Dear Homeschool Mom,
Sometimes as we homeschool (or as we get prepared for the new homeschool year over the summer), we let our jobs as mothers and teachers (and chefs and housekeepers and chauffeurs…) stop us from spending time with our husbands and showing them that they are important to us and that we love them. Being a mom is a hard job, and being a homeschooling mom is even harder! (And if you have special needs kids, that adds an extra element of stress and difficulty!)
But it’s important for our children to see what a healthy marriage looks like. I realize there are more and more single moms who homeschool today, and I’m so happy that single moms are increasingly able to homeschool! But I think most of us hope that, if our children choose to marry as adults, they are happily married!
Having a happy marriage while homeschooling is possible! Yes, we’re busy. Yes, our lives are often stressful. But we don’t have to sacrifice our marriages!
I don’t remember when I came across The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary D. Chapman, but I wish I had come across it much sooner! I think it would have been so helpful for my husband and me to have known about love languages and affirming each other’s love language 28 years ago when we were first married. We didn’t know that we spoke different love languages or that we needed to each meet the other person’s need to be loved in the way each of us understood. We probably each thought we were doing all we could do to love the other.
And to be truthful, when our children were all younger (They’re 24, 22, and 17 now.) and needed so much care and attention (especially our severely autistic child), we were both exhausted and burned out most of the time. I sometimes wonder how we survived! I hate to admit it, but our marriage wasn’t top priority for many of those years. But we had promised God and each other that we’d stick together, so we were determined to do it! The love languages book did make it easier, though!
And, to be honest, I’m not sharing this with you because I have any obligation to this book or the author. I’m sharing it with you because I truly do wish I’d known that different people have different love languages. I think it would have made some of those difficult years a little easier. I think it could have helped us avoid some misunderstandings. And I think it would have made the good years better!
Basically, there are 5 love languages. They are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
I realized that my husband has two primary love languages. (Most of us have more than one.) His are quality time and physical touch. My husband loved (and still loves) movies and television shows. He has always enjoyed sitting down in the evening—especially after the children are in bed or in their rooms for some quiet time before bed—and watching a movie or TV show. I never took the time to sit and watch a show with him because I was always too busy. Once the kiddos were in their rooms or in bed was the only time I had to catch up on everything I needed to get done! When I reminded myself that quality time was one of his love languages, it became easier for me to set aside what I thought needed to be done and spend 45 minutes or an hour watching something with him simply because he enjoyed it when I did. (Keep in mind that it’s his idea of quality time, not mine, that meets his need!)
His other love language is physical touch. I think most men speak that one! I realized I also was not spending time giving my husband the physical affection he needed—inside or outside of the bedroom. That was difficult for me for a long time because my children were so physically needy that I felt like I had nothing left to give at the end of the day. I didn’t want anyone touching me or needing anything from me once the children were in bed. But once I began to understand that physical touch was one of his most important love languages and that he didn’t feel loved if his physical needs weren’t being met, it helped me understand his needs and that he wasn’t being selfish or uncaring. He simply needed me.
This doesn’t mean that my husband doesn’t appreciate acts of service, words of affirmation, or receiving gifts. It just means that those aren’t as important to him. Those are the love languages that he might appreciate having met now and then, but they aren’t necessary for him to feel loved on a day-to-day basis.
You can probably guess that, as a busy work-from-home, homeschooling mom, my most important love language (at least right now) is acts of service! My sweet hubby is wonderful about helping with the laundry (my downfall!) as well as helping to keep the kitchen clean. Now that the children are older, they are required to help more too, but my husband makes sure it gets done one way or another, and that means so much to me! (It also helps free up more time for me to spend with him—and he knows that!)
Over time, we began to realize that meeting the other person’s needs made each of us happier too! We didn’t start out doing a very good job of it at all, but we have improved with time and effort, and you can too!
No, you don’t have to read this book to have a happy marriage. But it can definitely be helpful if you’re looking for ways to help your husband feel loved and to strengthen your relationship. Not only will you and your husband be happier, but it will be a great example of a happy marriage for your children. After all, our children are the reason we do what we do, right? So I’d like to encourage you whether you have a wonderful marriage or a marriage that needs some improvement to learn how to better love each other. It truly is worth the effort!
Do you have tips or ideas to share with us? We would love to hear what you have to say about having a happy marriage and modeling a happy marriage for your children!