Summary: There is hope for you if you are having relationship difficulties

There is hope - there is always hope!

* There is hope no matter how bad things seem at the moment.

* There is hope no matter how frustrated you feel.

* There is hope no matter how much pain and heartache you’ve experienced.

* There is hope no matter how strained your relationship has become.

* There is hope even if you feel completely out of sync with your spouse.

* There is hope even if the only words you say to each other are hurtful.

* There is hope even if all you see is the end of a broken love affair.

* There is hope even when divorce seems the only option.

There is hope.

I don't know what kind of relationship issues you are facing this morning. Perhaps you are desparate for a partner, to love and be loved by, perhaps your marriage is stale, cold, or even breaking up. This morning there is hope, because of Jesus

Eph 5:25-28

"Husbands love your wives" - love is a command. I tell you why Paul picks on the husbands later. In practice it's two way!

Love is a command because love is a verb, a doing word as much as it is a feeling.

Feelings come and go. Studies have shown that romantic love lasts 18 months

When people say "I'm just not in love anymore" what they mean is that the feeling of love has gone and the action of love isn't being done.

Steven Covey wrote "Love the feeling is the fruit of love the verb or our loving actions".

If we focus on the doing of love, loving actions, the feelings return and grow stronger. I have seen marriages rescued and turned around as even just one partner commits to the right loving actions.

You may have read some expert's 101 ways to express love to your spouse. Tried two that seemed good to you, tried them and your other half didn't even notice. You give up on the other 99 ways and go back to life as usual.

The trouble is people speak different love languages.

I love languages - find them fascinating. When I go to our international cafe and try to speak with someone who is Polish, I have about five words Hello "Chin Dobry", Tea "Herbata", Thank you "cincoya" and Scaffolding "Rushdavania". Not sure what use scaffolding is, but it's a fun word! The rest of the time its hand signals and odd words. To communicate effectively across that language I'd need to learn that language.

Same with love. Your emotional love language and your spouses may be as different as Hungarian and English. No matter how had you express love in English, if your partner only speaks Hungarian they won't understand a word!

I love holding hands and putting my arm around, but Jan loves acts of service. I'd love to kiss and hold her hand, but she would rather I helped her first! It's important to speak your partners love language.

There's five love languages, five ways people speak and understand emotional love. So when the apostle Paul commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church - he is setting a challenge, an adventure to find ways to love your wife selflessly. That means working out how she feels loved, her love languages and learning how to speak it. The other way too!

You may know what your love language is - the important this is to speak the love language of your other half! When you learn to speak your spouse's love language well, love won't evaporate, but last...

So here they are

1) Words of affirmation

Mark Twain said "I can live for two months on a good compliment" - for him six compliments who keep his emotional love tank full for a year! If that's your spouses love language, they need more than that!

Words of affirmation are compliments, words of appreciation that communicate love.

"You look great today", "Thanks for sorting out that problem, couldn't have done it without you"...

There was a lady who couldn't get her husband to paint the bedroom, despite nagging him constantly. So she was asked well does he do anything good like taking out the rubbish, refuelling the car, mowing the lawn? Yes. Well don't mention painting the bedroom again and compliment him every time he does something good. 3 weeks later it was done!

Words of affirmation is not verbal flattery to get your partner to do something you want. It is doing something for the wellbeing of the one you love. The outflow is a full emotional tank, motivated reciprocation!

Psychologist William James said that possibly the deepest human need is the need to feel appreciated. Words of affirmation will meet that need in many individuals. If you are not a man or woman of words, if it is not your primary love language but you think it may be the love language of your spouse, let me suggest that you keep a notebook titled “Words of Affirmation.” make a list of the good things they do and are and tell them!

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