After I wrote the blog Renovating Priorities, about putting my husband first, my email inbox and Facebook messenger were beeping at me me left and right. I was swamped with messages about exactly “how” I do this.
Maybe I should clarify, I don’t have some magic equation that allows me to do this. Do I fail miserably some days? Yes.
Last Summer I read The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. I was seriously late to the party with this book. I think every single one of my married friends has read this book… but I didn’t know that until I read it and started bringing it up in my daily discussions. Chapman’s book refers to the 5 ways that we, as human beings, feel loved. When love is broken down into 5 categories I really do feel like I can put Jason into 2 of them. If you are like me and married with kiddos and struggling to find the perfect way to express your love, Chapman HAS these answers for you. Maybe you just got hitched and the honeymoon stage is still in full-force, read this book. Newly engaged- yep, read it. Empty nester, I'd put money on it's success for you too!
Between the categories of Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Quality Time, the beauty in this (for me) is that we aren’t required to do this 100% of the day. Waiting on Jason’s needs all day, every day isn’t the point. That’s not what putting my husband first means to me. For me, if I gave Jason 100% daily and had nothing left to give to his children, to our children, he wouldn’t be happy. He loves the Mom that I am and on the flip side, I love the Dad that he is. I couldn’t ever ask him to give me his 100% daily. Man, I am grateful for that truth.
I’ve tried to buy Jason gifts. He is excited and grateful but it doesn’t make him feel loved. When I buy him clothing or special treats, it doesn’t fill his heart. He is not a materialist person at all.
Words of Affirmation are appreciated, but y’all… I married one confident guy. He knows he is absolutely the best ever. I still tell him but I don’t have to convince him.
Acts of Service are nice, but we really like being a team in so many aspects of life and that is really what it’s all about in our house.
That brings me into quality time. Luckily, quality time is one of my love languages as well as one of Jason’s. So that’s a huge blessing for us. We have a term in our house. “Are you going to rally?” Basically, this means we are pushing ourselves to stay up an extra hour so that we can snuggle up on the couch and watch another TV show that keeps us laughing or talk about our days and the kids and work and the house. If I ask Jason if he is going to rally and his answer is yes, I basically do a backflip and clench my fist and pull my elbow straight down while enthusiactically whispering, “yes!” We treasure our evenings together and as soon as our kiddos are in bed, we have a full plan of talking, DVR and the good snacks.(You know...the ones on the top shelf of the pantry that the kids don't know about. Read: Oreos) On average, we pause the DVR eight times per hour show just to talk about random things! It’s quality time, parenthood style.
His 2nd love language would absolutely be physical touch. End of story. ;)
Knowing these two things about my husband makes it so much easier for me to put him first. I’m able to make time for just the two of us. I’m able to carve out time from working from home and mothering and he will set the DVR to our faves, grab snacks and meet me on the sofa. I could buy millions of gifts but it won’t buy his love or make him feel loved so I don’t need to put energy into it or focus on it. I know where my energy is best spent. This is about cultivating the relationship that I have been given with the man that I have been given. Motherhood is not just something that is a part of my life. It is the most all consuming, gut wrenching, heart-filled, emotionally fulfilling and emotionally draining thing that a person can possibly experience. It’s the easiest thing in the world to put first. But I will fail miserably if I put my children before my husband. If I want the greenest grass that I can have, I’m going to water it. If I want a clean house, I’m going to clean it. If I want my son’s dreams to come true, I’m going to be there for him every step of the way. Therefore, if I want a GREAT marriage, I have to cultivate it.
As a Mom, it’s so easy to let everything go by the way-side. It’s easy to let my work, kids and social calendar distract me but I know that God gave me Jason first. Jason came before my work, our kids or our social calendar. Jason needs to stay first. (Well, second after Jesus. But you get my point, right?)
If you are late to the party like I was and haven’t read The 5 Love Languages yet, get on it! You can buy it here! It’s a game changer.
For the rest of the month, I’ll be adding more ways that I cultivate my relationships to the blog. I think as Mom’s we can all use a little encouragement on keeping the important things to us, important. We can all encourage one another in this! Let’s #CultivateMeaningfulRelationships together! Tag a picture of you and your significant other on Instagram this week with #CultivateMeaningfulRelationships for a chance to be entered into the most EPIC drawing ever which includes, an Outer Banks getaway, dinner and treats! :)