We did a post on dating your spouse a few months back and I got many emails and messages thanking me for the reminder. I think it’s an important topic and so it’s one I’m going to bring up again.
There’s so much pomp and circumstance that normally accompanies the beginning of marriage. We go into marriage thinking that there must be something special and magical about it to require such celebration. And marriage is indeed special. Among all that celebration and planning, the most important part is simply that you are committing your life to another person and they to you. All the work that can go into planning a wedding? It’s nothing compared to making a marriage truly work and last.
I always cringe when I hear someone say that good relationships don’t take work because it isn’t true. Anything worth having – anything good and real and true – takes work. You wouldn’t build a business without hard work, failures, and lessons learned. Marriage is the same. I still think of marriage as the foundation upon which you build your life together. Foundations must be carefully planned and reinforced if they are to be strong. Foundations require maintenance. No house would continue to stand if it’s foundation were continually flooded, nor will your marriage. When you reach an obstacle that causes discontentment between you, it’s your job to work together to find a solution.
Working towards my eighth year of marriage, I can tell you that most of our fights have started because of words. Words are tricky. Sometimes they tumble out of our mouths without our consent. Sometimes words come out sounding much different than we meant them. Sometimes, the day has just been long and a sentence is all it takes to unleash your anger on the person who happens to be in front of you – your spouse. Whatever the reason, words can start fights. It’s a lesson I am still learning, but it’s an important one for happy marriages. If we want our marriages to thrive, we have to remember not to poison our language with anger or contempt. We have to learn to use love language in our every day lives.
What is love language? It’s not universal, but unique to each relationship. Love language is free of blame, free of anger, and a reminder that relationships take work but they are worth it. Love language is thinking before you speak, removing blame from the conversation, and working together instead of individually. Love language is not, “You forgot to do this and now I’m stuck doing it before I can wind-down.” Love language is, “We can finish this together and then we can both have some quiet time.” Love language is NOT bringing up past fights when new ones emerge and love language is not always having to get the last word. Love language is laced with patience, encouragement, teamwork, and of course love.
Happy marriages are not marriages where the couple never fights. All relationships and marriages will have challenges. Disagreements are an important part of evolving and can be used to strengthen your relationship instead of harming it. When you reach a point where an argument could it occur, it’s important to step back and ask yourself why the situation is really affecting you in a negative way. It’s important to carefully plan out and evaluate what it is you want your spouse (or yourself) to change in order to make your life together better. Once you’ve thought about it, bring it up calmly. Arguing in the heat of the moment rarely accomplishes much other than hurt feelings and slammed doors. Emotions can mask the true reasons why we feel hurt or angry. Taking a few minutes to step back and reevaluate can do wonders for a conversation. When we approach something with honesty, love, and a willingness to work together, we can do much more than we ever could through anger.
Love language is not all, “I love yous,” “Sweeties,” or, “You’re amazings.” Love language is facing problems with maturity and learning to calmly work through them as a team.