happy.couple1Love is a verb. It is a word used to describe an action; the action of being in love or loving another person. Yet some of us believe that love should be effortless or easy. It should cater to us and make us feel valued and appreciated.

Think back to the last thing that you had to work for, that you planned and saved for, or that you finally accomplished after years of hard work.  How rewarding was that experience? Anyone who has gone to university, saved for a down payment on a house or aggressively pursued a goal knows what I am referring to. Hard work and dedication pay off. Things that are easily attained are not of much value. Like fast food for example, it is quick and easy and hits the spot for a moment, but then leaves your body malnourished and lacking.

Love works in a similar way, after the initial “being in love” stage fades, love takes work—love takes action. When we come to this realization that we have to choose to love, we can begin to embark on the journey of life and intimacy with our partner.

It isn’t always easy to love the nagging wife or to support the distant husband. Sometimes it is easier to not speak because every conversation turns into a fight, or to not be physically intimate because you feel so betrayed by the person who is supposed to be your closest friend. But have you ever considered that your partner’s negative behavior is giving you clues on how they desire to be loved?

Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages. In this book he discusses how many couples struggle and grow distant because they are not communicating love effectively. He introduces five major love languages that help couples to give and receive love more proficiently. These five are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Acts of Service and Receiving Gifts.

Understanding and knowing both yours and your partner’s love language makes communicating love with them easier. When you want to display love to them you know how to do it in a way that they will receive. The wife that complains about her husband working late every night probably feels most loved when he gives her Quality Time. The husband who is very insulted by his wife’s sharp words and is very slow to forgive them may feel most loved by Words of Affirmation.

Knowing your partner’s love language is a foundational step in loving them effectively. So many people have given up on trying to make their spouse feel loved or on trying to show love to their spouse, but I challenge you to put your love into action. Take the love languages quiz and begin to speak love to your partner in the language that they will understand.

For more information on the five love languages and to take a quiz to discover your love language, visit http://www.5lovelanguages.com.

This article was originally written for and posted on Liveabundantly.ca