If you got married in the last five years, then you’ve probably heard of and even studied Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages.” Me and Ces did, and it was a tremendous help to understanding each other and God’s ultimate plan for marriage. I love studying love languages and highly recommend it to other couples who are married and about to get married.
The five love languages aren’t the answer to your marriage woes. They aren’t going to make your marriage any better either, if we get it wrong. Just like anything, when taken out of context even something as simple as Chapman’s ideas for a strong marriage will not build you up. In fact, it can even make things worse.
I admit that at many points in the first two years of marriage, I had misused and even abused love languages. It’s a wonderful tool, but even the best tools become utterly useless when used in the wrong way.
Here are three ways that we can get “The Five Love Languages,” and ultimately even marriage itself in the wrong way and how we can correct these wrong mindsets.
Mistake #1 | Focusing What You Can Get, Not What You Are To Give
When the five love languages become too much about what you expect to receive from your partner and not what you have the opportunity to give to your spouse. I have a confession to make- I don’t even remember what my love language is anymore, but I know for certain that Ces’ love language is touch and quality time.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive,” Jesus once said (Acts 20:35) and it’s no different with the five love languages. Yes, we have needs and these needs should be met, but sometimes we can tend to be too much about our needs at the expense at the needs of others including our spouse. We can demand our needs be met, but until we get into the mode of meeting the needs of our spouse, we will always get the love languages wrong.
Mistake #2 | Getting Satisfaction From Your Love Language
Your spouse may be God’s blessing to you, but I have news flash for all of us (me included): It is not your spouse’s job to satisfy your needs. When we focus simply on our spouse for satisfaction, we will forever be dissatisfied and disappointed. My dad used to tell me this joke: “Before you decide whether you want to marry someone or not, remember that she’s going to have bad breath in the morning and will eventually use your toilet.”
Nothing against your spouse, but they’re just human just like you! We’re all imperfect and we cannot fully satisfy. But Jesus satisfies completely and to overflowing. In John 6:35, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” I have found that when me and Ces are most satisfied in Jesus, only then are we fully satisfied in each other.
Mistake #3 | Making Our Happiness the Goal
The goal of marriage is not our happiness. The end goal of every marriage is the honor and happiness primarily of God. The love languages were not made for the sole purpose of making you happy. They are first and foremost designed by God for His glory and honor.
Isaiah 43:6-7 says, “I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” God’s happiness and glory comes first, and only then do we find our happiness.
It is when we seek God’s kingdom and righteousness individually and as husband and wife that we see all things added upon us, including our satisfaction and happiness.