When we were going through our Pre-Marital Counseling one of the things we talked about were the Love Languages by Gary Chapman. We identified which one was our primary love language and talked about ways we can love each other in the ways that say the most to the other, not ourselves.
But you know what, those don’t always work for us. See we have been a military couple since before we were married. It was always going to be part of the equation for our marriage. And we started our marriage off loving each other across the distance. We don’t always get to be together; we don’t always get to talk every day. So how can we practically apply the love languages to our marriage when we aren’t always able to do so.
For example, my husband’s love language is physical touch- but what happens when we are states or countries apart? We can’t hold hands every day, we can’t cuddle on the couch after dinner each night. Mine is acts of service, but he can’t wash my dishes if he is in the field for a week at a time. And I know we are not the only couple that has run into these issues. When I was working at the Chaplain’s center at Fort Benning I talked to so many couples who were struggling to feel loved by one another because it was so difficult to fill love tanks when we can’t spend time together.
Enter my discovery of Gary Chapman’s revision of the Five Love Languages Military Edition! I was so excited when I found this on Amazon that I bought a copy immediately! And thanks to Amazon Prime I finished it within the week!
Here are some practical ways to love across the distance in each other’s love languages.
This is another Love Language that is especially difficult to express during a deployment or separation, and so again you should also focus efforts to their secondary love language. But here are some other suggestions.
- Send photos, these tangible images of you can become very important when its impossible to hold you physically.
- Spray your perfume or cologne on a card or fabric and send to them.
- Service members can arrange for their spouse to go and get a massage
- Hand written letters
Words of Affirmation
This is one of the easiest ones to keep going during a deployment since all we are really able to do is talk to each other. But if they are in the field, or have little communication there are still things you can do.
- Writing Love Letters
- Allow each other to vent about stress and frustrations
- Express appreciations through emails or letters
- Open when Letters (great for when they may not be able to talk to you immediately)
This is another one that is easier to keep going during a deployment. I mean just look on Pinterest and there are 100s of care package ideas. Rachel Even blogs all about Care Packages during deployment! It just takes a bit more planning and creativity.
- Send care packages- Get creative! You can do all sorts of themes from favorite sports teams to holidays!!
- Get friends and family together to send cards, emails and packages to let them know you’re ALL thinking of them.
- Bring home unique gifts for your spouse from your location.
Acts of Service
During deployments, the deployed spouse should recognize that the homefront spouse is doing daily acts of service for them by managing the home front solo (of course we are happy to do it, but it can be exhausting). The deployed spouse is doing a whole different kind of act of service- one for their Country rather than their spouse specifically.
- Spend time connecting with the deployed spouse’s family. Letting them know you are reaching out to them (if they are on good terms) will go along way.
- Service Members can arrange for lawn care or child care to be set up and taken care of prior to leaving.
- Service Members can record themselves reading books to their kids, this can help out at bed time.
- Take care of projects around the home best you can rather than saving them all up for your spouse to return. You can even take before and after photos.
This is a difficult one to achieve during deployments and field separations. If you or your spouses Primary love language is quality time then make sure to really invest in their secondary love languages as well while apart. But there are still some ways to spend quality time together; especially if you have access to internet.
- Read a book together and discuss during phone chats
- Tell your spouse, “I can’t wait to spend a day _____ with you again” filling in your favorite shared activity.
- If you can’t share the day to day details of your work, at least share how you are feeling.
- Become interested in a sport or hobby your spouse enjoys. Then share what you are learning.
If you are interested in finding out what you and your spouses love languages are, then you can take this inventory online for FREE. Just click HERE!