Journal Relationships

How To Love Your Spouse… Their Way

Written by Rebecca Undem

One Wednesday morning, I had an epiphany.

Besides being known as “hump day” Wednesday happens to be garbage day in my neighborhood.

While I was making coffee in the kitchen, to my complete and utter shock, my husband walked through the kitchen, grabbed a big black garbage bag, and disappeared.

He later returned with a full bag of garbage, after having collected the trash from the various trash cans around our home.

If our kids weren’t home, I’d drop my panties right now for him, I mused.

I smiled at the thought and then at him and said, “Thanks for doing that.”

He said, “Yeah. No problem.”

When he later walked out the door, I took a minute to reflect on my admittedly strong response.

If you’ve never read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and you’re in a love relationship, you should stop what you’re doing right now and go grab a copy.

Do it. I’m serious.

The awareness of that seemingly innocent moment in my kitchen was made possible by this book.

See, my love language is Acts of Service.

I feel most loved and cherished when I get help.

Unfortunately for me, I’m married to a farmer and there are large chunks of the year where he isn’t even home during any daylight hours to see our children, let alone “serve.”

Since we moved back to my hometown and became a farming family nearly nine years ago, this has been the challenge of my marriage.

I am responsible for nearly everything on the home-front. His job demands it. In fact, up until recently, I was also responsible for the garbage.

Through the years, when I feel particularly challenged by the imbalance farming creates, I’ve had moments when I think to myself, I just don’t need him.

It’s a scary feeling and it would be dangerous…if I kept it to myself. Lucky for my spouse, I rarely, if ever, keep things to myself.

At the prompting of a good friend who I had poured my heart out to about how I’d been feeling “taken advantage of” and how overwhelmed I was all the time, I sat down with my spouse.

I reminded him of my love language and asked if he could take just one thing off my plate. One thing that he could be completely responsible for. Even during the busy seasons.

He chose the garbage. I was elated.

My husband is wonderful at telling me he thinks I’m beautiful and showing his love with physical touch.

The quick butt pat is a common occurrence with him.

But no matter how hard I try, I cannot make myself feel loved by those actions. Acts of Service is where it’s at for me.

Every time he shows me love in my preferred language, I’m also blindsided by the obvious truth that if I need him to honor my love language, I in turn, ought to honor his.

His love language is Physical Touch.

So, here’s the irony: if I had acted on my initial thought process when he hauled that garbage into the kitchen, he would have felt loved, and in turn, likely would have sought more opportunities to “serve” me in the future.

And isn’t that what love really is?

It’s choosing to put aside your needs for the other person and in turn, nearly always receiving love in return.

It’s a never-ending dance which requires honest, meaningful dialogue and the willingness to take a hard look inside yourself.

We need to realize that if we aren’t speaking to our spouse in their preferred language, even the most loving acts won’t get the reaction or response we expect.

So today, think of how you can love your partner in the way they need to be loved. Watch them bloom under the intentional demonstration of your care and concern for them.

And I guess for me, that means I’ll be scheduling an early drop-off for the kids next Wednesday.

About the author

Rebecca Undem

Rebecca Undem yearns to live in a world with bold, inspired people who aren’t afraid of making mistakes; with a forever-full cup of coffee in her hand, preferably nut-flavored.

A professional development expert with nearly a decade of experience, she’s a highly sought after speaker, traveling the country, sharing her message of how to live BIG regardless of what you do for a profession or where you happen to be.

When she’s not writing or developing solutions to help individuals, businesses, and communities think bigger and challenge the status quo, you can find Rebecca cleaning up a variety of messes made by her three young children or her farming husband.

Her personal memoir How Mommy Got Her Groove BackTM was released in early fall of 2016.

Visit www.rebeccaundem.com for actionable and inspirational tips for getting your own groove back!