What happens when the honeymoon is over and reality sets in? When the realization strikes that he snores, she never puts the cap back on the toothpaste, and neither can agree on which way the toilet paper should unroll? What about the husband who feels neglected by his wife even though he works hard to provide a decent life? Or the wife who spends hours cooking, cleaning, and carting around the kids only to hear criticism for what is undone? For so many, this is life. Where did those honeymoon feelings go?
I accidentally stumbled upon a book recently. It caught my eye, and I decided to peruse the synopsis. Something about it screamed, “READ ME!” Now, as an “old married woman,” I like to think that I know a thing or two about relationships, but this book sent me staggering. If you are married, or going to be married….or have any relationships that you value, for that matter, I highly recommend this book. It has the power to save marriages on the brink and to strengthen those that are decent. No exaggeration.
From the web page: “The 5 Love Languages®has helped countless couples identify practical and powerful ways to express love, simply by using the appropriate love language. Many husbands and wives who had spent years struggling through marriages they thought were loveless discovered one or both spouses had long been showing love through messages that weren’t getting through. By recognizing their different love languages, they witnessed the rebirth of the love they thought had been gone for good.”
As the DDL marriage author, I knew that this was something I needed to share with my Disney community. The gist of the book is that each one of us has a “language” that we best understand when it comes to receiving love. Without our significant other speaking our language, our “love tank” can become depleted and we begin to feel alone, sad and, well…unloved. According to author Gary Chapman, there are 5 basic love languages. There can be other dialects, and we can appreciate all the languages, but every one of us will fit into one (sometimes two) categories that speak loudest to us.
Words of Affirmation: If a kind or encouraging word can lift you higher than the clouds and a critical word sends you into a slump, then your love language may very well be words of affirmation. There are so many ways to be supportive, complimentary, and encouraging to a spouse, but one Disney way is to appreciate your partner who does all the planning for trips. Let’s face it, planning a Disney vacation from Magical Express to Extra Magic Hours to Dining to park and pool time is a huge undertaking! Yes, we love it, but the hours spent so our families can have the most rewarding experience possible is time consuming and a labor of love. I adore it when my husband recognizes that I have planned every day, packed for us all, budgeted, and booked. A little appreciation can go a long way.
Acts of Service: Does it make your heart flutter when your spouse vacuums the carpet? Do you feel anger or resentment when you are working and they don’t help? Then your love language may be acts of service. If you are a planner but your spouse understands the love language “Acts of Service,” then simply doing what you do can communicate volumes! Along the same vein, if your significant other is spending time planning and packing, why not take over the laundry so the family has plenty to pack? Or ask if there is something else you can do to help. Oh, and, NO complaining!
Quality Time: Do you crave time for your spouse to whisk you away? Would you love a few moments of their undivided attention? Do you feel alone when they don’t pay attention to you for a while? Your language is probably Quality Time. Disney vacations are all about quality time. If it will be some time before you are again in Disney, then the two of you can sit together and dream of the next trip or reminisce about the last. Cook a meal from your favorite restaurant and just enjoy each other’s company. Giving your partner your undivided attention, whether in Disney or at a local restaurant, can make them feel loved beyond measure.
Physical Touch: This is not just about the ooh la la. If you crave a hug, a caress, or need to hold your partners hand, then your language is probably physical touch. Whenever you feel a strong emotion, touching needs to be present and accessibility is essential. Without it, you lose that closeness you desire. When you’re visiting a park, stop and take a picture with your arms around your spouse. Stroll down Main Street or the Maharajah Jungle Trek holding hands. Any gentle touch can mean love. At home, snuggle on the couch and watch a Disney movie.
Receiving Gifts: The person who thrives on receiving gifts isn’t focused on materialism, so don’t let this fool you. It is the thought, consideration and sacrifice that warms the heart. When your significant other gives you a thoughtful gift, you know they were thinking of you and this makes you completely happy. If they never bring you so much as a card, your love tank depletes and you feel empty and unloved. If you can relate to this, then your love language is Receiving Gifts. I will never forget the time we were in the Fez House in the Morocco Pavilion (one of my favorite places in Epcot) and my husband presented me with a beautiful ring for my birthday. It was thoughtful and meaningful. If this is your love language, receiving gifts needs to happen more often than on your birthday and, chances are, it can’t always be in Disney. Gifts with a Disney theme can mean a lot.
When I found this book I could hardly contain my excitement. Already I have recommended it to friends (one canceled her appointment with a divorce lawyer!) I hope it can have profoundly amazing effects on this Disney community! To go ahead and get started on what your love language is, here is an assessment. Don’t forget to share this with your spouse! Have a wonderful time getting that magical spark back!