I have been known to be one of those obnoxious people who pities the folks who have to take home relationship books from the library or anyone who shells out hard-earned cash for a title from the “self-help” section. I mean, looking for answers is fine, but I’ve seen a lot of what’s been published in this genre, and it looks a lot like the steaming piles that my neighbors let their dogs leave all over common property.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had a pretty stable and happy relationship for nine years. But it isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much your head knows when your heart begins to ache for something you can’t define. You might know what words need to be spoken or what actions to take, but you can’t always reconcile that with what you feel inside.
Marriage has mostly been easy for my husband and me. But over the last few months, we’ve had some extra strains and stresses come our way. These various events and occurrences, choices and lack of choices have had a significant impact on this relationship of ours. I never questioned that I loved or was loved, but I began to feel like something had gone missing between us somewhere along the way. So I brought home some “self-help” books from the library and spent some hard-earned money on a “relationship” book, and I read them. And I talked to my Christian moms’ group friends. And I talked to God. And eventually, James and I started to work together more. To talk to each other about things that mattered. And we learned, we made some difficult choices, and we are growing.
I read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. One of the moms I know had recommended it awhile ago, and since I couldn’t find it at the library, I bought it. I think it was worth it, because I learned more about what I need in order to feel loved by my husband. I think I always understood my own love language on some level, but when I started to feel more empty, I didn’t know how to pin it down with a definition that I could show to James without seeming like nagging, accusation or passive aggression.
My primary love language is quality time. It doesn’t matter what we do or talk about, just as long as we are doing something together or talking to each other without distraction.
I think this is why I was so optimistic about dropping our cable service. I knew that as long as we had “something to watch,” my quality time would be compromised. And because watching television was a way for my husband to unwind, to demand his focused attention seemed selfish after he worked so hard all day. I knew that this particular household decision would be hard on him, but he was also open to it and willing to give it a try.
Since I returned the box, almost two weeks ago now, our relationship has improved by leaps and bounds. I know that it is not all related to TV, but I really believe that it is having a huge impact.