeless, yet he learned some of life’s most valuable lessons from it all. Losing his job changed his life and led him to a writing and speaking career. You can see his words in cool places like The Huffington Post, All Pro Dad, The Good Men Project, Disney’s Babble, as well as HomeLife and ParentLife Magazines (beginning January).
His new book, The 7 Rings of Marriage, releases February 1, 2016, and comes highly recommended by many, including #1 NYT bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. His goal is to help you better lead and love your family, so you can have a lasting and fulfilling marriage, and meaningful influence on your kids.
Learn more at JackieBledsoe.com/LifeWayWomen.