Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Trading Stamps and Love Languages

I was talking to my daughter about her pre-marriage counseling. I'm so glad couples still do that. It took me back to my own time or counseling with our pastor. Then, there was a popular Christian book with the words "trading stamps" in the title. Now, some of you may not know what these are. We used to get green stamps when we made purchases. We took them home and licked them into little books. When the book was full, you "traded" it for a gift from an outlet. We never redeemed our books for anything I wanted, but it was fun seeing my parents so happy to be giving their unwanted stamps and getting something useful back.

Now the trading stamps mentioned in the book goes like this. When your spouse does something "bad," you stick a few trading stamps in the book. It wouldn't be nice to yell at him for that one thing. The next time he bugs you, you put in a few more stamps. When the book is full and your temper is over the top, you throw the book at him and let him have it. That's the way not to do it. No, if your spouse does something to grieve you, tell him gently while it is on your mind. If you can't do that, determine to tear it up in your mind and never bring it up again. No collecting stamps. At least that's the way the lesson goes.

My daughter was using a different theme: love languages. There are several: touch, doing special things, gifts, extra time, saying nice things, and others. She was telling me it's important to reach your husband with his own love language. Let's say you love to be held and touched, but your husband loves to have you spend lots of time with him. Then extra loving touches won't make him feel special. You need to quit reading and just be there. And what if you do all of that and your husband doesn't do the thing you need? You just do it anyway. Perhaps if you asked, he might. He might not know how important it is to you. Or he could forget and need to be reminded. Or, maybe he just can't seem to do it. Some kinds of love language are harder for one person than for another. Don't know your spouse's language? Ask or think deeply about it.

One thing I know. If just one person throws away the trading stamps and uses the correct language, the marriage has a huge chance of success. I am sorry for the times I have failed in any of these areas. This is the one place, more than any other, where I want to get it right.

Here's hoping you get spoken to in your special language today.


  1. I've read the Love Languages book--great stuff! But I've not seen the Trading Stamps one. How many times I've thrown the book at my Honey, then grieved that I'd been saving stamps instead of speaking his language. I pray the Holy Spirit will help me grow; we are never too old to change.

    Love this post! I needed it, Nancy. Thank you,

  2. I need it too, Jen. I usually preach to myself.

  3. I have the Love Languages book very good! Also, His Needs, her needs, can't remember the author. I wish I actually had these books before I got married, but better late than never. :O)

  4. Diane - I agree with you and Jeanette both. We can always learn something new and useful for our marriages.

  5. Hi Nancy -

    My late husband and I went through Boundaries in Marriage. We also read the Love Languages book. I'm so grateful we have so many excellent resources.

    Susan :)

  6. Susan - I'm so very grateful for them, too.

  7. I'm a huge believer in the Love Languages theory/book. Ben and I love in very different ways, but remembering to shower the other person in THEIR love language keeps our passion for one another fierce and forever.

  8. Rebekah -I'm glad I heard about this from you and Dawn. I think it is great and very helpful.

  9. Those little green stamps sound fun. Couldn't you get dishes and such with them?

    I own Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages, and it's wonderful. So helpful in marriage!

  10. Hi Jill. That's right. You mostly got household items with the stamps and it was always a ball to cash them in.