Practical Ways to Speak Your Spouse's Love Language
Love Languages. A term started by Dr. Gary Chapman, that speaks to the way someone feels loved. Dr. Chapman broke down the way couples feel loved into five categories: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. Aaron and I have taken the 5 Love Languages test a handful of times throughout our relationship. We were surprised to notice that over time, our love languages have shifted slightly due to our environment and the stress we are experiencing at the time.
While there have been slight changes in our love languages, our primary love language typically has stayed one that we value most. For Aaron, his love languages are quality time and acts of service. Both have always been high scoring languages for him, but sometimes one scores higher than the other. For me, my love languages are physical touch and receiving gifts.
Typically, I feel most comfortable showing and receiving love in my own love languages. The same goes for Aaron. It is because we feel loved that way and want our spouse to show us love that way. I have found that when I look for how Aaron is showing love, the majority of the time it is through acts of service and quality time, because that is how he feels loved. You do what you know. He has also taken the time to learn my love languages and finds ways to incorporate them into his daily routines.
I wanted to provide a guide on some practical ways to incorporate your spouse's love languages into your daily routine. Below, you will see several little things you can do that will cause rippling affects in your marriage. I guarantee that if you start speaking your spouse's love language in little ways, it will become a habit and will positively impact your marriage.
Words of Affirmation: This is where your words are louder than your actions. Unsolicited compliments, a surprise text message during the day, a little post-it note on the bathroom mirror, verbally expressing your love and admiration for your spouse fills them up and can completely shift their mood. Ways to speak their love language are writing down the things you love and admire about them, and then tell your spouse. "Babe, I love the way you show patience with our daughter at bed time." "The way you cooked dinner tonight was amazing, you are a great chef." "You look handsome in that shirt." "You are sexy." Your words are life-giving and empowering. Leave notes for your spouse to find. Send a random text during the day. Look your spouse in the eyes and share.
Acts of Service: Your actions speak louder than words here! Showing them you love them goes father than saying you love them. Do one of the house hold chores your spouse normally does, but doesn't enjoy. Open the door for them. Let them have the last bite of dessert. Cook your spouse dinner. Run an errand for your spouse. Fill up their car's gas tank. Little acts will show them that they are loved. Start small and pay attention to how they respond, build off of the things that make the biggest impact. For Aaron, I empty our cats' litter box and I vacuum. I will offer to cook and clean the dishes for dinner. Going out of your way to help ease their day goes a long way.
Receiving Gifts: Thoughtfulness above cost. Ask any one who's love language is receiving gifts and they will say it is the meaning and the thought behind the gift that matters most. By giving a gift, it shows that you were thinking of them and that the thing you picked out reminded them of you. My husband will bring me flowers. Sometimes it is in the form of bouquets other times it is in the form of potted succulents and flowers for our patio. I absolutely love coming home to find that he thought of me during his day and chose to show it by picking up a surprise. Your gift does not have to be expensive or even that elaborate. Great gift ideas are crafted around the person, it shows the person that they are more valuable than the sacrifice you made to give them the gift. Gifts I have loved receiving are pens, journals, flowers, a necklace, a cute top, but it is the why behind it that makes it meaningful.
Quality Time: Just sit with me and be. For those who's primary love language is quality time, it doesn't matter the quantity as much as how the time spent together is used. Stay off your phone, and avoid distractions. I think in our digital society, one of the loudest ways to speak this love language is to set down the phones and be present. Ways to do this are, find a good two person game to play, go for a walk, cuddle up on the couch, taking the time to fully listen to your spouse and respond thoughtfully goes a long way. Offer to run errands with your spouse, or cancel your plans and spend a day together where nothing has to get done. Finding ways to give your undivided attention speaks volumes to your spouse.
Physical Touch: I think this is often misunderstood. When most people hear physical touch more often than not, their mind goes to sex. Which, don't get me wrong, sex is important, but it is not just about sex. Physical touch brings a sense of belonging and fosters security within the relationship. When Aaron reaches for my hand whether we are driving or walking through Ralph's together, my heart flutters. Taking the time to touch your spouse cultivates belonging. Here are some ways to show love through physical touch without sexualizing it: put your arm around your spouse while you watch TV in the evenings, when you walk into a room, give your spouse a hug, when you are walking next to your spouse hold their hand, or rubbing your spouses feet.
What if your spouse's love language is at the bottom of your list?
Guess what! My top - physical touch - is Aaron's lowest scoring love language. His top - acts of service, is my lowest scoring love language. Uh-oh, did I just admit that? What happens when your spouse's love language is one you don't fully understand? Are Aaron and I allow in this? Absolutely not. And neither are you and your spouse. It is very unlikely that you and your spouse will have the exact same primary and secondary love languages, so if you are like Aaron and I, you are going to have to be intentional about learning your spouse's love language and learning how to speak it.
I try to be intentional with finding one way each week to speak Aaron's love languages. At first, I felt lost, how do I begin to understand a love language that I don't have as a primary or even secondary love language? Well, to start, I would watch him. I would look for ways he expressed loved and would mimic them back to him. When he took out the trash, I would replace the bag with a clean one. When he would put down his phone and strike up a conversation, I would turn my phone off too.
I didn't expect him to learn my love languages, or start reciprocating back. Instead, I started to study him and what he responded too, just like I did when we were dating. I took the time to learn about him, learn what he responded too. I noticed his least favorite chores are cleaning the toilets, vacuuming and doing laundry. So, I take care of those chores as often as I can. In return, I have found that Aaron has learned how to speak my love languages and actively tries to do so. He rubs my back every single night. I didn't start speaking his love languages with the expectation that he would speak mine back, I did it, because I wanted him to know that I love him and want to meet his needs on a deep level.
I want to encourage you to take the time to figure out what your love languages are and to ask your spouse to do the same. Then without any expectations or strings attached, start speaking their love languages in small ways. I would love to hear how this impacts your relationship!
Please feel free to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and share with me if this ways helpful or how it has impacted your relationship.
This post is not sponsored by Dr. Gary Chapman or the 5 Love Languages in any way, shape or form. I am passionate about having a healthy and happy marriage and believe that all of us deserve to have an exceptional marriage. For more information about the 5 Love Languages and the resources Dr. Gary Chapman provides, please visit: www.5lovelanguages.com.