Chapter 1: Making Your Spouse "Feel" #1
Principle #1: Making Your Spouse "Feel" like they are #1, gives Energy to your Marriage.
In the book "The Five Love Languages", written by Gary Chapman, Gary talks about five main ways that a person can communicate "love", to their significant other.
The five Love Languages are ...
1. Acts of Service (when you do an act of service for someone that you don't normally do)
2. Gift Giving (the value doesn't really matter, it's the thought that counts)
3. Words of Affirmation (kind words genuinely spoken from the heart)
4. Physical Touch (showing affection through touch)
5. Quality Time (just being together, focusing on one another)
I bring up the Five Love Languages, because it reminds me of an "Aha Moment" that I had in the early years of my Marriage.
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One day, years ago, I was sitting in my living room working on a project on my computer, as I often times do, when I heard my wife Sabra, yell from across the house, "Honey, can you get my blue shirt"! At the time, I was so focused on the project I was working on (keep in mind that I'm a guy, and guys are usually not multi-task friendly, unlike most females who can focus on 10 things all at the same time). So when my wife asked me to get her blue shirt, I first paused, then I thought "Oh my gosh, she is interrupting me right in the middle of my project, doesn't she know how important this project is to me"? I "felt" offended by her interruption, did she not care about me?
I then decided to "straighten out the matter", so I yelled back to her (in a firm, but friendly voice), "Honey, I'm right in the middle of something, I'll get your shirt in a minute!"
Now stop right there ... What was I communicating to my wife with my response? I was saying loud and clear "Dear wife of mine ... this project that I am working on, is more important than YOU"! ... You, and "your needs", are less important than my #1 Priority (which at that moment was, my "current" project, among the many) LOL
My approach did not work. What I ended up doing, was I hurt my wife. I brought up the Five Love Languages earlier in this chapter, because one of my wife's primary Love Languages is "Acts of Service". So what that means is that the people in your life make you "Feel" loved, when they do some type of "Act of Service" for you (one that they don't normally do). Example: If you cook dinner "every" day, it's "not" going to make an "Acts of Service" person, "Feel" Loved. But if you "rarely" cook dinner for them, then you go "out of your way", to cook them dinner, it will make them "feel loved". This can also back-fire when they ask you to do some type of act of service, and you say "no", or you say "wait"!
It then makes them feel "un-Loved", which leads to hurt feelings. In this case, my wife asked me to do something as simple as, getting her shirt. If I would have gotten up out of my seat right away when she asked for my help, I would have done two things ...
1. I would have made her "feel" loved (because Acts of Service is one of her Love Languages).
2. I would have made her "feel" like she was #1, more important than anyone or anything.
Wrapping it up
Once I truly grasped this concept, I made up my mind to do things differently. As Tony Robbins always says ... "If you always do, what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got". This is true in every area of your life, especially in your marriage. Most conflicts go on and on, because you have two people that continue to do what they've always done, insisting that their way is the right way. If you keep hitting your head on the door frame as you enter a house, it will cause pain, especially if you do it again and again. Hopefully you will come to a place where you decide to "do things differently", and try a different approach (like ducking).
My new approach was to "make myself" (because it didn't come natural), immediately get up, and do whatever it was that my wife was asking me to do. I tried it a few times at first to "test it out", and to my surprise, "It really worked"! I got much better results than my "Old Way of doing things"! Then I started getting quicker and quicker at responding to my wife's requests, and it really made my wife "feel" loved, and cared for. It made her "feel" like she was more important than my "current project" ... it made her "feel" like she was #1. And you know what they say, "A happy wife = A Happy Life"!
Each couple has their own unique challenges in their relationships, and yet we "all" deal with the same sort of issues. We are all in the same boat together. Some people might feel less important to their spouse, because they "feel" like their spouse is always "working". Some might feel like "second place" because the kids seem to take priority, or it could be sports, video games, their Mother, music, or whatever. The principle to learn is that if you acknowledge that making your spouse "feel" like they are #1 (more important than anyone, or anything), that it will fill your relationship with a fresh breathe of life, one that will put "wind in your sails".
So my homework for you for this chapter, is to set aside time to sit down with your spouse, or significant other, and take turns asking each other the questions below. You also might consider "making an appointment", and scheduling a time to do this on your calendar. Otherwise you might never get around to it. I guarantee you that the benefits that you will receive from taking the time to do this homework (together), will greatly outweigh the energy that it takes to simply continue doing what you've always done.
1. Do I sometimes make you feel like you are "not" #1 in my life?
2. Can you give me an example of a situation where I might have made you feel like you were "second fiddle" to someone else, or something else, in the past? I want to better understand where you are coming from?
3. What are some ways that I could have dealt with that situation differently?