We are having a mono scare in the Whitlock home.
That turned our marriage into a kiss-free zone the past week.
Though far from fun, it’s been an insightful last few days as I’ve pondered on the importance of acts of love in marriage.
Maybe you’re familiar with the popular book, “The Five Love Languages,” by Dr. Gary Chapman. Both my husband and I receive love through physical touch. Those welcome home and goodnight kisses are important to our marriage, giving us a sense of connectivity.
Though their absence has not been devastating to our relationship, it’s been different. Yet we have been able to connect in different ways such as quiet acts of service and small, thoughtful gifts. Love is measured by the meaning behind the acts, not the magnitude of them.
Here are a few things I’ve learned the past kiss-less week.
Before marriage we were bombarded with unsolicited advice that often portrayed marriage in a very negative light. I felt panic, worrying about what I was getting myself into. Now, I’m no veteran, but after more than two years of married bliss, I’ve learned a thing or two. First and foremost, it’s not always bliss. And that’s OK. Because my husband and I are both actively trying our best to make our marriage our first priority.
2. Love finds a way:
Life happens. Sometimes you get mono and you can’t kiss your husband to show him your love. So you adjust. Adaptability in love is one of the keys to keeping relationships thriving.
As we make adjustment to the way we show our love in order to fit our partner’s needs, we are saying two very important things to them: 1. Your needs are valid and because I love you I want to accommodate those needs. 2. Loving you is a priority for me no matter what form it takes. If we fail to do this, we run the risk of objectifying our partners, and perhaps unintentionally tell them they only exist to fulfill our needs. Selflessness is love in action.
3. Acknowledging love is critical:
While striving to show your partner love is important, equally important is acknowledging the ways they have expressed their love. There is evidence of a loving relationship all around our home. It’s a made bed, a sink emptied of the previous night’s dirty dishes. An “I love you note” placed tenderly in a Ziploc bag and taped to the shower wall.
These tokens and reminders of love make my heartstrings ache with gratitude. Imagine if this thanks went unspoken? Failing to acknowledge the love our partner shows us can be devastating to a marriage. It could cause resentment or distance between partners. By slowing down during the busyness of the day to acknowledge acts of love, we again send a message to our partners. This message tells them they are more important than our next appointment or our growing to-do lists.