“I do things for her all the time; it just never seems to be enough.” “I am tired of bending over backward trying to please him. I do things for him all the time and it seems he is never appreciative.”
If I’ve heard these statements once, I have heard them a hundred times from couples who come to see me for marriage coaching.
I get it, it is so frustrating to do things for your spouse to feel like what you did doesn’t matter. This happens all the time in marriages. So, how do we fix this?
First thing, get the book by Gary Chapman, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.” I can’t tell you how many couples I see that say, “Oh, we have that book already. We have read it.” I want so badly to say to them, “If you have read it, it sounds like you flunked that course!”
This is an incredible resource to address this problem. Here is a quick overview of Chapman’s idea.
“The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman explores how people express and receive love through five distinct languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Chapman argues that understanding your partner's love language and expressing love in their preferred way can improve relationships and emotional connections.
Do you know your spouse’s Love Language? He or she is trying to tell you what they need and many times we are not listening. We ARE doing, but we are not doing the RIGHT thing. I know couples who have been married for many years and still do not know their mate’s Love Language. Yet, they continue to do things for them that do not line up with the other person’s actual needs and wants.
"Your spouse's complaints are the most powerful indicators of their primary love language." Gary Chapman
I have even had individuals say, “I don’t know what to do to please her. It seems like everything I do is wrong.” Can I tell you a secret? Look at Tip #2.
There is a simple way to fix this. Are you ready? Okay, here it is. This is an extremely profound method. It comes out of an ancient book from an ancient writer quoting an intense, reflective individual.
In the ancient book, the Bible, found in Matthew 7:7 the writer quotes Jesus, “Ask, and it will be given…”
Very profound, right? If you want to know your spouse’s Love Language, “ASK!” Don’t try and guess what he or she wants and needs. I know you are DOING, but are you DOING the right thing?
"Love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself." Gary Chapman
Create a Love Communicating Behavior list. Each one of you should take the time to create your list of what you would like your spouse to do for you that would make you feel loved.
Be specific. Write out at least 10 things and give this list to your husband or wife. Then, at random times, do one of these Love Communicating Behaviors for them.
“You are doing things, but are you doing the right things?”
It's crucial to prioritize each other's needs and desires in a relationship, as people perceive love differently. Most couples genuinely strive to make their spouses feel cherished, but frustration arises when our efforts seem ineffective. It's not that they don't value our gestures, but rather they long for actions aligned with their specific preferences.
By actively seeking to understand our partner's desires through communication, we can confront this challenge, demonstrating our love and ultimately fulfilling their emotional needs.