Have you ever noticed in the beginning of a relationship it’s wonderful and you feel “in love” but then the love just seems to fizzle out or fade over time? Studies have actually shown that the “in love” experience tends to last on average 2 years.
After this period we can still feel in love. There are just two very important concepts to grasp. These are explained in depth by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages.
First of all, you have a love tank. Your spouse has a love tank.
There’s a gasoline tank on a car. If it is full you drive a long way. If it’s empty you’re not going anywhere. I use the picture of an emotional love tank. If the love tank is full and the person feels genuinely loved, life will be beautiful. But if the love tank is empty, and a person doesn’t feel loved, the world looks pretty dark. A lot of misbehavior in marriage grows out of an empty love tank.
- Dr. Gary Chapman
The second, is love languages.
Words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, receiving gifts and physical touch are the five love languages.
By nature we tend to express love in our own language; whatever makes us feel love is what we try to do for the other person. We’re sincere, but if it’s not what makes the other person feel loved then we miss them emotionally.
- Dr. Gary Chapman
I’ll share an example with you from my life.
On one occasion, after a particularly busy week and a long day, I phoned to ask my wife if she needed me to get anything for her from the shops on the way home. I did the errands she needed help with thinking I had just expressed love to her in a meaningful way. Then when I got home I went straight inside to relax a bit on the couch.
To my surprise she came into the lounge a bit needy and insecure. I explained “But my love, I’ve just spent all this time doing things for you to express that I love and care about you!” In that moment I realised, the key was love languages. When I walked into the house, didn’t give her a hug and spend a few moments asking her how her day was and catching up a bit, she felt unloved.
Her love languages are touch and quality time. I had expressed love to her in acts of service. It was like speaking another language to her that she didn’t understand. It wasn’t effective.
Her love tank would have filled up if I had just given her a kiss and a hug when I arrived home and spent some time chatting with her about her day.
Give thought to what your love languages are and what the love languages are of your loved ones. Doing so has the power to dramatically improve the quality of your relationships.
Use this link to find out what your love languages are.
The Love Tank Game
This is useful on a daily or weekly basis, or whenever you see that your spouse is not looking quite themselves.
You can begin by asking, “My love, where are you in your love tank out of ten?”
They then respond, saying for example “seven out of ten”.
You can then ask, “How can I top you up and take you to ten?”
Often the behaviour they ask for or mention is linked to their primary love language. So they might say, “can you give me a back rub please while we watch a movie together.”
Why would they ask this?
If their primary love language is touch and their secondary one is quality time.
So, that’s how you can do it and it is a powerful process.