50+ Ways To Love Your Lover

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It’s interesting how we often express love to others the way we desire to receive love ourselves. What makes one person feel loved is not necessarily going to make another person feel loved. Gary Chapman wrote the best selling book “The Five Love Languages.”  He describes five basic ways for expressing or experiencing love: Service, Time and attention, Touch, Gifts, and Words.

My husband is very touchy, not surprisingly, his primary love language is physical touch. Holding hands, kissing, hugging and sex speak volumes to him.  Nothing communicates love to Jon like physical touch.

Fate would have it that physical touch is at the bottom of my needs spectrum so I’ve had to learn to speak his love language consistently to meet his need.  We have a special kiss we begin and end our day with as well as when we part and reunite.

Gifts are my primary love language so I was always buying Jon thoughtful cards, gifts, etc..  Even today, with my friends and children, I get excited when I hear something they desire because later I will buy it and give it to them. Buying gifts is my way of saying not only am I’m thinking about you but here is something thoughtful to show you.  Imagine my disappointment when Jon, early on in our marriage, did not reciprocate. Honestly, it’s really not the gift I receive but the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind a gift.  These days he will occasionally surprise me with an orchid, my favorite coffee drink or the gift of time.

Dr. Gary Chapman said, “There is an intangible gift that sometimes speaks more loudly than a gift that can be held in one’s hand.  I call it the gift of self or the gift of presence.  Being there when your spouse needs you speaks loudly to the on whose primary love language is receiving gifts.” 

Unfortunately, we both still miss the mark communicating love to each other but thankfully we keep getting better with practice. The “How Do You Spell Love?” Exercise has helped us and others to better express love to one another.  We were introduced to this exercise via Dudley Bienvenu in his workbook “Married Happily Ever After?”

For my birthday this year, Jon didn’t make time to shop for a gift so there was not a special, thoughtful gift for me to open on my actual birthday. As I was preparing this, we both had to laugh as I read aloud from the chapter on gifts that “A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous.” So true as the day after my birthday Jon went shopping for me and bought some hasty gifts. I think he now has a better appreciation to my reaction. I confess I could have been more gracious.

What’s your Love Language?

Take the on-line assessment by clicking here to decipher what your Love Language is. Be sure to get your spouse to take the assessment and if you have children I encourage you to have them take it so you can understand theirs as well.

Discover 50+ practical ways to love your lover. Learn how to best express their love language by following the instructions of the appropriate document below:

Please let me know if you found this helpful.  What new insights did you receive?

 

 



32 Ways To Keep Your Marriage Healthy

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This June 1st Jon and I will have been married 29 years and been together for 32 years. While we have experienced our share of ups and downs, I’ve come to realize that by investing in our marriage we have fewer breakdowns.

We landed ourselves in counseling back in September 2008 because we were not practicing some of the advice we recommend to others. It had been more than 5 years since we had a marriage tune-up. We were three years past due.

Consider how often we take our cars in for tune-ups and adjustments especially when they start to show signs of breaking down. By doing the scheduled maintenance, vehicles tend to function well.  The same principle goes for marriages.

Jon and I unknowingly began to drift apart as he was extremely busy with starting a company; as a new love is always exciting.  I threw myself into mothering, home schooling, and ministry.  Even though we did not argue and outwardly our marriage seemed ok, inwardly I was lonely and we were distant.

I had been suggesting we seek professional help as our marriage has been through numerous trials.  However, it wasn’t until our eldest daughter approached her dad that he saw the severity of neglect.  She shared with him how she did not see us loving each other and feared we were on the road to divorce. Rarely did she notice us holding hands, kissing, laughing, and going on dates, etc. In short, the older girls did not see joy so our marriage was not bringing glory to God.

Working through personal hurts and acknowledging the pain we had caused to each other allowed us to experience more love and peace.  We are more relaxed and gracious to one another because we sought help. This ongoing investment we are making, God willingly, will bear fruit to a legacy our girls can be proud of.

These days we share with couples via home groups, pre-marital counseling, and one-on-ones the truths we have learned as it’s best to learn from others mistakes.  The following are helpful tidbits we have gleaned over the years:

  1. Be 100% committed to your marriage.  Adopt the attitude that there’s no way out but the grave.
  2. Never use the D word = divorce.  When divorce is not an option you tend to seek help.
  3. Be intentional.  The more you are willing to invest in learning the more you will get back.  Make your marriage a priority.
  4. Protect and prioritize time together.
  5. Be committed to your personal growth (emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually).
  6. Invest in your marriage.  We all need a good tune-up from time to time. We purposed to participate every other year in one of the following:
    1. A marriage conference or seminar.
    2. Read a book on marriage together.
    3. Read aloud a daily marriage devotion.
    4. Participate in a group or class study related to marriage.
    5. Find an older/wiser couple to mentor us.
  7. Preventative maintenance is less costly than legal fees.  Don’t let pride or your ego get in the way of asking for help.  Godly counsel with accountability is invaluable.
  8. Money issues cause more problems in a marriage than anything else.
  9. Maintain short-term memory when it comes to offenses. Be willing to forgive as God has forgiven you.
  10. Be slow to become angry.
  11. Assume the best in each other.
  12. Remember your spouse is not the enemy. You are on the same team.
  13. Realize that your marriage goes through various seasons.  When you come through hard times you have a greater appreciation for the good times.
  14. Date your spouse.  It’s important to have weekly dates and occasional weekend get-a-ways without children!
  15. Have fun together. Remember, laughter truly is the best medicine._MG_8195
  16. Learn and don’t assume you know your spouse’s intimacy or emotional needs.  This is key in communicating love to each other.
  17. Learn how to express love to each other by knowing their love language.
  18. Listen, listen, and listen some more when talking with your spouse.  Men, don’t try to fix things right away when your wife comes to you with a problem as they often just want to be heard. Women, when men come to you with a problem they usually are looking for a solution.
  19. Look at the heart not just the delivery of information being conveyed.
  20. Reflect or mirror back what you hear being said to be sure you heard it correct.  “So I heard you say ________________.”
  21. In regards to sex, men tend to be like a microwave oven and women tend to be more like a crock-pot.
  22. Romance comes and goes.  Friendship is forever and you married your best friend.IMG_1756
  23. Treat your spouse as you would your best friend, only better!!
  24. Find some hobbies to do together.  We personally enjoy walking and talking.  Also, let each other explore individual interests.
  25. Pray together.
  26. Greet each other with a kiss as each day begins and ends.
  27. Lavish your partner with love and grace.
  28. Accept and don’t try and change the other. If they need to change, God will take care of that.
  29. Be each others loudest and proudest fans.
  30. Don’t use the words “you always” and “you never”
  31. Express gratitude daily.
  32. We really need Jesus.

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Well there you have it, everything you need to know, less a million other tidbits.

Now it’s your turn. What would you add?  Please do share.



Marriage Resources – Ministries, Blogs, Books, & More

Jon and I have worked hard to have a good marriage.  Many years ago we were challenged by a question asked, “Do others get a glimpse of Christ when they see your marriage?” We purposed to invested in our marriage over the years and thankfully the benefits have been tremendous. We will continue to invest as being proactive verses reactive is more effective.

Marriages are constantly under attack as there is the potential for so much good to come from marriage. It’s the foundation of our society and the first institution established by God. What happens in our marriages usually filters down to the rest of our lives and it greatly influences and impacts our children so invest in something that can positively impact future generations.

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Consider: preventative maintenance is less costly than legal fees. Don’t let pride or your ego get in the way of asking for help. Godly counsel with accountability is invaluable.


Local Resources in Austin 


Great Commandment David & Teresa Ferguson

  • Intimate Encounters (book)
  • Never Alone (Devotional)
  • The Pursuit of Intimacy

Together in Texas provides free relationship workshops for singles, couples, parents, and teen. By attending you can receive the needed certificate to wave the fee of $60 for your marriage license.

Center for Relational Care (Counseling, Consulting, and Training) Jon and I have personal experience here. Back in 2008 we sough help and had great results.

Intensives Jon and I did an intensive in June 2009 and it was life changing for us.

The Austin Stone Counseling Center  provides gospel counseling.

Hyde Park Counseling Center offers biblically based solutions.

Chris Thurman Ph.D. Chris is a Psychologist, gifted biblical counselor and author.  I have gleaned much wisdom from his teachings and books.

  • The Lies We Believe
  • The Truths We Must Believe
  • If Christ Were Your Counselor
  • Self-Help or Self Destruction
  • The Pursuit of Intimacy

Gloo is a downloadable app for your phone to help strengthen your relationships through shared content. Try code 8c91

This Marriage advice from a divorced man is truly insightful


Various Ministries I’ve turn to for wisdom and biblical insight


Family Life Today

  • Listen to past broadcast (FREE)
  • Be sure to sign up for their FREE daily couples devotion on-line and romance tips for husbands
  • Weekend to Remember Conferences are two-and-a-half day weekend getaways held at hotels and resorts around the US. Jon and I have attended 4-5 of them here in Austin, Houston and in San Diego.
  • I Still Do Conference are practical, one-day marriage events where couples can invest and strengthen their marriage.  We’ve attended 2-3 of these in the past and I am so grateful that FLT is again providing them.
  • Love Like You Mean It Cruise is a five-day cruise loaded with top notch Christian authors and speaker as well as musicians.  This year The Austin Stone’s Jimmy McNeal is one of the performers.  Jon and I did the cruise back in 2012 and highly recommend it.

BOOKS

  • Staying Close: Stopping the Natural Drift Toward Isolation in Marriage
  • Moments with You, Daily Devotion
  • Moments Together For Couples is a wonderful devotion we give our married couples.

Focus on the Family

  • What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women
  • Listen to their past or recent broadcast.

Love and Respect Dr. Emerson Eggerich

10 Great Dates by David and Claudia Arp

  • No Time For Sex – The Arps share five secrets to help time-deprived lovers recapture a five-star love life, including tips for boosting energy and finding time away from the kids. Intimate, frank, and down-to-earth practical, this book is a must for today’s harried married couples.
  • The Connected Family

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott  Subscribe to their weekly devotion and get The Ultimate Guide to Crazy Good Sex for FREE!

America’s Family Coaches Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg

  • The 5 Love Needs of Men and Women
  • Serving Love workbook
  • 40 Unforgettable Dates With Your Mate

Bienvenu Counseling Services

  • Married Happily Ever After?
  • Conflict Resolution tapes
  • Golf and Marriage

Smalley Institute with Dr. Gary Smalley

Shaunti Feldhahn

Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Today OnePlace.com is the leading provider of Christian audio content on the Internet. Here’s what that means for you:

  • Listen to your favorite Christian broadcasters, such as James Dobson, John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, Dr. David Jeremiah, Tony Evans, Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and many more any time, at your convenience!
  • Browse the list of ministry programs offered.
  • Listen live to your choice of several Christian radio stations.
  • Choose to listen by specific topics or hear many compelling answers to frequently asked questions.

Blogs on Marriage



Our Favorite Videos and Audios:



A Few Other Books to Read



Assessment Tools


  • For over thirty years, PREPARE/ENRICH has led the way in helping couples explore and strengthen their relationships.
  • Relational Needs Assessment this assessment can also be done using the Gloo App. which does the scoring and keeps your top three relational needs recorded.
  • Emotional Needs Questionnaire designed to help you determine your most important emotional needs and evaluate your spouse’s effectiveness in meeting those needs.
  • Discover your Love Language 
  • Personality Test Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ typological approach to personality.  
  • Personality Plus Test Although people are unique, Florence Littauer suggests they fall under one of four personality types. These are choleric, sanguine, melancholy and phlegmatic.

Bottom line, there are so, so many resources available if you are interested and seek to invest in your marriage.  I have listed most of what Jon and I have personally benefited from.  Please share any resources that have been particularly beneficial to you and let me know why. I plan to update this list quarterly and will add to your suggestions.

Blessings!