Last week’s blog post prefaced this five-part series: How to Establish the Most Important Marital Expectations. To start off, I’ll dive into my favorite expectation topic, that crazy little thing called love.
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Expectation #1: Love
Everyone loves love, right? But after the spark fades (and it will) what will you and your partner expect love to look like? How will you and your significant other want to be loved? Drew and I read The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Dr. Gary Chapman very early on in our dating. I strongly believe that the information we gained from this book has been invaluable to our relationship. Some of the key takeaways we received were: romantic love fades but deeper covenantal love can take its place, we all give and receive love differently, and love is a choice. So when we decided to write down our spousal and marital expectations we began at the heart.
We outlined our love expectation category into three different sub-topics: love languages, showing love, and physical intimacy.
We started by taking the 5 Love Languages official assessment online. The assessment is very easy, and although I do recommend reading The 5 Love Languages book in its entirety, taking the assessment is a great first step. After taking the assessment, we understood what our primary and secondary love languages were and shared them with one another. In his book, Dr. Gary Chapman explains that usually, we will try to love our spouse using our own love languages(s). This can ultimately lead to a disconnect in the relationship because we’re not getting the love we truly desire. Therefore, we must turn our new-found knowledge into action. I know my love language and my spouse’s, so what can we do to love each other the way we want to be loved?
Showing loveAlthough the dictionary may classify love as a noun, for all intents and purposes love is a verb. Click To Tweet
Although the dictionary may classify love as a noun, for all intents and purposes love is a verb. Over the course of your relationships with your spouse/significant other, friends, and family you will notice that the love you feel for them is characterized by exchanged actions, favors, and kind gestures. Take note of what makes the people in your life (especially your life partner) feel loved. However, do not neglect to let your love languages be known, your mate is not a mind reader.
After Drew and I explored our love languages we made lists of actions and gestures that made us feel loved. For example, my primary love language is words of affirmation and my secondary languages are a tie between physical touch and quality time. So, my list looked like this:
How Jazmen Wants to be Loved
- Specific compliments and affirmations
- Hugs and kisses
- Backrubs, foot massages
- Fun and intimate date nights (ie. the aquarium, picnic, etc.)
Once you both have finished your lists, share them with each other. Feel free to add or takeaway expectations as you both change and grow. I also want to note that you may not understand your partner’s list or rather you may not see how something makes them feel loved. That’s ok, as long as you choose to do it anyway. What is not ok is telling your spouse that the way they want to feel loved is stupid, annoying, or inconvenient. God made your spouse in His image, and that includes their love language(s) too. So long as your love languages do not contradict the Kingdom it is imperative that you both make the effort to love one another in the prescribed fashion.
While intimacy isn’t only physical, sex is one of the most beautiful gifts we get to experience in marriage. Whether you and your spouse are “doing the deed” before marriage or for the first time after, I encourage you all to be intentional about your physical relationship. As my relationship with my husband progressed and we grew as a couple in Christ we realized the importance of keeping our minds and bodies pure. If you are unmarried, I hope and pray that you and your significant other will at the very least explore celibacy as an option. Is it easy, no…but nothing that is worth it usually is.
No matter where you and your mate fall on the intimacy spectrum I encourage you all to take stock of your likes and dislikes after or before marriage. Things to think about in this area would be:
- What gets me in the mood?
- How long is ideal for foreplay?
- Do you (the woman) prefer to climax during intercourse or foreplay?
- How often will we have intercourse?
- What turns me off?
- What are some things I would like to try?
- What makes me uncomfortable in the bedroom?
For more on physical intimacy, I recommend checking out The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment by Clifford and Joyce Penner.
How Deep is Your Love?
Love is complex, no doubt. And the aforementioned expectations of love are just a few of the important facets to think about. Your relationship with your spouse will change over time, but hopefully, these expectations will give you and your (future) spouse a great place to start. During hard times in my marriage, it’s been both comforting and easy to pull out our list of expectations. After a quick review, I can make any necessary adjustments to my attitudes and behaviors to show my spouse that I love and care for him. And when things aren’t adding up, it may be time to re-evaluate the document…this list of expectations will never be exhaustive because you and your relationship will never stop growing and evolving.
For more on these topics and the like check out these great resources for both singles and couples.
With lots of love,