After owning the book for a couple of years, my husband and I have finally completed The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. Nothing catastrophic happened in our three years of marriage that prompted our desire to read this widely popular book, but after hearing how it can provide insight on your spouse’s needs, we decided to check it out for ourselves.
Before reading the book, I was pretty confident that I had already known my love language. It turns out that I was right; however, after taking the quiz, I discovered that I have two additional love languages.
Learning your spouse’s love language is easy, but implementing it into your relationship can be quite a journey. It has definitely been an interesting ride that we both are still trying to figure out. But here are a few things I took away about each of the languages when it comes to ways to speak them for your partner in the hopes of enhancing your relationship.
Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation are words of appreciation and encouragement given to your partner. Psychologist Terri Orbuch, Ph.D, said, “Affective affirmation is letting your partner know that they’re special, valued and you don’t take them for granted.”
An example of this is saying simple statements like “I love you” or “You’re my best friend.”
Orbuch suggested saying something affirming to your partner or doing something encouraging for them daily.
In his book, Chapman defines quality time as “giving someone your undivided attention.” Quality time can consist of taking a walk together, going out to eat, or even spending a night in together.
Dr. Meredith Hansen, Psy.D believes that consistent quality time will make a big impact on a marriage. “There are simple ways you can begin carving out quality relationship time in your everyday life,” she said.
To increase it, Hansen suggested blocking out time for your marriage at least once per month, creating a daily or weekly ritual that becomes your time together, or by turning off your devices when you come together at least one night per week to focus on one another.
All five love languages challenge us to give to our spouse, but receiving gifts speaks the loudest.
“A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, ‘Look, he was thinking of me,’ or, ‘She remembered me.’ You must be thinking of someone to give him or her a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought,” Chapman said.
Although you can always buy your spouse a gift, it’s the thoughtfulness and intention behind the gesture that make it special.
Acts of Service
The person who has this love language would be elated to have their spouse do tasks for them. However, simply doing chores isn’t the only way to supply your spouse’s needs.
Acts of service can involve pampering your spouse or serving him or her by setting your partner up with the remote, a drink and a magazine after a long day of work.
Try to make serving your partner a habit (if this is their language) and make sure you’re cheerful when helping. No one wants someone to appear as though they’re doing something out only out of obligation.
“Physical touch is also a powerful vehicle for communicating marital love,” Chapman said. “Holding hands, kissing, embracing and sexual intercourse are all ways of communicating emotional love to one’s spouse.”
He mentioned that love touches don’t require a lot. In fact, sitting close to your spouse on the couch while watching television could communicate your love as well as touching your spouse as you walk by, which only takes a moment.
If you want to learn about your love language, click here for a free quiz.