Intentionality – The Marriage PostPosted: January 28, 2010
Recap: Right now, I’m all about being intentional. As promised, this is the first in a series of posts on my plans to do that, starting with marriage.
So, here’s the plan.
I’ve been exposed to lots of really good books on marriage, and I’m sure I’ll read even more as the years go by. Right now, my 2 favorites for overall content are His Needs, Her Needs (HN2) and The Five Love Languages (5LL), both of which are excellent.
HN2 focuses on meeting the needs of your spouse in marriage, not on getting your own needs met. The 5 needs of women (generally) are affection, communication, honesty/openness, financial security and family commitment – in that order.
5LL basically says that everyone has a preferred way of both expressing and receiving love, and if you show love another way (in another language), they may not understand you. The languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, quality time, and gifts.
(These brief summaries don’t do justice to either book. You really should read them yourself.)
What I plan to do is combine the principles of the two books on a long-term basis. I’m looking at HN2 as the theory and 5LL as the application. So, for example, I might ask the question: How can I meet my wife’s need for honesty and openness through words of affirmation? Or how can I use physical touch to feed my wife’s need for communication? You get the idea.
The math works out pretty well – 5 needs and 5 languages is 25 combinations. That plays out to a different love experiment almost every day of the month, or two 25-week rotations per year.
Of course, I’m not going to stop loving her for 6 days out of the month, or 2 weeks out of the year. The goal is to be intentional; to become more aware of the need to think through methods of demonstrating love to my wife in ways that are meaningful to her.
One of the challenges will be to balance these experiments properly. The whole idea of 5LL is that all these languages won’t have the same effect, so it doesn’t make sense me focusing on acts of service when I know my wife’s thing is gifts. That will be interesting.
The other thing to think about is how some of these combinations are going to play out. Showing affection through physical touch is easy, but at this moment I have no clue how to meet the need for say, financial security through say, quality time. (Maybe going over the budget together…? Actually… yeah, that might work.) I look forward to thinking about that kind of challenge. I’m sure there’s some creative way to express love for every combination.
So there you have it. Not by any means a perfect, completely thought out plan, but a plan nonetheless. And, I think, a good one. Check back from time to time, I’ll let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, married folks – what are some ways that you are intentional about loving your spouse? And what are some ways that I can improve on this plan?