How To Keep The Love Flame Burning After Marriage

by - July 07, 2017

“What happens to the love after you get married?” This is a question many people dwell on after going through a failed marriage or even in the midst of their marriage. Things went great before getting married and sometimes a few years after marriage, but then, somehow it all falls apart. There seems to be no more love, or at least nothing close to the love people used to feel before.

There’s a difference between the in-love experience and the real love and it’s not a matter of choosing between them because they’re successive; You first fall in love, and when the love is at its peak, you feel emotionally obsessed with each other, he or she is the last thought on your mind before bed and the first when you open your eyes in the morning. You feel too altruistic, you vow you won’t do him or her any harm and you believe strongly that you’ll live happily ever after and that’s the in-love experience, unfortunately as much blissful as it feels, it won’t last forever. In the book of marriage, this is only the introduction. Studies have shown that the average of this experience lasts about two years. After that, reality hits hard. The little traits that once were overlooked are now problems and arguments.

Now you’re faced with two options: You can stick with your spouse and live feeling unloved and miserable or you can get away and try again. Nowadays, many would go for the latter, but before concluding that they’ve made the right choice, you need to know that studies have shown that the divorce rate for second marriages is at least 60 percent.

However, there is still a third option and that would be to pursue “real love” with your spouse, the kind of love that balances emotion and reason.

Keeping the love alive requires some working and growth. People keep talking about it, on radio, on TV shows, they write endless articles and books about it, but many seem to forget an important fact to keeping the love alive in a marriage which is, people, speak different love languages.

Like the case when you and your partner speak different languages, you can say “I love you” over and over again, but if your partner is speaking a different language, he/she won’t be able to understand how you love him/her no matter how much you say the words.

It goes the same with love languages, each one of us has his own language through which he can feel loved. Like for example a woman who sense true love mostly in actions; as when being helped and stood by or when her partner would go the extra mile to get her something special, it’s not exactly about the thing as much as it is about the effort and the time. Now her partner might be deep in love with her, only, he knows no other language to express his love but in words. He keeps on telling her how gorgeous she is, how much he loves her and is proud to be her partner and he can go on like that and still, that woman would feel unloved and miserable. The message does not come through. She can’t understand his love language, she can’t see how much he loves her. She was looking for love in his behavior and couldn’t see it.

The need to feel loved by one’s spouse is a vital need, and marriage is designed to meet that need. So, to love isn’t enough, you must learn your spouse’s love language. Below are the five love languages I’ve learned from 
The 5 love languages for GARY CHAPMAN  and how to find out which language is yours and your spouse’s:

1- Words of Affirmation:

If words of affirmation is your spouse’s primary love language, you’d be amazed then at how words can change your marital life. Not just compliments and words of love, but also encouraging and kind words.

Appreciation words:

When you feel like appreciating something in your partner don’t hold yourself from expressing it, it might be simple, but it can make your spouse’s day. It can go like this: “You look hot in that dress!”, “Thanks for picking me up on time, I want you to know that I don’t take that for granted and I appreciate the effort you make for me.”

It’s almost magical that when you do the same things and receive appreciation you don’t feel as tired and exhausted as when you do them without receiving any appreciation at all.

When you want to get your spouse to do something, be it for you or for the household, nagging words definitely won’t do. On the other hand, an appreciative word might be all you need. I’m not speaking about verbal flattery, this a sincere appreciation for everything your spouse is and does.

Encouraging words:

When living with a partner, it’s important for both of you to grow. Everyone has his own insecurities that hold him back from exploring their potential. Often, all your partner really needs is a simple word of encouragement. It might not sound to you of a big deal, but for him, it might mean a lot.

This is not about pressuring your spouse to get him to do something you think he should, it’s rather about encouraging when he expresses his interest in doing something. For example, you don’t go telling him “You need to get a better job”, he might perceive it negatively, as though he isn’t affording well for his family and he might be enjoying his current job in the first place. Instead, when he asks you what you think about going for a better job, you can express your sincere opinion about it and encourage him.

Kind words:

Whenever you address someone, he’ll be interpreting your message based on your tone of voice, the same word can have many meanings when said with different tones.

When arguing, the tone of voice can change the course of the arguments. If a word of anger is reciprocated with a kind word, your spouse would certainly abandon any aggressiveness to let reason take hold of the argument. If it’s a misunderstanding, try to see the matter from the other one’s point of view. If you’re wrong admit that you’re wrong and ask for forgiveness, and if you’re the one to forgive, remember that forgiveness is the way of love. Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs.

Humble Words:

“Love makes requests, not demands.” When with children a parent might demand because his child needs to be told what to do. But now as grownups, you’re equal, you don’t demand, you request. When you want your spouse to do something for you, you express your desire and ask him/her politely. Intimacy should prevail our marital lives, even when it comes to requests. Instead of going on like this: “About time you took the garbage out”, try the following: “Can you please take the garbage out, I really appreciate you doing this for us.”

Words of affirmation, might not be your primary love language, but if it is your spouse’s, which means that he/she feel most loved when you tell him/her these words, then you’ll have to practice saying these words until it becomes a habit of yours if you want your spouse to feel loved and fulfilled. Always show your gratitude when your spouse does something for you or for the household, even if you think it’s his responsibility. No act shall be taken for granted.

2- Quality Time:

The love language of the couple might be different if one’s is affirmative words, the other’s might be spending quality time with him/her, and that’s how he/she feels most loved.

Quality time means undivided attention. It doesn’t mean talking while you’re reading the papers or watching TV or driving. It means looking into each other’s eyes and talk.

For example, if your spouse’s primary love language is quality time and you give her little of your time because of your job, she might be emotionally unsatisfied and therefore she would hate, not your job, but the fact that you spend much time working and little time with her. She’s feeling little love coming from you. She might feel like she’s not number one priority in your life and this would most probably lead her to feel insecure in your love.

Focused Attention:

When, for example, you cook supper with your wife and not the cooking that you’re focused on but the fact that you’re cooking together, that’s focused attention and that’s the real intimacy that comes from sharing activities and giving each other undivided attention.

When you do something with your spouse, you don’t exactly have to love it, you just have to do it with a positive attitude. This can mean a great deal to your spouse especially if it’s his or her primary love language.

Here are some practical tips:

- Ask your spouse for the activity that he or she will enjoy doing with you.

- Make plans to do each one of them once in a month at least.

- Think of other activities your spouse will enjoy doing with you. Like shopping, working out…

- Make more time for your spouse by reducing time-wasters like TV, social media…

Quality Conversation:

When your spouse’s love language is quality conversation, he needs you to get engaged with him into a sympathetic dialogue through which he’ll be able to express himself. Sometimes, when someone needs to tell you his troubles, he isn’t seeking advice, he simply needs someone to listen and understand him.

However, people have different types of personalities, someone might be the talkative type who needs to be heard while someone else is the silent type who love to hear and say little thus he’s a good listener. These two types together would make perfect much. However, after some time, the talkative one might complain that he doesn’t know much about his spouse, while the latter might get annoyed because of the nagging.

When someone complains that his spouse doesn’t talk to him about anything, he doesn’t mean literally that she’s not talking, but that she rarely expresses her thoughts, feelings, and desires.

Whether you’re the talkative or the silent, you easily can learn how to listen more or express yourself more, you’ll just have to practice it. You can try the following when your spouse’s primary love language is quality conversation:

- Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking.

- Focus on the feelings your spouse’s feels about the matter discussed and show sympathy when needed.

- Don’t interrupt and show interest in what your spouse is saying, not because it’s important to you, but because it is important to your spouse.

3- Receiving Gifts:

A gift isn’t about the money. It’s a symbol of love because when you give someone a gift, you mean to say that you’ve thought about that person, that he’s special to you that you took the effort to get him a gift whether you bought it, make it or found it.

You might not be a natural gift giver, but if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts, then you should learn this language. Here are some particle tips:

- Make a list of the gift your spouse has expressed excitement about receiving, by you or others, through the years. That way, you’ll have a clearer idea of what your spouse might like as types of gifts.

- Don’t wait for special occasions to get your spouse a gift. Make it a habit, you don’t have to buy gifts every day, but once a week would be great. Remember, the gift doesn’t have to be expensive, a flower might be all you need sometimes, or offering to buy a pizza and let your wife have a break from cooking for the night. It’s the gesture, not the gift itself.

- If you have little knowledge about buying gifts or about what your wife might like, try to seek out help, you ask the help of one of his/her family member.

- Think about it an investment. If you’re dreading the expenses, try to see the bright side of it. If your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts, then by getting him/her gifts, you’ll make him/her feel loved, thus, he/she will likely reciprocate love to you in your primary love language.

4- Acts of service:

Acts of service means doing the things you know your spouse would like you to do, that is, if his/her primary love language is acts of service. By doing these acts, you’re pleasing your spouse and expressing your love to him/her.

These acts include mostly helping with the house chores. For example, a wife would love for her husband to help her around the house and outside the house and a husband might expect his wife to take care of the house.

These acts, however important to one, can’t be forced on the other. Love is always freely given and love can’t be demanded. Still, you can request them. Your spouse might have no idea how to help you or what kind of acts might please you, he can’t possibly read your mind, so, kindly you’ll have to request him to do these acts.

Below are some practical tips to help you out if your spouse’s primary love language is acts of service:

- Ask him/her to give you a list of the most important acts he/she would love you to do for him/her that would please him/her.

- See if that list seems reasonable and feasible for you.

- Keep in mind that you don’t have to do these acts, but if you do them, it will be an act of love and it will make your spouse feel loved for these acts speaks volumes to your spouse.

- Try doing these acts for a month and see how that helps, then add additional requests to the list bit by bit.

However, if your spouse’s primary love language is acts of services and yet you don’t do any or few of them, it’s normal for him or her to feel unloved and thus, complain and maybe criticize.

Criticism, however an ineffective way of pleading for love, can help you pick up on your spouse’s needs and figure out how to meet those needs. Your spouse’s criticism can provide you with the clue to his/her primary love language. Your spouse will complain most in the area he/she have the deepest need for.

5- Physical Touch

For some people, physical touch is their primary love language. It’s not just the intercourse. Embracing, kissing and holding hands shouts love and intimacy to them and without the physical touch they feel unloved.

Touching your spouse lovingly almost anywhere can be an expression of love. However not all the touches are the same, they don’t give the same level of pleasure and if you want to express your love to your spouse you’ve got to touch him, not in your own way and on your own time, but in his/hers. Try the following:

- Ask your spouse where he/she would love to be touched and what gives her pleasure most.

- If a massage can communicate love loudest to your spouse, consider learning it as an investment into your relationship.

- When sitting next to each other as you watch TV or do something together, be close and touch your spouse lovingly, it might look simple, but it can speak volumes to your spouse.

- In time of crisis, try to hug your spouse and soothe him/her, even if you don’t see how it might be any help to him/her because it can be of a great help.

- Take initiative. A withdrawal might be interpreted by your spouse as a sign of rejection.

- When walking together, reach over and hold your spouse’s hand.

To sum up:

The five love languages in which you can express your love for your spouse are:

- Words of Affirmation

- Quality Time

- Receiving Gifts

- Acts of Service

- Physical Touch

How Do You Know Your Spouse’s Primary Love Language:

1- Your primary love language is what makes you feel most loved by your spouse. If you can’t figure this out, you can try the negative way; what without which you feel unloved and unfulfilled? What does your spouse do or say or fail to do or say that hurts you?

2- Criticizing can give a clue too. What is it the most thing you keep asking from your partner and start to criticize him for not doing or saying it?

3- Your method of expressing love is also of a great help to figure out what makes you feel loved. How do you like to express your love best?

4- Ask yourself “What an ideal spouse for me is like?” what you imagine him/her saying or doing is probably your primary love language.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

― Nelson Mandela

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