Allen and I had the most amazing weekend! We attended a marriage conference in Jacksonville Florida at the most gracious church…Shiloh Church. They hosted Gary Chapman for the 5 Love Languages Conference just for the day Saturday. Now Allen and I have attended many marriage retreats & conferences in the past. Some that were almost a week long getaway, some that were for a weekend, and some that were even just for a couple of hours. They have all been wonderful and exactly what we needed at the time. And for this particular season in our life, this one was the perfect fit! It was just long enough, but not too long and we didn’t even have to stay overnight. We left at 6:00 am with couples from our Sunday School and returned by 8:00 pm. Perfect! There is even a condensed version of the same conference tomorrow night in our area. So I mention all of that to say that if you are intentional and really search it out, you can find a marriage conference near you…whether short or long…it will be beneficial. If we can do it on a (mostly) 1 income budget with 3 kids, homeschooling, running a biz and Allen working a full time job, I think anyone can. And we are so thankful we did!
We have previously read the book The Five Love Languages but this was a bit of a refresher and dug quite a bit deeper than that. It’s amazing the difference it makes when you start speaking the right language to your spouse. It makes me think of when I used to work in the deaf ministry at our former church and I would sign with the deaf adults and children..they would get so very excited to be having a conversation with someone (other than their interpreter) who actually spoke their heart language…it was like an instant connection and made them feel at home. In the same way, when we learn to speak our spouse’s love language, it opens up a whole new world in our marriage. Maybe one that’s been untapped for years, and it makes a world of difference in our marriage!
Even tho Allen and I have been practicing this for years, this was such a great reminder for us to begin being intentional again in this area of our relationship. Sometimes life just takes over and the busyness and pace of it all can distract from what we know we should be doing. But what could be more important than working on our marriages. After all, what good is a job or a home or adventure or anything if our marriages fail?
Now for the fun part!! Here is the goody that we promised! Gary Chapman’s team has designed an app called the Love Nudge App It’s awesome and we love it already! Allen and I both downloaded it and are enjoying the benefits. It works like this: Once you download it and set it up, you take a little quiz (aka answer a few questions) to determine your love language. Then you connect with your spouse on the app so that you both can begin to speak each others love language. You set a few goals for filling your spouse’s love tank (daily/weekly/or monthly) and it will even send you reminders (It also gives you ideas of how to speak that language). It takes something that can seem to foreign and difficult and makes it easy. AND ITS FREE!!!! Could it get any better than that? It does have some suggestions within the app for some of the books Gary has written (which we highly recommend!). The ones we have read are excellent and he is an incredible speaker. Although he’s 81, he is very relevant and has a great sense of humor and keeps you engaged.
We even purchased one of his books while at the conference entitled The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. While we LOVE the marriage we have…there’s always room for improvement and growth. And that’s why we attend Marriage Conferences. Gary Chapman said “Marriages either get better or worse. They don’t stay the same”. Sooo…we totally want our marriage to get better and it’s worth every second we invest in it! He also said “There’s nothing more powerful you can do to influence your spouse than to speak their Love Language”. We have experienced this to be true in our relationship as well. So…with that being said, go NOW and download the app and get started on speaking each other’s love language and filling up those love tanks!! Because we all know that a spouse running on empty is no fun at all.
I truly believe one of the reasons Allen says I am the Wife of His Dreams is because he has spent YEARS pouring into me and loving me unconditionally (expecting nothing in return). He learned my love language early on (long before we read the books and knew there was a word for it) and began filling up my tank. And as he filled up my tank, I have been running on full and have had love to pour back into him. It’s a win-win! But it required a lot of sacrifice on his part and it was a risk. He wasn’t guaranteed that I would reciprocate and love him back unselfishly. It took a while, but I finally got it. LOL (most days). Of course we don’t always do this well, so that’s why we need reminders (AKA marriage conferences/retreats/books/apps-heehee).
Invest in your marriage and you’ll never regret it! Take the time, energy, finances required to give it all you’ve got (instead of giving up) and your children will thank you one day! Heck, your grandchildren will thank you too! It’s not an easy journey but so very worth it. And we are always here for you all, if you have any questions or prayer requests. It’s our honor to serve you. Thanks for letting us encourage you in your marriages. It means the world to us
Happy love language hunting!
Cheering you on,
Allen & Carol