Have you ever had to put something together like a baby crib, bike, etc, and opened the box only to find the manual inside was only in German, or some other foreign language? Doesn’t work so well.
Not speaking in your wife’s “love language”, and expecting her to understand you, will get you just about as far. I remember early on in our marriage, I decided to show my wife how much I love her, so I decided to get her a nice big bunch of flowers on my way home from work. I went to the flower shop, carefully picked out the “perfect” bunch, and proceeded to bring it home. I couldn’t wait to see my wife’s reaction to what I KNEW would be just what she needed to hear “I love you!” from me. As I walked in the door (beaming with “aren’t I a good husband” pride) and handed her the flowers, she said “Oh, thanks hon! Put them on the counter and I’ll get them in some water. How was your day?”. “Really? That’s it?” I remember thinking. I was expecting her to go on about how sweet I was for bringing her flowers, and how much it meant to her, etc, but all I got was a “thanks hon”. Where did I go wrong?
What I didn’t realize then, was what I guess was pretty obvious to everybody but me: Her love language was NOT gifts. What I would come to discover over the years (and with reading the book The 5 Love Languages), is her love language is TIME. Now this is not to say that she didn’t like a thoughtful little gift from me here and there, but if I would have asked her if she would rather have a bouquet of flowers, or a couple of hours of my undivided attention, she would pick the latter every time.
So what’s the point? My point is, I think we spend a LOT of wasted energy trying to tell our wives we love them in a way that WE understand (sex, etc,), instead of working on saying it in a way SHE understands. It would be like going up to somebody in the grocery store, and asking them if they knew where the chips were – in German. Pretty sure the odds are the poor clerk is going to look at you like you’re from the moon (You know that look from when your wife looks at you that way…lol). We have to remember to TRANSLATE our attempts at telling her “I love you” into ways that she understands. Ways that will be much more effective at filling her “love tank” than if we said it in a way that made sense to us.
The problem with “speaking her language” is that it takes some effort from us as husbands. We have to constantly remember that what we may THINK we said, is probably not what she HEARD. For example, if you say “Hey hon, I’m going to get a load of my laundry done”, she may hear “hey hon, you’re not doing good at getting the laundry done, and so I am having to do it now”. Or when we feel a little disconnected with our wives, our effort to restore that connection may be “hey hon, I would love to make love later”, in which she heard, “Hey hon, I haven’t spent any time with you lately, but I need to use you for my physical need” – Not AT ALL what we were trying to say.
It doesn’t come naturally for us guys, but with some practice, there’s this little voice in your head that goes “Wait! Before you say this, how is she going to hear this?”, and it helps you re-phrase what you were going to say. If you need help figuring out what your wife’s love language is, Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” is a great help, or just pay attention to what your wife is most complaining about. If she always says “you never spend any time with me”, odds are, her language is “time”. If she is always buying people little gifts (including you), odds are her language is “gifts”. See what I mean? Most times, what we do most for the other person, is what we’d like done for us.
Being able to understand how to communicate with your wife, in a way that resonates with HER, is a HUGE benefit. Unfortunately it’s not easy. With practice however, it’s well worth the effort, and you will notice the frustration factor go way down in your marriage.