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I was married for almost two years when the word came out of my mouth. We had been fighting for hours, and there was no end in sight. I picked up a large jar of minced garlic, and I threw it in my husband’s direction. The garlic flung all over the wall, the floor, and our living room carpet.
We both had been pushed too far. When I said the word out loud to him, he froze. We shouldn’t be together, we should just get a divorce. Two years in, and I had already given up on my marriage.
I felt horrible.
All the words we had flung at each other were sitting around us, hanging in the air like the smell of the garlic that was now clinging to the wall. I had missed my husband with the plastic jar, plastering the garlic all over the floor, the wall, and part of our living room carpet. Furious at me, and maybe also a little frightened that I might actually have meant what I said, my husband sat at the kitchen table. “Well, we should divide things up, and see if we can afford it”.
Just like hearing the “D” word spoken from my mouth had pierced his heart, my husband's calm and steady tone while saying these words gave me a chill I'll never forget.
We sat in separate rooms, each armed with a pen and a piece of notebook paper. We budgeted everything from our credit cards to groceries. At the end of our paper, we had each circled our ‘remaining funds’ amount. I was in the negatives. He was just barely in the positives.
Still, I felt at that moment, we couldn’t possibly make it work. He turned to me, his eyes were full of tears.
And he barely squeaked out, “I’m sorry. I don’t want this”. It felt as though the imaginary foot that was pressing me against the couch cushion had lightened its step. It still pressed though, and it still hurt.
“I don’t want to be like this with each other – but I don’t know how to fix it.”
I remember we both had tears running down our faces. He wrapped his arms around me and held me. We cried together that night, and I felt a new leaf turning.
I don’t know exactly how we made it through that night. One of us spent the night on the couch. But we did end up making it, we absolutely did.
The Best Influence On Our Marriage
A few years before that huge, marriage-defining moment, we had the sweetest neighbors that lived across the street from us. They had such a great, inspiring marriage that my husband and I looked up to with great fascination.
I had only met two couples in my lifetime that I felt I could look up to – this was one of them, John & Sara. You could tell they were very much in love with each other.
Sadly, they moved away during our first year of dating, but before they did they gave us a few books. I was twenty-two at the time, and I didn’t really bother to look at them. They sat on our living room bookshelf, collecting dust, but also adding to the façade that we had a great relationship with a strong foundation.
After that big fight, the two of us were licking our wounds and trying to figure out if what we had could be salvaged.
I looked over at the bookshelf. At the very end of all the books, sat "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. It was one of John & Sara's books they had passed onto us.
My mind flashed back to our neighbors. If they could read these books, and have a marriage like THAT, we can too. I hope. I picked it up and started reading.
And that book brought me and my husband to where we are today. I might not have picked it up for the two or three years I held onto it, but I sure wish I had.
The Book That Saved Us: The Five Love Languages
In the book, it explains that there are five different love languages. This means that certain people receive and interpret love in different ways. Here they are:
- Gift Giving
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of service (devotion)
- Physical Touch
I won’t give everything away because it is worth the read. And my summarization won’t do it much justice for its intended purpose.
Once you start reading, you will learn what you and your partner need from one another.
I learned that my husband’s love language was “words of affirmation”, and mine was “acts of service”. I needed him to do things for me (like mow the lawn, or get up with the kids), and he needed me to voice my appreciation and gratitude for things he did.
When you think about it, our love languages really go hand in hand with each other.
After Reading Our Book: The Results
We hadn’t been feeling love from one another in quite a while because we weren’t really communicating that love to each other in a way that we could interpret it.
It seemed almost too simple – was that it? I just needed him to do things for me? And he just needed me to say “Hey, thanks!”???
Yes! That was all it took for us. I mean, there were plenty of other things we worked on, and are still consistently working at in our marriage. But, this book helped us communicate love to one another in a way we could both understand.
My husband started helping me around the house, and I started thanking and appreciating him for it! We both got more of what we needed, and we both stopped being so angry at each other all the time.
We no longer felt neglected of love or underappreciated. And those small little steps we took every day to make our marriage better prevented the huge blow out fights that were built on all the negative underlying issues we hadn’t realized before.
My Recommendation To You
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone. Especially if you are at that point where you know you both WANT to fix your marriage, but you aren't sure where to start.
It was actually interesting to read through with my husband and see which love language we needed to have expressed! I feel silly, but it reminded me of those magazine quizzes we would take in high school, “What kind of friend are you?” or “How much of a control freak are you?”
I guess they have those on Facebook now, supposing you give up your entire friends list, profile info, blood type, etc. 😉
Through reading this book, we found a way to relate better to each other, and actually connected with a few other married couples that found the same solution and reassurance from this book.
It’s never too late. And it’s always worth it to invest in your marriage or relationship.
We wouldn't be standing here today, with two children and a happier marriage than ever before without taking that first step and reading The Five Love Languages.
Thank you so much for reading - I truly hope that if you're reading this and feels like your marriage can't survive another day, you'll pick this book up and give it a real chance...