Marriage Myth #1: “My feelings are gone…so I guess our marriage is over”
Janice was done with her years- long marriage to Jim, even though they had healthy kids and no financial problems. She’d already voiced her complaints of feeling used, not appreciated and in essence – unloved. No more words to speak, she started planning their divorce. But to give her future self the peace of knowing she’d done what she could to salvage their relationship, she signed them both up for a marriage seminar.
Janice and Jim heard what many have learned about love languages. After that seminar, Jim silently made a plan. One day, he brought her a rose. Later that week, he made an impromptu phone call to Janice, “Can I pick up a pizza on the way home?” Jan was floored but said, “yes”. Jim showed up with treats for the kids and a potted plant for Janice the next day. And then he invited Janice on a Saturday night date. Puzzled but curious, during dinner Janice asked what was up with all the small gifts. Surprising Janice with pizza and flowers was so out of routine for Jim.
Jim explained, “When we were dating, I used to bring you gifts. Once we were married, I figured we didn’t have the money for that and I stopped. Jim explained that he was going to keep bringing her gifts, maybe not every day, but at least once per week, because after trying it out for a week, Jim could see the results. Janice’s attitude toward him was starting to change.
Over time, Janice went from hating Jim to being in love again – because Jim applied what he learned about showing love in a way that would be received as authentic by Janice. Dr. Gary Chapman tells this story and many others in his best-selling book, The Five Love Languages.1
You see, gifts don’t speak love to everyone. For my husband Carey, it’s acts of service that speak love to him. Carey feels more loved if I help him clean the boat or do some yard work. Quality time does it for me. That is, focused time without the devices!
You can learn more about your own and your spouse’s love languages here.
Deciding to make love a verb; to do the things that speak love into your partner’s heart really can help rekindle those feelings which you assume are gone forever. Really.
If you’re struggling in your relationship, maybe pushing past your own resistance and putting love into action will have more influence than you think.
1 Gary Chapman book link, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, paraphrased from pages 89-93;