Posted on August 29th, 2013 at 9:55AM
Within marriage, there is no doubt that the impact of little acts goes a very long way. Husband and wife can love each other dearly but in the humdrum and busyness of life, this can seem at times difficult to take hold of. Sometimes it is not enough to know we have made a commitment together – we want to actually feel that love tangibly.
Gary Chapman talks of the 5 love languages for couples (which he then extends to other relationships, such as parents and children). They are:
(i) Physical touch
(ii) Words of affirmation
(iii) Quality time
(v) Acts of service
What this breaks down to, in essence, is a host of little acts. We do not expect some great act of service. No, we are talking about something so simple as taking over in cooking the evening meal, or getting up with the children so the other can have a lie in. The story is similar for all the other love languages.
Isn’t that why receiving flowers is so effective? It is a small gift (no expensive diamond ring required!) but has an impact that goes such a long way. My husband surprised me with flowers last week, for no reason other than because he loves me. Now, every day as I wander around the house, doing those boring jobs, I see the flowers and smell the lilies and of course it brings such a smile to my face and such a warm feeling inside.
In many marriage and relationship breakdowns, it is not the big issues that cause it, but the slow dying out of those little acts that make us feel loved and give us the willingness to keep working at it.
Does your other half need to know your love through a little act today? Perhaps something as simple as a hug or massage, especially if their love language is physical touch. Extend this to other relationships – does your child need an encouraging word about how good their behaviour has been, or your work colleague who’s going through a rough time a little gift to give them a boost. Perhaps your flatmate would value you fixing their bike puncture or hoovering for them (even though it’s their job, but you know they’re not well). Or perhaps your best friend needs you to come over and chat and give them your focused attention for an hour of quality time?
See how easy it is!
Incidentally, I’m sure those who have the love language of quality time are particularly struggling now in our frenetic world. I read recently in a book by Jerry Bridges the following, “I believe that most people are so starved for the genuine interest of one other person, that a little bit of concern from someone who cares goes a mighty long way”. (emphasis mine)