Marriage Mondays | Speaking Your Spouse's Love Language

I'm going to first start out by saying that this newlywed couple has wisdom beyond their years (or months!)! When I began planning for this Marriage Mondays series, I reached out to one of my former #ldpcouples, Ryan and Alex, because I had a little background knowledge of how they were intentional about one another's love language. This honestly didn't surprise me, and I loved it!

If I'm being honest, Jordan and I have found ourselves in the same argument over and over, and what it comes down to is us not being fluent or intentional in each other's love language. I felt it was fitting for Alex and Ryan to share their wisdom, and I'm personally so encouraged by their post and delighted that they shared it with us! I think this whole "love language" thing is an interesting concept from which everyone can honestly benefit. Their last paragraph just totally kicked me in the tail in the best way possible, and I can't wait for you to learn a little more. 

Alex and Ryan are definitely one of my favorite couples to ever photograph (hence their cover photo on my magazine), and they tied the knot in Fort Worth this past October. Aren't they cute?! Well, they're as wise as they are cute! Enjoy! 

Happy Marriage Monday! Ryan and I are honored to be apart of this new blog series. We’re all about learning tips and tricks from other couples who are tackling this thing called marriage, and are so grateful to be able to share a few tips and tricks of our own. If nothing else, we pray this post will be an encouragement to each who read it, whether married, dating or single!

Today we’re talking about love languages! When I first heard about them, I was a little apprehensive, but then Ryan made me read the book and I was sold. The whole love tank idea is so cheesy, but so genius. Ryan and I read the book when we were dating and it brought a completely new perspective for both of us.

For those who are new to the whole “love languages” thing, basically you can take a quiz to find out how you feel most loved (what fills your love tank), which is in turn how you usually express your love to others. When your love tank is “full,” it’s a lot easier for you to express love to those around you. When your love tank is “empty,” it’s harder for you to be patient, kind, and loving. The goal is to keep those love tanks full!! The 5 love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. If you’re like a majority of the couples whom Ryan and I have met, you and your spouse most likely have completely opposite love languages. (I think God does this on purpose because it’s a daily reminder to be a little more selfless in the way we show love to our spouse.)

My love language is words of affirmation, and Ryan’s is physical touch. Now just to give you some giggles - when I was little my mom said anytime she put her hand on my leg, I would take her hand and move it off of my leg. I was born with a total lack to love via physical touch!! I have to remind myself to give people hugs when I see them. I want so badly to be the sweet Ryan Moore who gives a big ol’ bear hug to every person he meets, but it just isn’t my first thought. On the other hand, Ryan is the huggiest, loviest guy in the whole wide world, yet he can’t respond to texts for the life of him. Our good friends know that if you want ahold of Ryan, you text me, or there’s no guaranteeing a response. Social media, texting, words of affirmation just aren’t at the forefront of his mind.

Before I get into our tips and tricks, I will also note that you usually have a primary and secondary love language. For example, though words of affirmation “give me all the feels” as Lindsay Davenport would say :), I really, really value any time that I get with Ryan. It doesn’t even have to be quality time. Just BEING with him fills up my love tank. I love when Ryan offers to ride with me up to the store, or chooses to do his work next to me in the living room instead of in his office. These little things fill my tank! So silly, but it does. Ryan values the real quality time the book talks about. I have to remember that I can love him best by using that time in the car to talk about our work week, our passions, desires, our life goals, etc. It’s easy for me to turn on the radio and sing some songs on our way up to Walmart, but I constantly have to remember that I can love Ryan well by using the car ride to have meaningful conversation.

So how do we tackle it? Here’s a few tips and tricks that have worked for us:

1.     “Thankfuls"- Ryan came up with this back when we were dating. Each day we had to share 3 things that we were thankful for, or “thankfuls” as he would call it.  Ryan used this time to compliment me, which just made me explode inside. I know it sounds silly, but it really was a simple trick that made a huge difference in our day and our relationship. Ryan set aside this time to make sure he was providing me words of affirmation on a daily basis.

2.     Initiating Physical Touch - When I realized this was Ryan’s love language, I thought, “Seriously?!” Like I’ll make you coffee every morning, do your laundry, tell you how handsome you are, and buy you gifts all day long, but do you really want me holding your hand all the time? I had to force myself to be conscientious about the way I expressed my love to Ryan, and holding his hand when he grabbed mine was not enough. I realized very quickly how important it was to initiate that physical touch. So rather than waiting until he held my hand, I made it a goal to be the first to grab hands, the first to give a big ol’ hug and kiss, the first to rub his back, etc. etc. That initiation of physical touch meant the world to him.

3.     Work / Wife Balance- Back when Ryan was interviewing for jobs, one of the things he brought up in interviews was work / life balance. Knowing that spending time together was so important to me, he made sure that he wasn’t about to accept a job that would keep him working ’til midnight. Now, due to the nature of his industry, there are weeks when Ryan has to work longer hours than most, but he’s intentional about waking up early (I’m talking 4 or 5 a.m.) to get work done so he can come home earlier to be with me. If a work buddy asks to get dinner after work, he opts for waking up early to get coffee together instead. This man HATES waking up early, yet he does it constantly to make sure he can be home with me in the evenings. I know, he’s a superhero husband….

4.     Pursuing Intentional Time - Like I mentioned before, it’s easy for me to throw on some music in the car and not think twice about having intentional conversations, but knowing how important it is to Ryan, I have to seek out opportunities to make sure I’m not just engaging in those conversations, but every once ina while, starting them myself. During those extra busy weeks, we plan ahead for date nights. We found that if we didn’t schedule date night, our intentional time would get lost in the millions of other things on our plate. Sad, but true. So whether going for a walk or grabbing dinner, plan for time where you can be intentional with your conversations.

Now, if I’m being entirely honest, I think since learning about love languages I’m more cognizant than ever when Ryan isn’t “filling up my love tank” (so dumb!) I have to remind myself over and over and over again that marriage is about pursing holiness and not happiness, and Ryan (though the most incredible husband in the entire world) can not and will not bring me complete satisfaction in filling up my tank. Truthfully, I think if I was pursing, seeking and clinging to the Lord as I should be, my tank would be daily overflowing with or without Ryan contributing to it. I also think nothing truly fills up your tank like laying down your wants, desires, needs, or time for someone else does. This applies to any relationship, not just in marriage. So, our challenge to you, friends, is to focus more on filling your spouses tank (or anyone for that matter) than worrying about how much they are pouring into yours.