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Give Your Marriage a Shot in the Arm

Updated on July 8, 2017

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 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.


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    • Drjacki profile image

      Drjacki 6 years ago from North Carolina

      To Joan: you are SO right. I think you could probably generate a really good Hub out of those thoughts! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am going to be separated for 3 more months very soon, and my spouse is already collecting boxes to send with little surprises...I hope! He is a hopeless (or he would say "hopeful") romantic, and I am probably more like a stick in the mud...but it works.

    • profile image

      Joan Whetzel 6 years ago

      You spoke about being worried about separation due to your service in Irage adding to problems in the marriage. Through the 30+ years of my own marriage, my husband has taken the occasional business trip (a few days to 2 weeks). THe first one or two bothered me - I didn't like being left alone. But, upon the advice of a friend, I began using the time to take care of myself (bubble baths and the like) and to do things that I enjoyed but he hated. When he came home, I was refreshed and ready to come back together. Because I spend so much time caring for my husband and kids (and now grand kids), the time I took to take care of myself made the reunion sweeter. These themporary eparations don't need to be harmful to your marriage. THey give you both timet to do things for yourself and learn to be grateful for the good things the other person adds to your life.

    • Drjacki profile image

      Drjacki 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you, Ardie, for your comments - I get to experience the whole going-away thing again this year but only as far as Kuwait...not so bad because we will have internet/Skype, and we can have real-time video access to each other that way. It's not perfect, but it beats snail mail/email and taped videos!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Aaw, your writing really touched me! At the beginning I was sad for you leaving a fragile marriage and putting your life on the line. Then in the middle I was thrilled for you that your husband was being so supportive and kind. By the end I was wondering if I could fix the communication gap in my own marriage. Only very strong writing can elicit so many emotions with just a few paragraphs. You are one to be followed :)

    • Drjacki profile image

      Drjacki 6 years ago from North Carolina

      @StayPos, thank you so much for your kind comments and additional info on this subject...and your Hubpages "name" says it all!

    • StayPos profile image

      StayPos 6 years ago from Florida, USA


      Great Hub! Thanks for sharing some keys for making marriage magnificent! You're so right about how tuning in to your spouses love language makes such a huge difference :-)

      In addition to the excellent book by Gary Chapman another great reference along these lines of husband and wives speaking each others best " language " is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

      Thanks for your service to our country and welcome to Hubpages!

      Voted Up and Awesome!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      I have never heard of Love Languages but it makes sense. I think that it is so important to remember why you love each other, and if you can spend quality time together, you should make the effort to do this. when you are apart, it is nice to do important things like send letters, etc. So many couples take each other for granted or let every day stress get in the way of their relationship. Life does get hard, but it is important to remember what means the most to you.