Monday, January 26, 2009

Bringing Home Paradise -- Week 4 -- Practical application


The challenge for the week ahead is to find a way each day to speak visible love to your spouse. A key to using these to express greater love in your home is to remember that overall quantity does not matter as much as quality does. A candlelit time of dessert after the kids are in bed once a month can show more love than hastily written notes every morning. If we are really investing in our marriage, we must put the effort in to make these gifts really count. They don't need to cost a lot of money or take more time than we can set aside, but they do need to take our commitment to show the depth of our love sincerely to keep the flame burning.

These ways will look different in each home, but here are some definitions from Chapman's site and ideas that correspond to the different languages:

Quality time:

Quality time is more than mere proximity. It’s about focusing all your energy on your mate, even an intimate dinner for two can come and go without a minute of quality time being shared.

Quality conversation involves sharing experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. A good mate will not only listen, but will respond to assure their mate they are truly listening. Many mates just need a sympathetic listener.

An important aspect of quality conversation is self-revelation. It is only when you understand your emotions and inner feelings will you then be able to share quality conversation, and quality time with your mate.

Quality activities are also a very important part of quality time.

Some ideas:

- Look your spouse in the eyes and ask how his/her day went

- Have a game night and stay focused on the conversation and laughter that flows

- Think about a special memory and relive it with your spouse

Receiving Gifts

Some mates respond well to visual symbols of love. If you want to become an effective gift giver, many mates will have to learn to change their attitude about money. A person who is used to investing and saving their money may have a tough time. These people must understand that you are investing the money not in gifts, but in deepening your relationship with your mate.

The gift of self is an important symbol of love. Sometimes all your mate desires is for someone to be there for them, going through the same trials and experiencing the same things. Your body can become a very powerful physical symbol of love.

Giving gifts:

- pick up some of your spouse's favorite candy along with a card to express that you are thinking about him

- Make sure you budget for gift giving if this is a love language spoken in your home.

- Make something your spouse would enjoy (baked goodies, a card, a picture, etc.)

Acts of Service

Sometimes simple chores around the house can be an undeniable expression of love. Even simple things like laundry and taking out the trash require some form of planning, time, effort, and energy.

It is important to do these acts of service out of love and not obligation. A mate who does chores and helps out around the house out of guilt or fear will inevitably not be speaking a language of love, but a language of resentment.

Using Acts of Service to show love:

- While your spouse is gone spend some extra time cleaning the area of the house that matters most to him or her.

- Plan and prepare a special meal

- Take care of a household chore that your spouse typically does

Physical Touch

Many mates feel the most loved when they receive physical contact from their partner. For a mate who speaks this love language loudly, physical touch can make or break the relationship.

It is important to discover how your partner not only physically responds but also psychologically responds to various touches. Some touches are irritating and uncomfortable for your mate. Take the time to learn the touches your mate likes.

It is important to remember that this love language is different for everyone. What type of touch makes you feel secure is not necessarily what will make your partner happy. It is important to learn each other’s dialects.

Showing love through physical expression:

- Give a back rub

-Grab your spouse's hand while you walk together

- Reserve some of your energy for the end of the day

- Greet your spouse with a hug in the morning or when reuniting after work

Words of Affirmation

Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Simple statements, such as, “You look great in that suit,” or “You must be the best baker in the world! I love your oatmeal cookies,” are sometimes all a person needs to hear to feel loved.

If a loved one listens for “Words of Affirmation,” offering encouragement will help him or her to overcome insecurities and develop greater confidence. Here are some examples: reinforcing a difficult decision; calling attention to progress made on a current project; acknowledging a person’s unique perspective on an important topic.

Offering words of affirmation:

- Leave notes -- on the bathroom mirror, tucked in a briefcase or backpack, in the mail

- Recognize all that your spouse does in a day and verbalize your appreciation of that.

- Compliment your spouse's appearance, cooking, compassion, wisdom, etc. (sincerely) :-)

Hope that got your creative juices flowing a bit more. Start plotting and scheming to show greater love in your home this week. Can't wait to hear about it!

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