All right lesson number two entitled: The
Currency of Love. Our main title if you wish for our series: In Love For Life,
Building or Rebuilding a Great Marriage. And I gave it that title, building or
rebuilding because some people may be building a great marriage but when I
look into the audience that we have today there may be some rebuilding going
on for the crew here this morning. A little review of our last lesson because
we have some new faces in here I said in our last lesson I focused on the idea
that in order for marriages to last a lifetime, because God created marriage
for a lifetime, they need to be based on the kind of love where each partner has
a disciplined commitment to seek the well-being of their spouse to an equal
or greater level than they have for themselves, and to kind of break that
down into a simpler bite a simpler soundbite the kind of love that we need
in a marriage to really make it last a lifetime
is the kind where an individual says, I want and I work to give you the same or
better life that I want for myself. I mean when your partner has that attitude
when both partners in the marriage have that kind of attitude you’ve got
something solid upon which you can build a great relationship. Remember I
mentioned that God made marriage to last a lifetime but if we want to be happy
for a lifetime we need to love each other, so that a lot of marriages that
last a long time but it’s a long term misery, I’ve seen some of
those, but that’s not what we want as Christians as Christians we want a
lifetime where there is happiness and joy and that can only happen when we
have this kind of love as a basis. So in today’s lesson I want to talk about the
currency of love. So far I’ve explained that what marriages ought to be and what
you need to work on in order to improve them. In our lesson today we’re
going to look at a specific tool or a method to help us have that successful
relationship that all of us, you know I’ve never heard anybody say well I.. they get married and I never hear anybody say, man I cannot wait for the
divorce it’s going to be so great you know when we go through the divorce. Nobody
ever says that. Even people who remarry you know people who
have gone through a divorce and then they remarry what do you think those
people want in remarrying? They want to be happy, they want a successful
marriage. So say what you want for an individual who may be
married multiple times, if they marry several times usually it’s because
they’re trying to find a partner they’re trying to be married in order to be
happy. I don’t even want to get into the debate about
marriage and remarriage I’m just talking about the emotion of it nobody ever gets
married in order to fail, people get married because they want to find
happiness, they want the things that God has given to married people that’s why
they marry. So we’re going to look at a specific tool to help
us have that kind of successful relationship and also the tool that will
help the relationship we have at the moment. The key of course is love.
I’ve already mentioned that the way to nurture and transfer that love from one
to another is through the process of communication. So we all want love but
how do I give love to the other the other one give love to me? How
does that work? How do we transfer that love? Well the currency of love
the currency of love is communication. In other words the substance of love and
the way you move love around and the way you transfer it from one person to the
other person, you do that through communication. In my counseling as a
minister I’ve seen people who have the capacity to love, they want to love, they
need to love, but they don’t communicate well and for that reason they have
problems when it comes to love. Everything you do within marriage is
done within the context of communication. Almost everything you do is in the
context of communication. So let’s look at communication within marriage and see
if we can find ways to increase the currency of love. A couple of things that
I want to read a couple of quotes:
you can’t know anyone unless you communicate with them, and you can’t love
anyone you don’t know therefore the depth of love existing between a couple
will largely depend on the amount and the depth of their communication. Now
marriages are held together by love and love is built through communication.
Proverbs 27:5 says, “Better is open rebuke than love that is
concealed.” Better open rebuke than love that is concealed. There’s an
idea that saying I love you is the only way even the best way of
communicating that love and in our kind of audio-visual world of TV and movies and
now especially the internet we place a great emphasis on oral communication,
words, we think if it isn’t communicated verbally in other words we
can’t hear it then for some reason it’s not really been communicated. So we need
to understand that the language of love can be communicated in many different
ways not just by words. So there’s a book out it’s been out for
quite a while but a really great book I that I can recommend to you it’s called,
The Five Love Languages by a man called named Gary Chapman. And he says that love
can be communicated in a variety of ways I just want to go over those with you
because he’s talking about communication he’s talking about the currency of
love. First of all he says love can be communicated in words. Expressions of
appreciation not just I love you but I appreciate you oh thank you for doing
that I really that was really helpful for me, words of admiration loyalty
affection attraction. People who use the words of love you look great I
like your hair or she says you know I’ve always liked the way you
look in that shirt or that’s always been my favorite tie
that you wear or whatever, words to say I appreciate you I love you I think you’re
handsome or beautiful or you’re important all these words
that communicate these ideas. But words aren’t the only ways that we
communicate love, gifts tokens of love and appreciation things you buy things you
make for the other person. That she takes the time to perhaps bake something and
she may not be a natural cook or anything but she takes the time and
effort to bake something that he really likes whatever it is I don’t know his
mom’s apple pie or whatever, that’s a gift. I’m giving you the gift. So that’s
one way of appreciating or showing love or telling someone you love them. A third
one is action, actions to please and comfort the other person. Service in the
home taking care of the other person’s possessions hey I brought your shirts to
the dry cleaner today you know not a big thing saved you the time to do that. I
took your car in to have it oiled and so you won’t have to mess with it
because I know you need to go to the airport on Monday
because you’re leaving town so I took care of that for you while you
were at the office well thank you. Service, actions, time, another way giving
attention paying attention really listening not just
yeah yeah I heard you. Are you listening yeah yeah I heard you
somehow does not convey that I’m really paying attention, yeah yeah I
heard you while you’re reading the paper or flipping through the box scores on
ESPN or something you know. Really paying attention, actually the kind of attention
where you say to the other person so tell me about your day, that kind of
attention. Or when he says so you went to your mom’s so what did she say about
such and such a thing, oh you want to hear what my mother said yeah yeah I
want to hear it I want to know it. You know this business of, oh it’s not
quantity time it’s quality time? That’s the worst expression I’ve ever
heard, you know why? Because quantity time is quality time. And then of course
physical affection touching holding sexual intimacy of course. He’s
sitting in the chair you’re going behind the chair you give him a three-second
massage on the shoulders and you walk on, she’s reading her book she’s doing
something you walk by you’re sitting down you’re grabbing the paper your your
tablet or whatever to read you just reach over and you put your hand on her
arm, that communicates something that says I want to feel the
warmth of your body it’s a what we call non-sexual affection, very very
meaningful as something that you communicate to an individual.
Now psychologists tell us that one of these, one of these languages here is our
primary language for love in other words one of these things is our hot button
that satisfies our need to know that we are loved. Remember what I just said, our
need to know that we’re loved. Usually when love dies in a couple it’s because
we’re no longer sure that we loved or that we are loved, and usually the
reason for that is our hot button is not getting touched anymore.
So we know that we can express or we can receive all of these things but usually
one of these things is the one that convinces us that we are loved and if it
isn’t pressed we will not feel loved no matter what the other person does or
what the other person says. So unless we’re spoken to in our love language
we’ll not feel loved, it’s very important to feel that we are loved. I got to feel
it. Isn’t that what people say a lot of times when things are starting
to break down, that conversation that people have telling each other that the
relationship is a little rocky, one person will say to the other person,
I’m just not feeling it. What do you mean you’re not feeling it? You know yeah.
What they’re saying is you know that that button that gets pressed that
inside of me says I am loved I’m sure I am loved that button is not getting
pressed anymore that’s what they’re saying. So let me give you some examples
of the language of love in action okay, hypothetical couple. So the wife’s
hot-button in our couple A here, the wife’s hot button for
knowing that she’s loved is words let’s just say it’s words
poems love notes saying sweet things compliments on her looks confessions of
desire the repeated words of love she’s all about words words that’s our
hot-button words; and then in couple A we have the husband the husband well he
grew up in a house where his dad was the strong and silent type no fancy words in
that house. So the husband has grown up like his dad in this particular way and
he has learned to say I love you not with words but with service deeds he
fixes her car he takes care of the house he does a lot of repair on her mother’s
house you understand what I’m saying he serves he does things he
does the dirty jobs. Now what tends to happen in this
relationship is that she’s not going to feel loved because he’s not expressing
it in the way that she needs it to be expressed remember she’s all about words
she doesn’t need new tires on her car new tires on her car great that’s not
what makes her feel loved. So she’s going to question his love and
he’ll point out all the things that he does for her what do you
mean do I love you you got brand new Goodyears
on your car, didn’t I put in the ramp for your mom’s wheelchair what do you
mean. But she’s not going to be satisfied because he’s not speaking
in her language of love. So this believe it or not is how affairs
begin, somebody else discovers your hot button and they start hitting your hot
button and you like it you like it because
you’re feeling something that you don’t feel at home.
That’s just how it works. Now an interesting feature about this
language of love business, people tend to receive their love messages in the same
way that they give their love messages, see what I’m saying? So let’s go back to
our couple and see how this works. Remember she receives love through words
so this is usually the way she gives it and he receives it through actions and
service so usually this is how he receives or this is how he recognizes
love. So watch what happens in a couple like this and I mean you know I’m giving
you a kind of a general example here, she tells him that she loves him and she
gives him mushy birthday cards and she wants to talk about their
relationship let’s talk about us okay, but she’s not interested in hanging
out in the garage with him or working on projects in the shop. And he needs to
hear I love you by her involvement with him in his stuff his things
let’s go down to Autozone I got to buy some things for your
car we’ll go together we’ll stop at Taco Bell and get some you
know. So in the end he feels smothered by her words and she feels rejected by his
silence. Now you see what’s happening here?
Both of them are trying to love but each is missing the point and the sad thing
is they don’t realize it. Now I’ve told you what some people, they
want to love and they need to love and they desire to give love
but they fail because they can’t seem to communicate it well or they’re
not communicating it in the way that the other person needs to hear it. Now the
answer for them, believe it or not, is not to start loving,
sometimes the counselor will say well you just you’ve got to start loving your
wife, what do you mean I already love my wife the guy will say. They’re already
trying to do that and believe it or not the answer is also not to love
differently because I don’t think people can change their basic personality in
order to accomplish this, you know the strong silent type he’s, he or she
you know there’s women like that too, the strong silent type are always going to
be the strong silent type we’re not going to turn them into talkative let’s
talk about our relationship type people that’s not the way they are. What I, no use
saying that to this group here I’m looking around I don’t see all I see are
married people but if I do this for a you know a younger crowd not married yet
type thing you know first-time marriages I used to do this for a college group
all the engaged college students at OC and that’s at this point I would say to
them okay I want all of you people they’re all engaged to be married I want
all of you to turn around look at each other and just look at each other for a
minute you know and then just stare at each other for a minute and they start
to giggle you know I’d say okay here’s here’s the big truth now I’m going to
lay on you what you see is what you’re going to get. So if you think you’re going
into a marriage and your job is going to be to change the person in front of you
good luck with that, that’s not going to happen they are who they are they can
improve how they are you can improve yourself but you can’t change yourself
you understand there’s a difference there. So touchy-feely people can’t just
change the way they are it’s not a superficial thing it’s just the way they
are. The answer I believe to this problem is to find ways to communicate about
loving each other so that we will understand and hopefully better receive
and give the love we have to give and need for ourselves. As the slide says,
love improves when communication improves. And the way to do this is to
make communication you do have more effective and more productive in the
sense that you’re consciously improving the communication bridge between you. You
have to communicate better. Now there are ways to improve communication between
you and your spouse, I’ll give you three basic elements that’ll make your
communication better. Three things that’ll help you to connect more
efficiently and more effectively at every level. First of these communication
techniques is: be totally honest. Paul says in Ephesians 4:15 speaking the
truth in love, speaking the truth in love. For communication to be productive you
need to be honest even if it’s risky. Even if it’s risky. She loves baking
cherry pies she just loves it’s her favorite pie to make her dad loved it
her grandpa loved that she just knows how she makes the best she won a prize
for cherry making pie at the fair and so she’s going to make him cherry pie, and
because he knows that her mom made it and her grandma made it and she’s got a
blue ribbon in the box that says you know champion cherry pie maker you know
Oklahoma State Fair 1999 you know he’s going to eat the cherry pie. You
sure do make the best cherry pie but one day he will have to speak the truth in
love right and he’ll have to say you know baby I got to tell you
something man I don’t want to hurt you I hate cherries I can’t stand cherries
I’ve been eating the cherry pie just to make you happy baby.
You understand what I’m saying is I’m getting to be like Marty all my examples
revolve around food. A lot of times we say what the other person wants to hear
so we can get what we want. So we can get what we want
so we’ll fudge on the truth that we can get what we want. Now this works in the
short term but it’s disastrous for a long-term relationship. The best example
of this is when we compare the hierarchy of needs that men and women say that
they need from each other. There was a survey a while back that showed what men
and women acknowledged privately as their top five needs but rarely
acknowledged to each other because they are embarrassed. Understand the premise
here? A survey asked married couples what do you need to be happy I don’t mean
what would you like I mean I would like a beach house in Tampa that I could go
to whenever I would like that but I don’t need that to be happy you
understand what I’m saying? Something you need is like oxygen I need
if I don’t have oxygen I can’t survive if I don’t have food I can’t survive
so they they wanted five needs five emotional type spiritual you know needs
that women having that men have that they have to have otherwise they can’t
survive in the marriage okay. So here were the answers,
women and men. So we start with the women the women said top five needs :number
one, affection. Not necessarily sexual intimacy but affection romance cuddling
holding touching, remember I said the non-sexual affection that says I love
you because of you not because of what you can give me but I love you because of you. Number two,
attention, the sharing of thoughts. Really listening, very important women said,
I know that you’re really paying attention to what I’m saying even if
what we’re talking about is not necessarily our budget or world affairs
just the little things that I did you know I over at my mom’s
you’re really listening to me. Number three, trust, trust women
said trust is very very important. Her world especially when there are
children is supported by him and I understand in this day and age we’ve got
two income houses and so on and so forth,
but still the man still that majority wise are still the primary earners and
especially when women have small children and they’re taking care of
small children even if they have a job the care of those children is on them.
And so trust is very very important she has to have confidence in him that’s
what they say. Number four, financial security, in other words women said they
want enough to live on and provide for the family. And an interesting thing that
came in with this survey was that women said they want enough to give the
children an advantage, in other words not just enough to live but enough so that
little Suzy can have piano lessons in that and little Bobby can you know I
don’t know we can play sports or whatever you know just a little
advantages in life maybe somebody is a gifted child wow let’s kind of get
them into a situation where they can really profit from their their
skills and their gifts. And then number five, you could have had ten but
just picked five, involvement. Women said it was important for their husbands to
be involved in the home and in family matters, not just you know
I’II take care of the you take care of the house I don’t want
to hear about it just take care of the house women said no I want my husband to
actually be involved in the house he doesn’t have to do the dishes or
whatever but I want him to know what’s going on in our home especially when
there are children I want to I want him to know, and women said they wanted their
husbands to provide leadership. And this is not Christian women this
is a general survey women felt safe and comfortable when their husbands provided
true moral leadership in their homes. So those are the five needs that women said
that they need. Okay now we go to the men would everybody like to guess what the
number one need was? Right, sexual fulfillment. Now I want to tell you
something, not affection not non-sexual affection no no no sexual fulfillment.
Now before you run away with this idea I need to tell you something, this is
number one because this is the way that God made men. It’s not number one because
men are sex crazy it’s because that’s how God made them. The natural
production of seminal fluid in a man causes the constant need for
gratification, it’s the greatest single struggle that each man must deal with in
order to mature both emotionally and socially and spiritually. I used
to tell my sons as they grew up you’re going to have to learn to deal
with the green monster, you know the monster inside of you that
sexual being that is always demanding satisfaction you’re going to have to
learn self-control. And before they were married we talked about
this and I said just because you’re married you think everything
is over after you’re married you don’t need to practice any type of
self-control or any type of personal discipline after you’re married?
No, all kinds of temptation nevermind from other people today excuse
me with the internet movies I’m is all kind of pornography going on so on and
so forth I don’t want to go too deep into this subject that’s subject for
another lesson but sexual fulfillment they said that was number one. Number two,
they said a playmate. Guys said they wanted their wives to be their buddies
there friend, look at this look at this that’s that that feeling. They
wanted to feel that their wives you know were in with them on their things their
stuff. Number three men said important to them was that their wives remain
attractive. A wife’s looks and demeanor either built up a man’s pride or brought
it down. They didn’t say I want my wife to look like a supermodel they didn’t
say that they said I want my wife like I want to know that my wife is caring for
her appearance, that’s what was important to them,
that it was important to my wife the way she looked whether she’s tall or short
or whatever I want to know that my wife cares how she looks because that is a
reflection on me. Funny how that works a women that was further down for
women but for men this was very important. Number four, domestic
support. Men said you know what I want a quiet clean accepting home when I come
home they said basically I want to feel welcome,
I don’t want to walk back into my house after work and see World
War III going on. Now of course we had four children Lise and I in
the space of five years so they were all one after the other and you talk about
World War III in somebody’s house, when you got four kids under the age
of six with mom a full-time homemaker and I was gone to the
office all day long I want tell you by the time I got home she was
just bursting with do you know what Paul did and he did this and she did that and
you know and the first few years I was worn out and I mean not to
say she wasn’t worn out but eventually because we talked, speaking the
truth in love you know, I said to her if you could just give me just a minute to
get in so that I could just get into the house get off the day’s work get into
my work clothes or house clothes or whatever get just give me a moment to
catch my breath before you apprise me of everything I don’t mind I’ll deal with
stuff and I want to know what’s going on but just give me that transient
that transfer moment from work to home and she got it she understood. We
didn’t talk about what the kids did or the teacher called her or
whatever stuff like that. She made space for me to come
home and I have to give Lise credit she welcomed me almost like I was a
guest, I would look forward to going home because when I’d walk in the door there
was a smile, hey you’re home good to see you, hug a kiss you know even if in 20
minutes from now she’s going to say okay so one of the kids threw the baseball
through the plate-glass window of the neighbor, you know what I’m saying
she waited a little bit until she gave me the news and I always felt welcome in
my own home and I always saw that she had made an effort so that when I walked
in somehow it didn’t look like crisis. And then number five, men said they want
admiration respect. I mean in little things it’s like hey hey hey I mowed
the lawn and I trim the hedges come and see oh good good job way to go, you know
man they needed approval they needed attaboy a voice from their wives even though the
lawns being mowed 200 times now hey did a nice job on the law oh I noticed you
you know you trim some of those big inches off it yeah yeah head again I was
tough getting up there you know. So what the survey showed were things that we
kind of knew didn’t we from experience and from observation, we saw that men
are generally immature and more self-centered, they want attention and
gratification they’re not always willing to give in exchange for these
things. So this survey showed that men they need a little coaching. But
it also showed something about women women were more high-minded and usually
were willing to invest more to make the marriage work. In my experience it’s
usually the woman that will come in first if the marriage is in trouble and
it eventually she’ll drag that old boy in kicking and screaming to
kind of talk about the relationship. So women they’re
they work at it a little harder than the men do, but women tend to
ask for conflicting things. They want security and advantages for their
children which places a greater burden on the husband if he’s the primary
earner but at the same time they want him to be at home more and more involved
which requires time maybe that’s the time that he needs to be at work making
that extra money to take care of the advantages you see what I’m saying?
Sometimes women need to understand that they can’t have it both ways,
he can’t be home early from work every night and be home every weekend and do
all the stuff but at the same time have the extra money for the ballet lessons
and the private tutors. You understand what I’m saying okay? Number
two we’re running behind a little here productive communication needs to be
clear. So it needs to be honest, needs to be clear. More arguments and division and
hurt feelings come from communication that is simply unclear
rather than intended insults. Those who speak need to make sure that
the hearer has indeed understood what was said and what the meaning was, more
times than not after you settle an argument
isn’t this the scenario one person says well wait a minute I thought you said
this and then the other person said no no I didn’t mean that I meant this over
here oh I didn’t I didn’t I’m sorry I spoke too quickly or I blew
out you know I flew off the handle because I thought you were saying this.
So especially about touchy things you know you need to be careful that you’re
communicating clearly. Practice feedback if it’s something that’s very sensitive
and you’ve got to say something that’s sensitive then don’t be afraid to say
okay let me tell you and you tell them and then you say all right tell me what
I just said tell me what I just said and that’s not a way of accusing your
partner of being dumb or something you want to make sure that they actually
understood not just the words but the intent of what you said. So honest
communication, clear communication, and complete communication. We must tell the
truth we must express it clearly but we’ve got to say it all.
Some don’t agree on this but when one area is taboo or when
between a partner’s one person says okay don’t go there
we’re not going to talk about that about me, when there are too many don’t go
there issues between a couple the communication eventually just shuts down
because it creates frustration and resentment and a gradual closing down of
the communication network between people because one party or the other has the
off limits up you can’t talk about that you know my drinking or your cursing or
whatever you know we can’t talk about those things you can’t talk about how
your mother interferes in our life you know don’t go there you
can’t talk about my mother we’re not going to have any
discussion about her really. I’ll tell you something, nothing
kills love more than secrecy because love cannot grow in the shadows, secrecy
breeds mistrust and you cannot create maintain or grow love in an environment
of mistrust you need honesty. There’s no greater joy or protection than a loving
partner with whom we can share all of our hearts the good and the bad. So let
me summarize here, I want to remind you that one of the best witnesses of our
Christian faith is a loving marriage because most of you will not have the
opportunity to get into a pulpit and preach the gospel or be on TV or
something like that. Most people the thing they know about you is your
marriage and if you have a happy loving marriage that’s probably the strongest
witness you have for Christ with other with other people. And the point I
want to make with this is that solid communication good communication is
what builds love in a marriage okay. Two little assignments that you have on
the back of your worksheet and if you didn’t get a worksheet let me know I’ve
got I’ll have a couple more done, on the back of your worksheet you have a
communication exercise that I want you to do and this is the way I want you to
do it, I want you to each husband wife you each have your own
do your own separately and then find a time where the kids aren’t running
around or there’s no traffic or you have about a good hour quiet and
share your answers one with another. Now when I call this the productive
communication worksheet because this worksheet if you answer those questions
and share them with your partner will begin a discussion between you
that you don’t normally have, you don’t normally talk about the things
that I have given you to talk about on this sheet. And I’m not going to ask you
the results next week nobody gets a score this is if you want to do this if
you want to see some improvement in your communication skills try this exercise.
And then the second homework assignment that I have for you is I want you to
read the book of Ruth in the Old Testament it’s not very long just a few
chapters. Next week we’ll be doing the book of Ruth in a lesson entitled, The
Cords of Love okay, Cords of Love and so I’ll be taking a lot of the material out
of the Book of Ruth but we won’t have time to be reading it during class so
please read it ahead of time and then we’ll head into that next week. Well
thank you for your attention please talk to each other, communicate.