Like it or not, when we enter into marriage with someone, we bring baggage. Some of us bring LOTS of baggage. All our past hurts. All our struggles. So many of those come from our past and how we grew up.
You may have heard of “The 5 Love Languages” and you can take the quiz to identify YOUR personal “love language” RIGHT HERE. Up until now, that quiz was one of my favorite tools to help couples grow closer and for marriages to really thrive. I mean it is so important to love someone the way that they want to be loved. Empathy and understanding are crucial to any marriage.
I think I have now found a tool that may be more effective than even the love languages in understanding your spouse. It’s called the LOVE STYLE QUIZ. When you can identify your own “love style”, you can start to work on those deep seeded issues that continue to plague you and your marriage. What’s more, when you discover your spouses’s “love style”, you can empathize with them as they work on their own issues.
What’s cool about the quiz is that it not only helps you identify your “love style”, but it also offers tips and resources to help you deal with all that baggage from your past. So, go ahead and take the quiz RIGHT HERE. And in case you are wondering, my predominant love style is “The Pleaser”.
You knew I had issues, right?
As you probably know by now, my wife and I lead a marriage enrichment class every Sunday morning at our church. We believe that the marriage relationship is the most important relationship, and it’s an essentially foundational relationship in our culture. As such, it’s something we should strive to work on all the time. Like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it.
I came across a cool little article from The Huffington Post titled “9 Things The Happiest Couples Do For Each Other Without Being Asked”. The article asks some relationship experts for some things that happy couples do for each other without being asked. Some are simple things like they check in on each other, or give each other a card “just because”. One that caught my eye that I really believe all couples should do is that they speak openly about their thoughts and feelings. The expert quoted, Samantha Rodman, says that when couples feel like it’s “pulling teeth to get each other to divulge any thoughts or feelings, a relationship can feel very lonely”. So true.
A marriage relationship has to be THE “safe place” to share our innermost thoughts and feelings without being judged or criticized. We have to allow each other that freedom to share. Who is the first person you call or talk to when something great happens? How ’bout when something awful happens? I really believe your spouse should be that someone you should talk to first. You want to share things immediately with your best friend, right? Well, your spouse should be your best friend.
Jimmy and Karen Evans lead a marriage ministry called “Marriage Today”. We use many of their teachings in our class. This a couple who’ve been married for decades and they’ve been through good and the bad. Jimmy defines “emotional intimacy” as the “ability to openly and safely express our emotions in an atmosphere of sensitivity, care, and emotional support. ”
All couples fight. It’s natural. Bottom line is that each half of the couple needs to know that the other half cares. Life is so much better knowing that your spouse cares. That is only accomplished when you are able to build an atmosphere where it’s safe to share ANY feeling and to know it’s valued and supported, and not judged or criticized. I hope you can create that atmosphere for your spouse.