Monday, February 23, 2015

Marriage and the Platinum Rule

Yesterday, I had a really difficult day. I can’t even peg exactly why it was so difficult… chalk it up to these crazy pregnancy hormones I suppose. Whatever the reason, I was teary for most of the day and just a little down. Which isn’t like me. By the end of the night, I was feeling exhausted, frustrated, and confused. I crawled into bed after a half-hearted prayer, still teary eyed, hoping that the morning would bring a better day. Brad slid into bed and wrapped his arms around me and just let me lay there, feeling his warmth. I had likely been distant all day. He could have easily been frustrated with me. But he chose to love me how I needed to be loved. He whispered into my ear how much he loved me and said exactly what I needed to hear. He let me cry. He even got to a point where I could laugh a little. I drifted into sleep happy and grateful for this amazing man that the Lord has blessed me with.

This morning, I woke up still feeling grateful and thinking about what happened last night and why I was able to feel so much better. And I realized that it was because Brad had loved me in the way I needed to be loved. So I began thinking about this last year and a half of marriage and the things that we have learned about each other and the ways in which our marriage has grown. And I realized that the key to our extreme love and happiness is that we are getting better and better at practicing the platinum rule.



Not everyone has heard of the platinum rule. Most are quite familiar with the golden rule. Now don’t get me wrong. I like the golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is solid advice. It’s in the Bible after all (see Matthew 7:12). And I love the Bible. The heart of the idea is to treat people well. Treat them with the kindness you would expect of them.

But I do think that there might be an even greater rule.

What if we were all to treat others in the way they want to be treated?

Many of you are familiar with Gary Chapman’s 5 love languages and the idea that we all feel love in different ways. Some feel love through quality time with their loved ones, others through words of affirmation, some through acts of service, still others through receiving gifts, and the fifth group through physical touch. Of course, these aren’t rigid categories where people only feel love from one of these, but the idea is that some of these speak to us more than others. I think it’s important to understand how you feel loved; however, I think that even more important is understanding how your spouse feels loved. And then learn to “speak their language.”

The golden rule would teach me that if I feel loved when my spouse spends time with me, I should in turn spend time with him. But what if my husband feels more loved when he receives acts of service? Treating him the way I want to be treated is not speaking to his love language. But if I were to recognize his need and respond to his desires, I would be treating him the way he would hope to be treated. There would not be the disconnect between what he hopes for and what I give him. Similarly, my husband would then need to recognize my need and desire for quality time together. The platinum rule.

I have heard friends complaining that their husbands aren't in tune with their needs. Maybe he isn't taking out the trash. Maybe he isn't sitting and talking at the end of the night. Maybe he isn't playing with the kids after work. But he is working hard and providing for the family. He is kissing her goodbye every morning. He is taking her on dates each weekend. The disconnect is happening when what he is doing doesn't match up with what the wife is needing in order to feel loved. And chances are he doesn't even know.

So getting back to yesterday. After we came home from church, it was obvious that I was not at my best. I was upset and having a hard time. Brad has learned that while I love open and honest communication, I need some time to process and think on my own before I’m ready to talk things over. He on the other hand likes to and needs to talk things out, as I have had to learn. Rather than following his own desires, he lovingly let me spend the afternoon thinking and considering what I was going through. He didn’t push me to talk to him yet, knowing that I would come to him when I was ready and had taken the time I needed to work things out in my own mind. He treated me the way I wanted to be treated, even if he would have preferred another way of going about things. He practiced the platinum rule. I was so grateful for him throughout the day and then at night, he knew that I needed to be told that he thought I was doing a good job. I needed to hear him tell me that I will make a good mother. I needed to hear him tell me that he loved me and appreciated my efforts. And then later, I was ready to talk things out and we were able to have a wonderful conversation. If he had pressured me earlier in the day, I would have become frustrated and not known what to say.

Brad is much better at the platinum rule that I am. It is a hard thing to do. Since we feel loved in a specific way, it is more natural to show love in that same way we feel it. It comes more naturally. It is what we understand. But as we work together to speak each other’s love language and to treat the other in the way we would want to be treated, our love blossoms and we become more understanding and appreciative of each other.

So here is my two bits on practicing the platinum rule:


  •           Find out the way your partner feels loved. It’s okay to ask. And be open about telling your spouse how you feel loved. You might even be surprised. For example, I had no idea until we were married that I really need to hear words of affirmation. I was really shy about it at first, but once I was able to tell Brad that I needed to hear the things he was thinking, things just clicked.
  •           Learn to speak each other’s love language. It might feel awkward and unnatural. Perhaps you won’t even understand how it is that your partner feels loved through a certain way, but do it anyways. If you don’t have to hear from your spouse during the day, but he really needs a text message telling him you love him, send it. Set a reminder on your calendar if you need to.
  •           Talk openly about how things are going. Tell each other what you need. Marriage is a partnership and it’s okay that you both have needs to be filled. Listen with an open heart when your spouse loving tells you what he needs.
  •           Thank your spouse for his efforts. I think it goes a long way when we recognize and acknowledge the things that our spouses do for us. They need to know that we see what they are doing and that we are grateful.


I have seen the platinum rule at work in my marriage. I know it works. I am so grateful for a husband that is so good at living by it. And I think that if we could all learn to see the needs of our spouses and treat them the way they want to be treated, our marriages would be even more wonderful.





26 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Sounds like Brad knows how love his Wife, like Jesus loves his bride. Im glad to hear first: that you woke up feeling so much better. Second, that you are truly living a Christ-centered marriage. Your baby will be loved and blessed. I'll keep you in my prayers. Be blessed.

    P.S. I love Chapman's 5 languages of love, it has helped me understand many of my friends and now I share same love language with my boyfriend (quality time), IM SO THANKFUL we share the same language of love.

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    1. Thank you Gema! Living a Christ-centered marriage truly is so important. And you are truly blessed to speak the same love language as your boyfriend. Best wishes to you both!

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  3. Great post! I'm so glad he was able to love you how you needed to be loved at that moment. Marriage is such a wonderful thing, and working at it isn't the easiest but so worth it. Love languages are such a great topic for any couples to really look in to. Enjoyed your post!

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    1. Thank you, Kristine. I absolutely agree that marriage takes work, but it is the most important work we can do!

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  4. my favorite line, "do unto others as they do unto you" everyone should live by these rules, the world would be a happier place, thanks for sharing your great post.

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  5. This is great! Marriage really shows me how selfish I can be, and this "platinum rule" is such a great daily reminder that it's not about me lol. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Angie! It's important to remember that marriage is a two way relationship. We both have to work at it.

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  6. So sweet! Man hormones are the worst--putting you out of sorts and stuff. Glad you have an awesome man! You guys are going to make great parents! :)

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    1. Katie, you are so sweet! We love your updates on your little one and I hope I can be a good momma like you!

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  7. We are huge fans of Five Love Languages! We read it while we were dating and it helped the lights come on that my husband's love language is Physical Touch and mine was Gifts/Quality Time. Such a great tool to help couples understand how to communicate and love each other well! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! And hang in there - the hormones will get better..... eventually! ;)

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    1. It really is so important to know how your spouse feels loved! I'm glad you could read the book while you were dating and apply it in marriage.

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  8. This is the best. It's so important to have a Christ-centered marriage!

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    1. It really is! When Christ is the center of our marriage, we have a better perspective and greater love for each other and for Him.

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  9. We just talked about this at church last weekend. Though I've been familiar with the 5 Love Languages for a few years now, I still am fascinated by the different ways people feel love. I am quality time with a mix of a few others, so I notice that sometimes I need one of my other love languages to take the forefront if I'm going through a tough situation.

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    1. That's a really great point! We may need love in different ways when we are going through different things. It isn't always the same. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. This is such a great post! IT makes me think og what they say about men and women having different "love languages". My husband and I actually talked about this a few months ago. He opened up to me about how he was feeling and why and I was flabbergasted! I thought I'd been expressing my adoring love through the things I was doing, but he feels loved most in other ways. It was a very interesting conversation.

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    1. It's really interesting to realize that we thought we were showing love, and we really were doing great things, but our spouse just wasn't feeling it! How important it is to open up and communicate so that we can show each other love in the right way. I'm so glad your hubby was able to come to you openly and honestly. Good luck as you now start "Speaking his language."

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  11. Such a great post. This makes me really want to read the 5 Love Languages. I've heard so many good things about it, I'm bumping it to the top of my list. And I totally feel ya on the pregnancy hormones! They just sneak up out of nowhere.

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    1. It's a great book and I definitely recommend adding it to your reading list!

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  12. I love this! I've never heard this idea called the "platinum rule" before, but it's such a perfect name. So often I love my husband the way I want to be loved because that's what comes naturally, but it's so important for me to love him the way he desires and needs it. Thanks for sharing these insights!

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    1. Brittany, you are not alone! I think that loving others in the way we want to be loved is so natural because it is what we understand. It takes work, but it is so worth it to try to understand how HE needs to be loved and practice this "platinum rule."

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  13. This is a great idea and so important to follow when life gets a little too busy..

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    1. You are so right! Life does get busy, but important to do these little things.

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  14. I feel like I need to go hug my husband now. I have the pregnancy hormones right now too (27 weeks along) and the last 2 weeks have been especially tough. My temper has been really short especially with my husband. I think it may be time for a heart to heart and some prayer!

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    1. I totally feel you on the pregnancy hormones! I am grateful for a loving and patient husband. And yes, prayer and meaningful conversation both go a long way!

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