Do you feel like the spark is gone in your relationships? I’m not just talking about just your marriage, but also your friendships and family?
Do you ever start off with so much excitement and thrill for a long and loving relationship only to get to the point that you’re sort of disappointed and unfulfilled? And keeping the relationship alive feels like a lot of exhausting work?
Like with your best friend, Do you feel like you’re constantly feeling frustrated and annoyed by her lack of contribution to the relationship?
Am I the only trying to make this friendship work?!
Do you ever feel ashamed because you should be and feel happier to be around your husband, because he’s a good person, but the second he walks in the door after work, you just want to choke him for no good reason?
Does any of this sound familiar?
So, why do we continue to muscle our way through unfulfilling and frustrating relationships?
It’s because we’re a tribal species. We’re hardwired in our DNA to seek out companionship from others. We need to feel connected and that we belong. We have an innate awareness of the power of togetherness, so we continue to strive to find that electricity that sparks between two people when their souls align.
We get glimpses of it throughout our life, so we continue to struggle in a relationship hoping to find that spark we once knew.
You can get the spark back in your relationships right now. And it’s not going to require you to find a new husband or a new bestie.
This is one thing that’s keeping you from experiencing deep and meaningful relationships in your life.
Change this. You change your relationships.
The thing that blocks a relationship is that It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to fill your love tank, it’s yours.
If you’re not sure what I mean when I say “love tank”, let me explain.
There’s a book by Gary Chapman called The 5 love languages.
In this book he talks about the 5 ways people give and receive love. He calls them our love languages. They’re quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch. And each of us favors some over others. So, for instance, I’ve taken the test and it shows that I receive love most through quality time and acts of service. Matt’s are quality time and physical touch.
Then Gary Chapman gives the analogy that each of us has a love tank inside of us, and as we give and receive these different love languages your inner tank will fill and deplete. So, when your tank is the most full, you feel the most loved and connected.
I absolutely love the concept of the five love languages and the love tank analogy. I think they’re a wonderful way to understand yourself and your spouse or anyone you’re in a relationship with. It gives you a framework to understand your inner self, but it’s who’s the responsibility to fill that love tank that I don’t fully agree with. He puts the responsibility on the other person to make sure you feel loved and that your tank is full.
Matt and I actually reviewed the 5 Love Languages app for Good Morning America not too long ago. We spent a few days using the app and then they asked us a few questions about how the app helped improve our relationship. The entire time we were using it, I was sharing all my personal thoughts about this with Matt.
I kept saying, “It’s not your job to fill my love tank and it’s not mine to fill yours! So, how am I going to stay honest about what I believe and still give a positive review?”
He said, “You should just tell them everything you’re telling me.”
I said, “I’m not gonna unleash my opinions on relationships when the poor producer who’s just trying to fill her 2 minute segment and wants to just get her job done!”
Even though we didn’t express our open thoughts about how unhealthy this is, she did come back with “Well, your take on this is definitely interesting.”
You can watch our two minutes of fame here >> GMA Feature.
But this is my show, so now I get to share exactly what I mean by it’s not someone else’s responsibility to fill your love tank. It’s yours.
If you’re looking to someone else to fulfill you, that person will disappoint you over and over again. They can block you from feeling loved every step of the way.
I know, people will then say, “Well, that’s where communication comes in. You need to tell the other person what you need from them.”
You don’t need me to tell you how utterly exhausting it is to constantly tell someone what you need from them.
Then, it turns into one of those things where you say, “Honey, I feel most loved and appreciated when you do an act of service for me. Can you please come clean the kitchen?”
Then your spouse says, “Mine’s physical touch. Can we have sex tonight?”
And you’re like, “Omg! Are you kidding me right now, the kitchen is a disaster, the laundry is piled above my chin, the kids are sticky from who knows what, and I haven’t showered in two days. The last thing I want is to have sex.”
Now, we’ve created an internal game of tug-o-war. Both of you are pulling on the other person to make yourself feel loved and valued. And who’s going to win?
This is when people then move into the space of “it’s not about you. It’s about the other person”, so to fix this war, you must first give and it shall be given to you.
So, we’re taught conditional love.
Give love, and love will return to you. We’re taught “I’ll do my act of service for you. I’ll affirm you with my words, but I expect you to do the same for me. And almost every single time the other person will take your acts of love and carry on with their life. Or they attempt to give their love, but it’s not in a way that you expected or wanted. And it’s not out of maliciousness, selfishness or unlove that they don’t automatically come back to fill your tank. It’s usually out of unawareness.
So, now not only are you giving and giving to this other person, now you’ve got to tell him how to fill your love tank. This is where the anger and resentment set in. When you’re empty and you’re waiting for someone to come to fill you up, then you have to resort to control and manipulation. This shows up in passive aggressive comments. Outbursts of anger and withholding your love.
Has this ever happened?
It’s been a long day with the kids or at work and exhausted. Your spouse walks in chipper and you immediately wish you could poke his eyes out with a fork? He comes in for a hug and a kiss and you give him a side cheek as you cut the carrots.
He asks how your day was and you huff, “It was such a long day and I’m tired.”
He says, “I’m sorry and head to the living room and turns on the TV. You’re like, are you kidding me? He didn’t even offer to help with dinner. So you began to huff around slamming dishes as you cook dinner. He asks again and you spout, “I’m fine.” You’re stewing around the house and everyone begins to walk on egg shells. Ater awhile your husband snaps and comes firing at you furious about something that triggers him.
Then, in that split second you’re totally fine. And you’re like, “what’s your problem?” That’s because in his burst of energy, even though negative, flooded you with an energy that suddenly filled you up. There was a transfer of energy. You were no longer depleted.
We actually learn this process as children. If you have children you’ve probably seen this at play.
Child A picks on Child B. Child B finally can’t take it anymore and retaliates. Child A either begins to cry or comes tattles. Child B gets in trouble. Child A is fine and feels satisfied.
It’s when our energy is low and we need to fill our tank we spur a situation that will cause someone else to flood us with their energy.
Over time in long term relationships, frustration grows, because it’s exhausting to continually find ways to spur the other person to fill your tank.
So, how do you fill your own Love tank without the other person?
I want to first clarify the difference between the desire for the pleasure of human companionship. This is where you spend time with another person. You have good conversation or you may have mutual hobbies. You spend time together and it’s a pleasurable experience.
That is different than our deep need to love and be loved. This is a deeper place of knowing our worth and that we matter in our existence. That’s what I’m talking about when I’m talking about your love tank being filled.
The source of the fulfillment of our need to love and be loved is not found in another person. The source comes from Love itself.
God is Love and Love is God.
The source comes from God.
If you haven’t listened to my episode on this subject of God, go listen to that. It’s episode 2 “Who You Are Depends on This”
So where do we go to find the source of Love? Where do we go to find God?
There’s a scripture that says, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) Since God is Love, we can say, “The kingdom of Love is within you.”
The wellspring of life is within you. The faucet was placed inside of you and when you tap into the living waters of Love you will never thirst again for love and fulfillment from someone or something outside of you. When you’re tapped into the source you will be pressed down, shaken together and running over with Love.
So, yes, give and it shall be given to you.
Give love to yourself first by diving inward, and the Ultimate source of Love will spring up inside of you.
Now, let’s go back to the 5 Love Languages.
You’re the one who gives to yourself the quality time by spending quiet time reflecting, reading, drinking your coffee, clearing your mind of negativity.
You’re the one who spends all day giving yourself words of affirmation.
You’re the one who gives yourself whatever gifts you love to receive. Do you love fresh flowers, then go buy yourself some fresh flowers and be super excited about it. Because when your husband comes home and sees how happy you are with the flowers you bought yourself, guess what he’s gonna think to buy when it’s time to buy you a gift.
You’re the one who does acts of service for yourself all day long. Do you like a clean room? Then, clean your room. Do you like a clean and organized closet, then organize your closet, because you are so incredibly loved.
And physical touch? Go get a massage, a blowout, or mani pedi.
In all these things you are tapped into the source. You’re tapped into Love. You’re tapped into God.
It’s these things that you do for yourself all day long to fill your own love tank.
Now when your husband walks through the door you need NOTHING from him. Your cup is so full your love is running over all over on him. He’s now off the hook. And because you’re so full, you’re not waiting for him to give anything.
You now give with no expectations. You love asking for nothing in return.
This is unconditional love.
And if he’s spent his whole day filling his own love tank, then he’s not needing anything from you. Now, you can spend the rest of the day splashing love all over each enjoying each other’s company.
Now, I must offer a warning here. This isn’t going to be easy to change in your life. Just plan on making this a life long commitment and understand that you will be peeling back layers And give your spouse and other’s in your life time to adjust to the changes you make. They’re not always going to track with you at the same speed. That’s ok.
Give them time. Love them. And then you keep growing. They’ll catch up, I promise.
Here’s my challenge to you: Today I want you to open up your awareness and start paying attention to ways you’re looking to other people to fulfill your need to love and be loved. Don’t judge yourself for it. Give yourself lots of grace and kindness. Then, starting today, I want you to beginning looking for way to tap into the source of Love within you through the Five Love Languages.
Here’s the recap: The thing that blocks a relationship from being happy and fulfilling is that It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to fill your love tank, it’s yours. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages. In the book, the 5 love languages are the 5 ways people give and receive love. They are quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch. But the problem with looking to other people to fulfill your love tank is that they can block that from happening every step of the way. The source of the fulfillment of our need to love and be loved is not found in another person. The source comes from Love itself – God. Where do you find God? “The Kingdom of God is within you.” Every day when you first practice the 5 Love Languages with yourself, you’re tapping into the kingdom of love within you. Filling you up from the inside out. And when your cup is full, love will run over onto everyone you meet.