Autumn and winter have become seasons for birthdays in our family. It starts with mine in September, then our little Nora in October, Tony in November, and then Claire in January. As if she wanted to complete the pattern, Baby #3 is due in December, making it someone’s birthday every month from September through January.
I think there is something about the way a person likes to celebrate their birthday that reveals a lot about them. When Tony and I were dating I planned and threw him a huge poker tournament birthday party. I bought him a really nice set of poker chips, invited tons of people, set up five big poker tables, and even had a “Losers Lounge” all ready to go. It was fun and a lot of work and he had a really good time. For a while I felt like the girlfriend of the century. But, since then I’ve learned that big parties are not his favorite way to spend his birthday. He would have been thrilled with the poker set and dinner for two at a nice steak house.
I, on the other hand, really do like parties. Except, I prefer a small group of 10 or less to a huge shindig. I prefer reading birthday cards over opening birthday presents, and I really like having time to myself to relax (read: spa gift certificate). This is a picture of Tony and I heading out to a surprise birthday date he planned for me last year. Are you thinking now about the way you like to spend your birthday? There is something about these subtle preferences that reveals a bit about our personalities and, more specifically, our love languages.
Author and speaker Gary Chapman first unveiled this concept of “love languages” in his book The Five Love Languages in 1992. Since then, he has helped countless couples and individuals not only understand themselves better but understand how to communicate love and affection to one another. He starts with the idea that each one of us naturally give and receive love in different ways – five different ways, actually. Then, he says…
Once you identify and learn to speak your spouse’s primary love language, I believe that you will have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving marriage. Love need not evaporate after the wedding, but in order to keep it alive most of us will have to put forth the effort to learn a secondary love language. We cannot rely on our native tongue if our spouse does not understand it. If we want him/her to feel the love we are trying to communicate, we must express it in his or her primary love language.
Over the next few days we’ll be talking about how we give and receive love using these Love Languages. Before we get too deep into it, let’s try a little homework…
#staymarried Homework Assignment
1. Take the Love Languages Test. Here’s the link. It’s free and doesn’t take long. This homework will work best if you both take the test, so do it! Then reveal your results to one another. Take it even if you’ve taken it before and see if anything has changed for you or your spouse since the last time.
2. Share with each other what your ideal birthday celebration would look like. Listen carefully for differences between the two of you and think about how you best give and receive love as well as how you’d ideally like to be celebrated.
We’re hoping this simple homework will give you a chance to learn a few new things about each other and begin to have a greater glimpse into how you can best love one another on purpose.
You are reading Day 22 in our 31 Days of Loving on Purpose series.
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