I was married for almost two years when the word came out of my mouth.
We had been fighting for hours, and there was no end in sight.
I picked up a large jar of minced garlic, and I threw it in my husband’s direction.
The garlic flung all over the wall, the floor, and our living room carpet.
We both had been pushed too far.
When I said the word out loud to him, he froze.
We shouldn’t be together, we should just get a divorce.
Two years in, and I had already given up on my marriage.
I felt horrible.
All the words we had flung at each other were sitting around us, hanging in the air like the smell of the garlic that was now clinging to the wall.
I had missed my husband with the plastic jar, plastering the garlic all over the floor, the wall, and part of our living room carpet.
Furious at me, and maybe also a little frightened that I might actually have meant what I said, my husband sat at the kitchen table.
“Well, we should divide things up, and see if we can afford it”.
Just like hearing the “D” word spoken from my mouth had pierced his heart, my husband’s calm and steady tone while saying these words gave me a chill I’ll never forget.
We sat in separate rooms, each armed with a pen and a piece of notebook paper.
We budgeted everything from our credit cards to groceries.
At the end of our paper, we had each circled our ‘remaining funds’ amount. I was in the negatives. He was just barely in the positives.
Still, I felt at that moment, we couldn’t possibly make it work.
He turned to me, his eyes were full of tears.
He barely squeaked out, “I’m sorry. I don’t want this”.
It felt as though the imaginary foot that was pressing me against the couch cushion had lightened its step.
It still pressed though, and it still hurt.
“I don’t want to be like this with each other – but I don’t know how to fix it.”
I remember we both had tears running down our faces.
He wrapped his arms around me and held me. We cried together that night, and I felt a new leaf turning.
I don’t know exactly how we made it through that night.
One of us spent the night on the couch.
But we did end up making it, we absolutely did.
*This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own, as always.
The Best Influence On Our Marriage
A few years before that huge, marriage-defining moment, we had the sweetest neighbors that lived across the street from us.
They had such a great, inspiring marriage that my husband and I looked up to with great fascination.
I had only met two couples in my lifetime that I felt I could look up to – this was one of them, John & Sara.
You could tell they were very much in love with each other.
Sadly, they moved away during our first year of dating, but before they did they gave us a few books.
I was twenty-two at the time, and I didn’t really bother to look at them.
They sat on our living room bookshelf, collecting dust, but also adding to the façade that we had a great relationship with a strong foundation.
After that big fight, the two of us were licking our wounds and trying to figure out if what we had could be salvaged.
I looked over at the bookshelf.
At the very end of all the books, sat “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.
It was one of John & Sara’s books they had passed onto us.
My mind flashed back to our neighbors.
If they could read these books, and have a marriage like THAT, we can too. I hope.
I picked it up and started reading.
And that book brought me and my husband to where we are today.
I might not have picked it up for the two or three years I held onto it, but I sure wish I had.
The Book That Saved Us: The Five Love Languages
In the book, it explains that there are five different love languages.
This means that certain people receive and interpret love in different ways.
Here they are:
- Gift Giving
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of service (devotion)
- Physical Touch
I learned that my husband’s love language was “words of affirmation”, and mine was “acts of service”.
I needed him to do things for me (like mow the lawn, or get up with the kids), and he needed me to voice my appreciation and gratitude for things he did.
When you think about it, our love languages really go hand in hand with each other.
BTW, the author of the book has a FREE online quiz you can take that will tell you what your love language is, as well as what your partners is!
Here’s some more detailed information on what each love language is and needs, in case you’d like to learn more…
Love Language: Gift Giving
A person with this love language associates love with receiving gifts.
People with this love language take holidays, anniversaries, and special occasions seriously and can get hurt when they don’t receive gifts on these days, or receive unenthusiastic gifts.
They can also get hurt by their partner’s lackluster reaction to their thoughtful gifts.
If you have a partner with this love language, be sure to keep track of important holidays, give thoughtful gifts, and always express gratitude for gifts you receive from them.
Love Language: Quality Time
A person with the quality time love language likes a lot of focused, one-on-one attention from their partner or spouse.
This person would enjoy spending uninterrupted alone time with their partner and would not thrive in a long-distance relationship.
If you have a partner with this love language, try putting your phone down for an hour during the day (or before bed) and talking with them one-on-one. Avoid distractions or frequent, long periods of time away from them.
Love Language: Words of Affirmation
Someone with this love language needs to hear encouraging words that acknowledge their kind or thoughtful deeds.
Actively listen and openly appreciate their efforts.
Something as simple as sending a thoughtful and endearing text message throughout the day can mean a lot to your partner with this love language. Try to avoid not recognizing their efforts, though, as this can hurt them.
Love Language: Acts Of Service
A person with this love language receives love through the actions of their partner.
Doing something like making them breakfast, taking out the trash, or switching loads of laundry for them can show them that you care.
Try to avoid making promises to help and not following through, however.
Love Language: Physical Touch
Someone with this love language receives love through physical touch.
Kissing, holding hands, and being intimate frequently are all great ways to show love and appreciation towards your partner or spouse with this love language.
Avoid neglecting them of their physical needs, however, as they will feel hurt by this.
After Reading Our Book: The Results
We hadn’t been feeling love from one another in quite a while because we weren’t really communicating that love to each other in a way that we could interpret it.
It seemed almost too simple – was that it? I just needed him to do things for me?
And he just needed me to say “Hey, thanks!”???
That was all it took for us. I mean, there were plenty of other things we worked on, and are still consistently working at in our marriage. But this book helped us communicate love to one another in a way we could both understand.
My husband started helping me around the house, and I started thanking and appreciating him for it!
We both got more of what we needed, and we both stopped being so angry at each other all the time.
We no longer felt neglected of love or underappreciated.
And those small little steps we took every day to make our marriage better prevented the huge blow out fights that were built on all the negative underlying issues we hadn’t realized before.
My Recommendation To You
I would strongly recommend the 5 Love Languages *This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own, as always.to anyone.
Especially if you are at that point where you know you both WANT to fix your marriage, but you aren’t sure where to start.
It was actually interesting to read through with my husband and see which love language we needed to have expressed!
I feel silly, but it reminded me of those magazine quizzes we would take in high school, “What kind of friend are you?” or “How much of a control freak are you?”
I guess they have those on Facebook now, supposing you give up your entire friends list, profile info, blood type, etc. 😉
Through reading this book, we found a way to relate better to each other, and actually connected with a few other married couples that found the same solution and reassurance from this book.
It’s never too late.
And it’s always worth it to invest in your marriage or relationship.
We wouldn’t be standing here today, with two children and a happier marriage than ever before without taking that first step and reading The Five Love Languages.
You May Also Like: 27 At-Home Date Night Ideas
Thank you so much for reading – I truly hope that if you’re reading this and it feels like your marriage can’t survive another day, you’ll pick this book up and give it a real chance…
*Post originally published June 2917, updated October 2020.