Do you speak your spouse's love language, or.... do you speak alien? Do you know your own love language, AND do you accurately convey in specific terms what and how your spouse can love you so your love language is fulfilled?
This article is about Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages, how to use them (and Not use them) in your marriage or long-term relationship, and the #1 mistake people make when trying to use the languages to benefit their relationship.
There is a big difference between how your spouse feels loved by you and how you THINK your spouse feels loved by you. We tend to do for others what we need ourselves, but it isn't always what THEY need. This is the #1 mistake people make when trying to use the 5 Love Languages in their relationship - people love their partner in ways they, themselves, need to be loved. People assume that if it feels good to and is appreciated by them, their spouse will appreciate it as well --and that's not always the case. You may appreciate kind acts of service and wonder why your spouse doesn't respond well (or with appreciation) when you constantly perform acts of service for them (they may actually need Physical Affection or Quality Time instead). You wonder what's wrong with them and how they can be so unappreciative... really, the problem is: YOU are not speaking THEIR primary love language.
What is your spouse's love language? Is it physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, or acts of service? Have you ASKED your spouse how they feel loved and what they need, or do you assume you know? Did you know a person's primary language can change several times throughout life? If you haven't asked your spouse lately, maybe it's time to ask again. Do a checkup on yourself as well. Ask what you can do to make them feel loved and then fulfill. Same goes for children!
The 5 Love Languages are: Quality Time, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Gifts, and Words of Affirmation. People usually have one or two primary love languages that are more important than the others. A few, rare people have an equal balance between a few or all 5 languages. For a deep dive into the love languages, please visit the website HERE. But for now, I'll give a brief overview of the languages...
For people whose primary love language is Quality Time, they need a great amount of QT with those they love in order to feel loved, appreciated, fulfilled, and significant. Without QT, they will be left to feel the opposite: unloved, under appreciated, unfulfilled, and insignificant. They will feel empty and slowly die inside.
How to love them: Set aside at least 1 full hour of your day to spend time with them - undivided attention. The activity during your QT can vary depending on both of your interests. For some, it may be curling up to a good movie, tv, or reading, and for others, it may be an active outing, date night, etc.
For individuals whose primary love language is Physical Touch, they value affection over all other forms of love expression. They need a LOT of physical touch to feel loved, appreciated, significant, and safe in the relationship.
How to love them: a 10 second warm embrace at least once daily, a 10 second passionate kiss at least once daily, hold hands as often as you can, cuddle often, give them a head/foot/back rub, walk arm in arm everywhere you go. Every chance you get to touch them, do.
ACTS OF SERVICE
For people whose primary love language is Acts of Service, they appreciate and need you to perform kind acts of service OFTEN in order to feel loved. Without receiving acts of service from you, they will feel neglected and unloved.
How to love them: Wash their car, do their chores, make their favorite meal, bake them goodies, run errands for them, tend to the children so they have a break, or do any service they normally do that will give them a break.
Individuals requiring Gifts to feel loved and appreciated are NOT materialistic. Some people simply feel loved when they receive little gifts because it tells them that someone is thinking of them and happy to take time to pick out something to give them.
How to love them: Give them their favorite candy, flowers, donuts, jewelry, home/hand made anything, have something delivered to them during the day at work/home, or hand-picked wild flowers from the side of the road. Gifts don't always have to be expensive. It's the thought that counts.
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
People who value Words of Affirmation in order to feel loved, need to hear and/or read loving and appreciative words as often as possible. They need to hear "I love you" constantly.
How to love them: write them love letters, give them a card (just be sure to add your own words/writing to it), give verbal compliments daily, leave love notes in unsuspected places, tell them how much you appreciate them, give them a 'job well done', and say/write as much as you can to allow them to feel loved, appreciated, and to build them up.
There is an available quiz to learn your love language HERE. But in addition to taking the test, I recommend you and your partner do the following exercise together...
List the love languages in order of importance with your primary language being #1, and go down to #5 being the least important to you. Then for each of the languages, list 5 very specific things your partner can do to make you feel loved in each of the 5 languages. Swap lists and keep that list in your wallet. On days when you're tired or feeling less than creative, pull that list out and ACT - do the things listed for them!
I'd like to add one more nugget that's not part of the official 5 Love Languages.... it's being heard and understood. For some people, being heard and feeling understood IS being loved. Regardless of anyone's love language, being heard and understood is vital to healthy communication, connection, and respect. Everyone needs to be heard and feel understood. Without this, disconnection occurs, communication suffers, trust dwindles, and you'll end up sad and in a lifeless marriage. Listen to your spouse with heartfelt understanding, compassion, and without judgement. Saddle up beside them and allow them to feel that you are their biggest cheerleader, that you're fighting right there beside them and for them, not against them. LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND, NOT TO RESPOND. Add this to your spouse's love language, and watch your marriage soar to success!
Lastly, a process that is more powerful, but compliments, the Love Languages, is understanding the 6 Human Needs. Learn healthy ways to satisfy your needs, your spouse's needs, and then witness yourselves change, your marriage passion will go through the roof, and every area of your life will improve. You can learn about the 6 Human Needs HERE.
Until next time,