I am a firm believer in the sanctity of marriage, which is a huge reason I love my job so much. Although I've never been married myself, I know marriage is the hardest thing I will ever do in my life. But without a doubt, I know that - if done right - it will also be the most rewarding.

One of my 2017 brides said "Put as much time and attention (if not more) into preparing for your marriage as you do into preparing for your wedding.” That literally rocked my world. So much of wedding planning is for an ultimate end point (your wedding day), and sometimes couples forget to prepare for what happens after the wedding. Sometimes couples forget that it is a constant compromise, constant betterment of yourself, and constant communication with and understanding of your partner. Your wedding is not the end of the pursuit of your partner, it is just the beginning.

FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES

1. Physical Touch - This love language can range from being sexually intimate to simply having your partner put their arm around you in public. These language lovers crave physical connection, and often times seek comfort and security in their partner's level of touching. Obviously there are different levels of this, so discussing with your partner what is important to them is crucial to understanding this.

2. Words of Affirmation - Words. Feelings. Emotions. All of these are important when showing love to someone via words of affirmation. These kind of lovers are naturally big communicators, but they're also very in tune with their feeling and emotions, and are able to articulate them accordingly.

3. Acts of Service - This love language is more common amongst couples who live together or share responsibilities together. The key to this love language isn't "doing things," it's doing things when it helps or alleviates your partner. If your partner is stressed or overwhelmed, or just really hates a particular errand/responsibility, acts of service can really earn you some points.

4. Quality Time - This love language is about attention and time spent together. Maybe you've found yourself doing date nights every week, but your partner complains you spend no time together. Well, have you been on your phone during date night? Have you lazily planned your date night in between other responsibilities? Your partner likely just wants you to turn everything else off (including your brain) and focus on them for a few hours a week, without distractions.

5. Gift Giving - This love language should not be mistaken for materialism. The key to this love language is thoughtfulness. It's not about the expensive designer purse or the lavish vacation. It's about being on a work trip and seeing something in the airport that reminds you of your partner, so you bring it home for them. Do you want to know what one of my favorite gifts has been from a significant other (among vacations, Fossil watches, and jewelry from Tiffany's)? It was a "just because" gift he came across online: a little mini USB disguised as a tiny camera. HOW THOUGHTFUL.

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MY LOVE LANGUAGE PROFILE

The ratings below show what I scored on my love language test. They ask you a series of questions comparing each style of love language in a real life scenario, and you respond with which you prefer. These questions are intended to tell you how you like to receive love from your partner.

  • 9 - Words of Affirmation
  • 8 - Quality Time
  • 6 - Physical Touch
  • 4 - Acts of Service
  • 3 - Receiving Gifts

Not always is your receiving love language the same love language as how you like to show love to other, so it's important to have conversations with your partner about this. It's also best to have open lines of communications to understand when you or your partner does something that means a lot to you, and likewise when they don't.

*SPOILER ALERT* Being with someone who has a love language different than you are used to may require you actually altering the way you show love. That is what marriage is about: compromise and flexibility.

YOUR HOMEWORK

If you are married, or in a relationship, or even SINGLE! Take a moment to do the following. It will help you be more intentional in your relationship, be more in tune with your feelings and may provide some clarity in your communication style.

1. Go buy the book. This book really digs into the heart and soul of love languages and how they affect each and every relationship (including parenting and friendships). Read it with your partner and have discussions about points that stick out to you, and why.

2. Take your love language test. And have your partner take it, too! Afterwards, have an in-depth conversation about your results and reflect on your relationship. Ask each other what you do that makes them feel loved.

3. Complete the love language challenge. This could not be easier. All you do is input your information and state what your partner's love language is. The challenge does the rest for you, and sends you gentle reminders to make sure you're keeping up with it. Before you start the challenge, have a conversation with your partner about how you're feeling overall. Then reevaluate at the end of the challenge. It will be a good indicator to see if their love language is accurate on how they receive love and also a good evaluation of how well you loved on your partner during the challenge.

4. Schedule 3 date nights and DON'T CANCEL. By this point, you should understand how important it is to continue dating even after you're married. Be intentional about it and make it a priority. Do something different than you normally do. Try something new! Spend a little money on a weekend getaway. No matter what it is, make it happen.

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