Saturday, February 27, 2010


So! We are up to gift giving and receiving as a language of love.....I'm really bad at this one. That is the main thing I can say about it. But I hear that it's easier than I think it is. Because for someone who really feels loved through receiving gifts, it really is the thought that counts. It can be a little thing. It doesn't have to be a big deal gift, but they have to be frequent. A simple note can be a gift, a lollipop, or a cup of coffee. I get hung up on wanting it to be the perfect gift, but the reality is, with making sure someone feels loved, consistency is more important than each instance being perfect. I mean obviously it could be exactly the wrong thing, and that's not good, but waiting until you find the perfect thing is not the way to go either!

For me this is something that I need to practice with my children and friends more than Solomon (he's not really a gifty type). But I want the gift oriented people is my life to feel loved, so I need to be at least able to cope with the language. In the book the author talks about a husband who made himself a calendar, and used it to come up with a plan for gifts to his wife. I have a birthday calendar that should help me get on the ball... but of course that means that I need to actually look at the calendar...

This also does not have to be a huge drain on your finances! Gifts and acts of service have lots of overlap. An act of service is making dinner when your wife normally has to... a gift is making it a candle lit dinner after the kids are already in bed. The food doesn't have to be extra special, it can be what you would have eaten anyway, but the making of it and the presentation turn it into a gift! Some of my favorite love notes are the ones that Solomon has written on 3 x 5 cards!

The point is give gifts of whatever you can, it lets your spouse know that you love them. And of course when you can spend some extra time and money on a gift, do so, but don't wait until you can give something "good enough" give something every day!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Being A Servant

It is not a huge surprise to find that for some people receiving acts of service is how they feel loved. Even if it's not your primary language, who doesn't like it when your spouse picks up their laundry off the floor, and takes out the trash? Even I appreciate it, and acts of service is not my language at all! Can you imagine how it feels to have the feeling that you do everything for everyone in the house, partly at least because you are trying to tell your family that you love them, while no one seems to love you in return?! Really sad situation!
How can you tell that you sweetheart is an acts of service type? well...when they are honoring their friends and family, how do they do it? Do they host a big party? Are they the first one to jump in if someone is needing help because of sickness or injury or a new baby? Then they just might be the serving type. I find this one can feel hard to adapt to, because if you are not a serving type, it can be hard to do the acts of service and really get that this is an act of love. But with some determination, and reminding yourself why you are doing this stuff, you will find that the payoff happens pretty quickly, helping you to remember that this is the best way to love your spouse.

In general, to find out the love language of your spouse my first advice is to buy the book, read it together, and then take the quiz in the back of the book. Use that to help you each find your language, and then tell eac0h other what it is! If you happen to be in a marriage where your spouse is a closed type and not into reading marriage growth books, then it's a bit more difficult. You can read the book yourself and take the quiz from your knowledge of your spouse. In the end, if you just take some time to observe closely how they are with friends and family, and you too (sometimes couples withhold the main loving language they speak from their spouse because they don't feel loved by them - this makes it hard to figure out by watching how they are with you), then you can determine their love language, and then love them in that language!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Touchy Feely Type

Please don't assume because you like having sex with your spouse, that you are a person who primarily feels love with the sense of touch.....I mean who doesn't like having sex!? (OK this is assuming that you don't have a history of abuse of some sort of physical disability etc. that makes sex unpleasant emotionally or physically - if that is the case for you, I am very sorry) But if just being touched is really really important to you then this might be your primary love language. Meaning that having your hubby casually touch you in even non-sexual ways, is critical to feeling loved. Holding hands, hugging, sitting close together while watching TV, that is the sort of thing that tells a touchy-feely lover that they are loved (sex of course too, but not exclusively!). So if you are a touch person, tell your spouse, so that they know that those hugs when you get home from work and the kiss as they head out in the morning, are the life-blood of your sense of connection to them.
Oh yeah, and if your spouse is the touchy one (not that kind of touchy! The feeling loved with touch kind...) then start paying attention to how much you touch them and make it more! Give a spontaneous neck rub, or an extra hug now and then. Better yet, come up with a list of all the ways you can think of to just get more touch into your lives, and do one a day at least. It is so much fun to watch your husband or wife start to glow with joy as they bask in knowing how much they are loved.
Oh and of course, always be sure to make time for sex!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Becoming Multilingual

I recommend the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It's a must read for every couple I believe.
He says there are 5 "languages" that people "speak" to give and receive love. We each have a primary language, and we speak it well, and receive love best when we are loved in our native language.

The languages are:
Words of Affirmation
Quality Time
Acts of Service
Physical Touch

When we receive love in our native language, we feel loved, and we find it easiest to show love in our native language as well. The problem arises when we speak a different language from our spouse (which is typical - couples who share the same language are uncommon). He tries to tell me by washing the dishes, that he loves me, while I'm trying to tell him that I love him with hugs and kisses. In the mean time, neither one of us feels loved!
So we have to learn to speak the other persons language! More on this in the next few days....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fight Fair!

I have fights with Solomon. I don't like having fights with Solomon, and we tend to call them "discussions" (I think it lets us pretend that it's not as big a deal that way), but fighting in marriage is a reality. It's not a bad thing either! How could two different people possibly never disagree! Of course we will argue, it's healthy to have different points of view on things, and that will inevitably lead to disagreements. As long as you can fight fair - as it were - then it's all part of a healthy marriage. But there are rules for these things:
No Name-calling! - it's not only unproductive, it's harmful. Don't do it.
Stay as calm as possible - after your heart rate rises and your adrenaline starts pumping, you can't communicate well. There are studies that show that you literally cannot hear anymore when you get to aggravated. It is not helpful for fight or flight to kick-in, so keep calm and discuss. If you can't stay calm, take a break, and calm down, come back to the issue when you are both distant enough from the huge feelings about it that you can stay rational.
Use I statements - You are not forced to feel anything by your spouse, you choose to feel how you feel in response to their actions. Those feelings might very well be completely reasonable, but it is all about how you choose to respond to their actions. Statements like "you make me crazy!" are not helpful, and can spark a much larger argument. Here is a handy format: When you did_______, I felt______. This makes it possible to have a discussion about what happened without throwing accusations around. For example: "When you spent the whole evening watching TV tonight, I felt unimportant and ignored." That is going to go over much better than: "You jerk! You're acting like I'm not even here!"

Let me illustrate with a real life example from Solomon and I. I'm not the worlds greatest driver, and I have a lead foot, Solomon on the other hand is very conscientious. This causes friction, or used to until we got a handle on it. but before we figure it out, our "discussions" went something like this:
Solomon: I really wish you would drive more carefully.
Tirah: We got here fine!
S: But we almost had an accident!
T: But we didn't in the end, and besides, you make me nervous when you're in the passenger seat! I'm a much better driver when you aren't there!
S: Well how would I know that! as far as I can tell you are always a dangerous driver!
T: You're always making comments and nervous noises! How can I concentrate when you do that! If you would just let me drive I would do much better!
Instead what we should have been saying could have been like this:
S: When you cut off the other car just now, I felt unsafe and in danger.
T: I'm sorry I made you uncomfortable, I was feeling flustered by having you in the passenger seat. You are a much better driver than I am, and I feel self conscious when you are with me.
S: I'm not trying to make you uncomfortable, is there something I'm doing to make you uncomfortable?
T: Well, you tend to make little noises, or just act tense, and when you do that I feel judged, and then I get tense and don't drive as well as I usually do.
S: I'm sorry I'm making you tense, I'll try to relax and trust you to drive.
T: Thank you, and I'll try to relax no matter what you do, and drive more carefully.

This might sound silly, but it is very close to our actual conversations, and that really is how we each felt. Through having several arguments about this several times, we gradually understood our dynamic when driving, and over time, we have become comfortable! Now, Solomon drives when we are not in a hurry, and if we are running late I drive! Either way, we are both happy and comfortable with the trip! We only got to that place by having calm discussions about what was going on for each of us emotionally during these driving episodes.

So by all means fight. It's unavoidable. But when you must fight, fight fair. You are supposed to be on a team after all....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bragging is Good for Your Health

OK, well.... as long as you are bragging about your spouse, then it's good for the health of your marriage, and that is good for your health. But it's true!
Think about all the great things about your spouse (at least the ones that are appropriate to share in public ;) ) and then share them! As often and as publicly as you can, and in the presence of your spouse! And make sure you don't pass it off as an "I'm so great because I have a great spouse" just tell people how wonderful the person you married is!
I find we live in a culture where we are supported in our desire to gripe about our husband or wife. A woman I know, was once cheerfully welcomed into a circle of her friends visiting at a social gathering with a smile and a "come join in our husband-bashing session!" (She sweetly declined to bash her husband, saying instead that she had a wonderful husband that she didn't need to complain about). I don't think these women actually intended any harm, and all loved their husbands despite their foibles, but what good were they doing by airing them in public!? We rarely brag about our spouse, but we may all regularly join in - or be tempted to join in - on the bashing. We can all relate to the frustrations that can arise from our spouse's habits, and it can feel good to share those frustrations with others.
Yet the reality is that we are all flawed people, and if we make time to point out to ourselves and others the faults in our spouse, they will only seem like bigger and bigger problems. Instead we could focus on our spouse's wonderful traits, and share them with others. When we remember all the wonderful things, the not so great things don't seem as big a deal anymore.
And that is great for the health of your marriage.

Speaking of bragging:
Solomon just had a really bad sinus infection, and then right after that the stomach flu, and today when he is only just feeling better, he stayed home with the kids so I could go to church all by myself ( I have not been able to go in about three weeks). While I was gone, he vacuumed the living room, swept the stairs, foyer, dining room and kitchen. Then he ran a load of dished in the dishwasher, and took out the trash and recycling!!! And when I called from church to say that I was thinking of going to Wawa for brunch with my sisters, (if they decided to go) he told me, to tell them, that they had to go, and take me too. Solomon is a wonderful person, and I love him!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


The Best way I have found to quickly and easily support and feed your marriage is with appreciations. This is a really simple technique, but it has saved marriages on the brink of divorce with regular use. Take 10 minutes sit down with your spouse, and take turns with this. First one of you begins and takes five minutes to tell the other all the things you can think of that you appreciate about your spouse. So, for example, I tell Solomon: " Solomon, thank you for being my husband, thank you for putting the kids to bed tonight by yourself and giving me a night off! I appreciate your beard, I love how thoughtful you are. Thanks for thinking about things so carefully before you make decisions".....Etc. I would go on for five minutes then switch, giving Solomon 5 minutes to say things he appreciates about me. The spouse listening is not allowed to interrupt! They must sit and take it all in! This is not something we automatically think to do all the time or even find easy to do at first! if you need some help getting started try these:
  • Something you did recently for me that I appreciate is...
  • Something you did long ago for me that I appreciate is...
  • Something you do regularly for me that I appreciate is...
  • A spiritual quality that you have that I appreciate is...
  • Something about your looks that I appreciate is...
  • Something that you do for others that I appreciate is...
  • Something that you have worked hard at that I appreciate is...
  • Something that you have a gift for that I appreciate is...
  • Something that I appreciate you not doing is...
  • Something you did with other people that I appreciate is...
  • Something you do all by yourself that I appreciate is...
  • Something in your character that I appreciate is...
  • A quality that you have that I am lacking that I appreciate is...
  • Something that you said to me that I appreciate is...
  • Something that I have told you before that I still appreciate is...
(I blatantly stole this from Lori and John Odhner! well OK they said I could :) Check out their website it's great stuff!)

Happy Appreciating!!!

Some thoughts from Emanuel Swedenborg:

"People who have goodwill hardly notice the evil in another person, but instead notice all his or her good and true qualities, and they put a good interpretation on the bad and wrong things. All angels are like this. It is something they have from the Lord, who bends everyting bad into something good." Secrets of Heaven N. 1079

"In the case of people who are in a state of true married love, their happiness in living together increases because they love each other with every power of sensation. The wife sees nothing more lovable than her husband and the husband nothing more lovable than her. Indeed, neither do they hear, smell or touch anything more lovable than each other. From this comes their happiness in living together and sharing house, bedroom and bed." Marriage Love N. 213