Saturday, June 2, 2012

Marriage Tips for the First Decade: Take off the Mask (Mask #3)

Mask #3: Couples who are not affectionate with each other do not love each other as much as a couple that shows far more affection for one another.

Scripture to consider:The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.(1 Corinthians 7:3-5, NIV)

The General Reality: For those of you who have not read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, I strongly recommend it.  The concepts that Gary shares have changed the way I look at my own marriage as well as the y way I look at myself.  It didn’t just help my marriage either; it helped me to understand all other relationships I had as well.  My wife and I have had many arguments about the amount of affection we show each other.  I happen to be the one that loves hugs, kisses, and cuddling and the truth is, there is no such thing as too much affection.  It doesn’t bother me to show affection in public either. Now let’s think within reason here folks!  The rest of you can get a room!  I’m not talking about the kind of affection you often see between two young teenagers at the grocery store where you find yourself wondering why their parents would allow such a thing at any time.  I’m talking about the simple hug or kiss that just lets your spouse know that you are there and you care. 
My wife on the other hand, although she can be very affectionate at times, has her limits.  At times of frustration or overwhelming circumstances, she tends to push away.  Suddenly, close contact only adds to her frustration.  The mistake I often make is to assume that this means she doesn’t value me or love me the way that she once did.  This very assumption will cause more friction in our marriage than if I would have just let it go.  The reality is that she doesn’t love me any less.  This is just the way she handles frustration and anxiety and that has nothing to do with me.  There are many more ways to show love and if you read “The Five Love Languages,” you will get a clearer understanding of what that entails. 
So the next time you experience a similar conflict in your marriage or you see another couple that seems to display more or less affection than you and your spouse, understand that this is not a reflection of the quality of their relationship.  Quite honestly, marriages experiencing poor quality relationships can display more affection than those experiencing high quality relationships.  This can also be true in the opposite direction.  Simply put, don’t judge a book by its cover.  Do what works for you and your spouse and you’ll find more harmony respecting that decision than trying to measure up to what others are doing or think you should be doing. 

Conversation Starters


·         Go online and research the five love languages.  What have you learned?

·         Have you ever felt like others have judged you for having too much or too little affection for your spouse?

·         Are there any other reasons why showing affection may be difficult for you?  If you uncomfortable talking about this publically, discuss this with your spouse in private.

Things to Try


·         There are free online tests that you can take to determine what your primary love languages are.  Take some time for you and your spouse to discover together, what those languages are.  Practice speaking their love language to them.

·         If your spouse prefers more affection, try giving it to them.  The results should be rewarding for you as well.

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