My husband and I have opposite love languages. Mine is words of affirmation and his is acts of service. We both struggle to love each other the way the other needs. We have to work at it.
When I saw 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear and 100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear by Matt and Lisa Jacobson, I hoped my husband would agree for us to read the set together. I knew it was a lot to ask since it’s not the way he shows love, and since he does not enjoy reading. I told him I knew his love language was acts of service and I would do my best to put action behind the words of affirmation I gave.
I was relieved to see this is a really easy book to read. Each affirmation is followed by a short example showing how the author affirmed his/her spouse.
I’ll be honest and say I think it was a struggle for both of us to get past some of our own hurts to be able to affirm one another. A week went by and every time I walked by my husband’s car in the garage I saw the book on the passenger seat. Each day my heart sank a bit as miscellaneous things got stacked on top. It reminded me how careful I need to be with the expectations I place on my husband.
Then there was my own personal struggle knowing some of the words of affirmation didn’t feel true and I wished they were. I knew he was probably thinking the same on his end. Some of the words of affirmation just didn’t fit us or go with our relationship. I probably will never tell him that “I value the times we cry together” or that “he’s my hero,” because I know that would be too mushy for him. With marriage books, I think it’s good to read them in light of the dynamics unique to your own marriage.
With that said, God used this book to help us focus on the positive aspects of each other and for me to also acknowledge and grieve over areas that are lacking.
Even if words of affirmation are not your way of receiving or giving love, encouraging words set the tone of thanksgiving and appreciation vital in a healthy marriage.
So I have a few tips to help the woman reading this book who may be longing to hear words of affirmation.
- Remember every relationship is different. Don’t get discouraged if an affirmation doesn’t fit your unique marriage. Instead, find the ones that do fit and thank God for those.
- Pray about the affirmations you wish were true. Look for any little way they are true that you may not see. Remember God is the one who meets all your needs.
- Read the affirmations and look for opportunities to use them. For example, a few years ago my husband bought me a soccer chair from Costco. I call it the “queen chair” because it is so cushiony and BIG. But it’s a bear to carry. Sometimes as I’m hauling that huge chair up a hill, I wish my husband would offer to carry it for me. During the last soccer tournament, he did offer! The next day I was reading the affirmations and I saw the one that said, “You are a gentleman.” I texted him the affirmation and thanked him for carrying my chair. It made me realize how I could use words of affirmation to name acts of service he does for me and show my appreciation.
- If you are reading these books together and if you are at the place where you can communicate about them, I suggest choosing three affirmations you want to grow in with your husband and commit to praying about them. Ask your spouse to mark three pages of affirmations he wished he could say but had a hard time with. Spend time in prayer over them and ask the Lord to help you grow closer with each other.
I got a text one day that said, “Thank you for your faithfulness to our family.” I felt giddy with hope knowing he was reading the book. A few days later when he came home from work we were laughing about something and he told me he still has fun with me. I’m not sure if my husband finished the book, but felt like I needed to let it go and let God be the one to prompt his heart.
If you’re at a loss of what to say to encourage your spouse, these books will help you find the words.
I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.