Sorry to burst your bubble but we won’t really be talking about how to change him. It starts with you.
I, like many others, believed the romance I saw in movies was real and that I someday could have that type of love. As I got older and found my attempts at that type of love FAIL, I realized…
LOVE IS NOT AN EMOTION! Love is an ACTION!
In the beginning of most relationships I have noticed that the emotional high of love is at it’s best. I call it putting your best foot forward. You are making an impression on someone you care about and your emotions light a spark of what looks like an everlasting, deeply rooted love. As time passes, we find ourselves thinking, “He’s not the same as he was in the beginning.”, “He doesn’t show me he loves me like he did before.”, “We just fell out of love.” All this without stopping to realize that the emotional high (which you called love) has not been enough to hold our relationship (both romantically and in your friendships) together. Take emotional LOVE out of the picture. Now move it into ACTIVE LOVE!!! A love more powerful than any romantic scene in your favorite movie. A love that pulls you away from thinking that something is wrong with him and makes you look at yourself and see where the real issue is. Are you actively loving him? And not just that. Are you speaking his language?
I speak Spanish as my second language and find myself at times not understanding someone who also speaks Spanish. Words used within the Mexican community have a different meaning for Cubans. And if you were to learn Spanish and attempt a conversation with a Cuban, you will soon find you can’t understand them either. We tend to speak in “dichos” (“sayings”) in most of our conversation. It’s akin to southern phrases vs urban lingo.
So we all speak LOVE, right? Gary Chapman broke it down in the best way. Yes. We all speak LOVE. But there are different languages.
You want to heal your relationship? First, LEARN what language you speak. Second, learn your loved ones. And thirdly, ACT on it. You start! And the hope is through your change they will wonder, ask, and then follow.
There are 5 Love Languages
Words of Affirmation –This language uses words to affirm other people.
Quality Time –This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.
Receiving Gifts – For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.
Acts of Service –For these people, actions speak louder than words.
Physical Touch –To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.
Take the Quiz Download and find out your love language (or visit this site to take it online).
Now, this is not to say you only speak one of these. In fact, you actually speak all 5 languages. There are mainly 2, though, you are fluent in. Two that are strong enough that without them you feel unloved. And if that’s true for you the same goes for your significant other.
A little insight to how this works. My love language is quality time and physical touch. When I first began dating my husband we both were strong on all 5 languages. We bought each others gifts that made us smile. We spend time together getting to know each other. We were encouraging and complimentary with our words of affection. We served each other. (We were very helpful and selfless in the beginning. Mainly to impress.) And physical touch was particularly special in the beginning (in an appropriate way).
As months went by dating, then engagement, marriage, followed by a baby “all of a sudden he’s not all 5!” Or as most would notice in their relationship, “He’s not showing me he loves me.”
What changed? Only the EMOTIONAL spark of love that burns strong during new beginnings. Which is why many enjoy starting relationships but sadly not continuing with them. Many don’t put the work in and see their relationship continue growing in an ACTIVE love.
We’re human, so naturally, I didn’t care to always serve him. Nor is it really my thing to affirm with words. So those 2 quickly faded. And as much as I love receiving gifts, it’s not MY need to have it to feel loved. (Notice the “MY” in that last sentence). It’s not for you to FEEL loved. It’s for you to actively love in the language HE understands.
So, I realized to love my husband in a way that fills his love tank* I will need to work on affirming him as the amazing husband that he is. Use words that I’m not use to putting together so that he feels loved and appreciated. Fortunately for me his other 2 strong love languages are the same as mine so we tend to fill each others tanks often.
*Imagine we each have a tank that gets filled with love as we receive it in our own language. When you’re feeling unloved, your tank is empty. The goal is to fill each other’s love tank. (great example Gary Chapman uses in his book).
What is amazing about this concept is that it is not limited to romantic relationships. It can be used on family and friends and a great way to appreciate others.
For the longest time I couldn’t understand why my step-dad would get angry at us when he’d come home from work. It was almost always the same.
“Did you walk the dogs?”
“I will. Later.”
“No. Do it now. You didn’t take the trash out. The dishes are still here.”
“I’ll do it before I go to sleep.”
Then he would leave upset with me. I couldn’t understand why. I took it as he was a grumpy old man and was just trying to find something to nag me about like most parents do. Then I learned the 5 Love Languages and realized his love language was acts of service. It had nothing to do with him telling me what to do. He came home after a long day of working (serving us) to come home feeling unloved because we didn’t serve him in return. Without telling him what I discovered I decided to put it into practice. I began cleaning and doing things before he got home and before he’d say anything. Out of habit he’d come ready to ask but would fall silent, see everything taken care of and he’d walk away with pride feeling loved. It changed our home dynamic. I was ACTIVE in loving him. And FYI, I hate doing dishes and taking out the trash. I did it to let him know I loved him by speaking HIS language.
Look for your loved ones language. Figure it out and give yourself the opportunity to act upon it. See if you notice change in the way they respond. It has worked in my life. It has made it easier distinguishing someone’s own language, how they feel appreciated, and how best I could ACT upon it.
I would love to hear your story and results of putting the Love Languages into practice. Leave a comment below.