A few years ago, my church hosted a marriage workshop centered around Dr. Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. At the beginning of the workshop, each person took the test to determine his or her “love language”—or the primary way that we all express love to each other. Mine is Quality Time. The speaker talked about each language, and when he got to that one, he recommended, “Never go long periods of time without being with your spouse.”
My husband winked at me, and I started to snicker.
Because of his job, he had spent our entire third year of marriage elsewhere. I handled it so gracefully . . . I cried, I couldn’t sleep, I lost a startling amount of weight, I went to the doctor twice (adamantly believing that I had some kind of weird stomach disease—and half afraid that they would name it after me once they figured out what it was) . . . okay, I was a mess. I remember my grandmother looking at me one day with furrowed brows and saying, “I never expected you to fall apart like this!” Instead of being offended, I was equally puzzled and disgusted. I was an only child until I was 16 years old. I lived alone for three years before I got married. Basically, I’m not afraid of being alone. I have noooo problems walking into a restaurant and asking for a table for one . . . and enjoying it! But marriage? Well, that changes everything.
So that Saturday afternoon answered a LOT of questions for both of us. Thankfully, we both recovered from that year (plus a couple of others that came along later) just fine. But to this day, I still try to speak my own language to him, and he tries to speak his to me. I feel the most loved and satisfied when he speaks to me in my own language, and ditto for him. We forget that sometimes.
Dr. Chapman has generously placed his Love Language assessment online for free. I could not recommend it more! In fact, if your spouse declines to take it, I would even urge you to give it your best shot and take it for him or her—see if you can figure out what his or her language is, and then look for ways to speak it. I believe that Dr. Chapman's books and resources are transforming marriages and families by showing us all how to love each other more effectively; what could be better than that?