How do I say, “I love you” so you hear me?

Roses

My husband and I recently celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. (The above picture shows some of the roses my husband bought for me as part of our celebration.) For some people twenty-two years seems like a very long time. For others, we’re just getting started.

I’ve been reminded lately that we are still two very different people with different ideas, different ways of doing things, and different responses. Often I do things for my spouse the way I’d like him to do things for me. The problem is, he isn’t me. And if I expect him to appreciate what I’m doing, I’ll be disappointed.

Most of us are familiar with Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. He explains that there are five main ways people tend to express and want to receive love: words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, quality time, and gift giving. If you are still figuring out how to say, “I love you” in a way that is meaningful to your partner, have him or her do The Five Love Languages Quiz and share the results with you. Once you know what love language your partner “speaks,” check out How to be Romantic and do something for your spouse that will communicate your love to him or her in a way he or she will understand.

Today my husband and I had a conversation about the roses he bought for me. He thought I liked the fact that he bought me flowers, period. And I do enjoy their beauty. However, for me, the note he gave me with the roses was more important than the roses. (Can you guess what my love language is?) After twenty-two years, we can tell you many things about each other, but we still have more to learn 🙂

Something else that we’ve been learning is to be more intentional about demonstrating our love for each other with daily habits we can consciously insert into each day. It’s easy to start taking our spouse for granted. Life gets busy, kids require time and attention, and it’s all too easy to put our marriage on the back burner. We’ve found it helpful to:

  • Greet one another cheerfully every morning
  • Kiss and hug each other throughout the day
  • Make time to talk to each other each day
  • Reserve time to do something together that we both enjoy (date night)

How about you? Have you figured out how to tell your spouse you love him or her in a way he or she understands? What do you and your spouse do to keep the spark alive in your marriage?