Marriage also seems to ebb and flow. We've had moments where we couldn't feel any closer and we've had other moments were there just seemed to be some distance and we weren't clicking. We've recently come out of one of those "off" moments. It wasn't a long phase by any means but when our primary focus is keeping our relationship close, it was definitely noticeable. I think one of the biggest areas of growth over the years has been in communicating quickly, honestly, but kindly when things are out of sync.
So after feeling a bit our of sync, we decided it was time to check in with each other and see if we could resolve what felt like a barrier between us. Sometimes these conversations can be difficult because you hear things that might not be the easiest to hear. The last thing I want to hear is that I have been hurting the person that I love. Before we even married we went through the hugely popular book The 5 Love Languages. We had this idea early on of what our primary love languages were because of this, Either we had this idea and they are actually different or quite possibly we have changed and evolved over the last several years. So through this conversation it was becoming apparent that our primary needs were not being met and that what we thought was important to our spouse might not have been their primary gift after all.
We couldn't even figure out exactly what the most important things were to us (So how could our spouse possibly know), but we found this handy survey online (and there are several of them out there) to help identify which language is our primary language and gained some new insight. Where as I thought his primary language was physical touch (and while that might still be very important to him), the most significant to him is words of affirmation. Well that certainly explained why some recent frustration I harped on came across to him as a personal attack. I never meant to hurt him but my words cut him deeply. He needs me to be his encourager and share grievances in a more gentle way than I tend to.
And while my husband has continually lavished wonderful gifts on me lately that do mean a lot and and that he continually does acts of service for me, we learned that the most important thing for me is also the hardest for Peter to give - Quality Time. We're pulled in so many directions and sometimes Peter just wants some (much deserved) time to himself at the end of the day, but for me, after a day with the kids I really need some focused time with him in order to feel connected to him.
I see so much growth in us over these last couple years and I am proud of it! But we're not perfect and we are always striving to make things better. I see more and more divorces all the time for people our age and we want to maintain that strong relationship we've always had with one another. I count ourselves fortunate that we've never had any marital problems but I put a lot of the credit for that to the fact that we've always put our marriage relationship on a tall pedestal and both of us has valued it and always wanted to make it better. I highly recommend taking some time to check in with each other as soon as issues start to send things on a downward spiral. We're still learning and certainly are not experts, but love and value your marriage's! Just in a short few weeks, being armed with this new information has been SO helpful. Knowing that the words I say to my husband are very powerful, I want to make sure I am encouraging much more than discouraging him. I want him to always know I have his back and am his number one fan because he's a pretty darn amazing guy! I've seen my husband, knowing how important his time is to me, set down his phone, turn off the tv and really invest in time with me and listening to my ramblings. There's been a lot more flirting and a lot more joy and happiness around here. I feel loved, he feels loved and we're one happy couple together!