Give Your Marriage a Shot in the Arm
Speak the Language
Every marriage goes through periodic changes as the years go by. The partners grow as individuals, and in turn, their relationship with each other must necessarily grow and change. Since I walked down the aisle at age 20, an event 30+ years in my past, I would hope that I have grown substantially in terms of the ways in which I view myself and others as well as how I communicate. But a life-altering event in 2008 caused me to second-guess just how much further I needed to grow emotionally and how much work I needed to do in my own marriage.
Fall of 2008 brought the news that the US Army wanted to send me to Iraq for a 3-month tour. At that point, I already noted emotional distance from my spouse, and I worried that the physical distance would exacerbate our fragile marriage. I could not have been more wrong.
While in Iraq, my husband began sending me poetry, love letters and thoughtful gifts to the degree that my colleagues serving in the same unit noticed the volume of packages addressed to me. Each time I opened a card, letter or box, I felt a renewed sense of love for the man I was otherwise taking for granted while sitting comfortably at home in the US. He was speaking my language...my love language.
I had never heard the phrase "love languages" or read any books about marital issues prior to my Iraq adventure, but a friend introduced me to the series of books by the well-known author, Gary Chapman. His simple, reproducible approach to improving communication between couples appealed to me, and I immediately applied those principles to my own life with remarkable results.
There is no doubt that marriages that last for decades are fraught with ups and downs over the years. It's a work in progress with compromise from both parties. Communication is the key issue, and couples need to find and exploit their unique love languages in an effort to maintain a long, healthy relationship.