Over the weekend my husband and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary.
Before our big day I was gifted the book “ The 5 Love Languages” by Dr Gary Chapman, which has been a real help to getting through these past six years.
If you’ve not read it, and without spoiling the book, the five love languages are: Words of affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Receving Gifts and Physical Touch.
According to Dr Gary Chapman’s theory every person feels love uniquely in one of these ways. And the way we feel love is usually the way we also show love.
The key to a lasting, loving relationship is to idenfity your spouses love language and speak it more often to fill their emotional love tank. Once their love tank is full, it’s only natural for your spouse to reciprocate.
A quick way to discover your love language, is to think of 5 times over the past year when you felt truly loved up by either your spouse, partner or family member. Is there a common theme throughout them? For example, were they all things that were said to you, were they times someone offered a lending hand and helped out etc? Or ask yourself these questions:
- How do I express my love to others?
- What do I complain about most?
- What do I request most often?
My love languages are gifts and quality time. Gifts is not necessarily a materialistic love language either. I personally thrive on the love, thoughtfulness and effort that went into the gift.
A great gift tells me that I am cared for and that I am prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring me the gift. In our household a missed birthday, anniversary, or a last minute thoughtless gift can lead to disaster.
That being said, gifts really don’t need to be material. The most powerful thing my husband can do for me is give me the gift of presence when I’m in a moment of crisis ( which, seems to happen often). I see his presence as a symbol of love, which is understandable as my other love language is quality time.
If you have a spouse whose love language is gifts here’s my tip:
Keep a gift idea notebook. Every time you hear you spouse say “ I really like that”, write it down. Maybe choose a few gifts that you feel comfortable buying or making and then don’t wait for a special occasion to give them!
My hubby’s love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation.
My gift giving doesn’t have the same impact on him. When I’m out for dinner with friends, I will often bag a little treat to take home with me because I like treating him, and I love surprising him with gifts. While he enjoys those things, he doesn’t’ notice it in the same way as he would if I said “ Thanks so much for doing all of those dishes tonight, I appreciate you so much”, and then gave him a hug. Or if I gave him a shoulder rub while working and told him how much I appreciate the hard work he puts in for our family.
This requires a bit of thought on my part, as I didn’t grow up in a “ touching family”. In fact, I could go weeks without my husband touching me and not think that anything was wrong in our relationship.
And that’s the point.
Speaking your partners love language will probably not come naturally to you Dr Chapman says “ We’re not talking comfort. We’re talking love. Love is something we do for someone else. So often couples love one another but they aren’t connecting. They are sincere but sincerity isn’t enough”.
I’ve learned that cuddling up while watching a movie, or holding his hand as we walk back to the car doesn’t requite any additional time but it communicates my love very clearly to him.
The things I know that make a difference to my husband:
- Making eye contact while he’s talking to me
- Try not to do something at the same time
- Do not interrupt. All that communicates to him is “ I don’t care about what you’re telling me.
- Express my love for him often.
- Hugs, kisses, hand holding and sex are awesome. Do them often.
You can also use this same theory to identify your children’s love language. If you look at your child’s behaviour and observe how they express love to others, it will be a clue as to their own love language. Franklin’s is physical touch.
He is often requesting cuddles and kisses when we do the grocery shopping, or will want to hug and sit on me when we are at home. When he is around other children he likes to hug, cuddle and kiss them. When he is with animals he likes to cuddle them also. Thank goodness this is so easy to do with a toddler, I’m not looking forward to the teenage years when it will be uncool to have a cuddle with mum.
I haven’t delved very deep into the other love languages, but I highly recommend you read this book. To find out your own love language you can take the quiz here
Here’s to more love in the home!