March 8th, 2015
I love it when people in the community come together to promote healthy relationships, and healthy marriages in particular. Enriching marriages and doing proactive work is my passion. That is why I was glad to be asked to speak about The Five Love Languages tonight, at The Love Dare Challenge. It is a great night out for couples to have fun with each other and compete with other like-minded couples. Feel free to check out the website below.
The Five Love Languages, a popular book written by Gary Chapman, is one that I often recommend to my couples. It helps couples to understand ways to express love to each other that are meaningful to the other person. What one person finds as loving and helpful may not be what another person needs in order to feel loved. For example, if a husband buys his wife a dozen roses to express his love for her, she may have actually felt more loved if he cleaned out the garage – if her love language was Acts of Service and was not Receiving Gifts.
Gary Chapman also refers to the “Love Tank” in his book. When your love tank is full, your needs are fulfilled and you feel loved and appreciated. In order to fill your spouse’s love tank, it is important to know how. The best way to do this is to understand their love language. When I ask my couples to read this book, I always give a warning. I tell them that learning their partner’s love language is important, but you don’t necessarily have to only focus on their primary language while ignoring the rest. For many people, they have multiple love languages, especially depending on the circumstance. For example, maybe her primary love language is quality time, but for her birthday, she not only wants to spend time together, but also really appreciates a nice thoughtful gift. I think it is good to use a balance of all the love languages, but certainly to focus and spend most of your energy on their primary love language.
So what is your love language? You can take the on-line questionnaire here:
There is also a free study guide you can download here:
The five languages of love are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.
Words of Affirmation are compliments, encouraging words, or words of appreciation given to the other person. If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, a great way to show this is to start a journal, and keep it open on the dresser so the other person can see it. Every day, write something that you appreciate about them, and tell them the same. When the journal is filled, they can refer to it whenever they wish.
Quality Time is spending uninterrupted, fully focussed time together. I always recommend a minimum of 20 minutes to talk daily, a weekly date night, and an annual getaway to my couples, regardless of their love language. This undistracted time alone together is so critical to maintaining a healthy relationship. It gives you an opportunity to catch up with each other and communicate, and also create memories together.
Receiving Gifts is giving your partner thoughtful, considerate gifts. Gifts can be physical and tangible, or they can be giving of your self and your time. If your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, don’t wait until an anniversary or Valentine’s Day to surprise them with a little something special.
Acts of Service is doing something special for the other person, or helping the other person out by doing a chore or task. For those whose love language is acts of service, actions speak louder than words. Going back to the example of cleaning the garage I mentioned earlier, if the wife has complained about the state of the garage for months, then getting it cleaned and organized would mean the world to her. People tend to complain or criticize most where they have the deepest emotional need.
Physical Touch is a powerful way to communicate love. It does not necessarily mean only sex. It also means holding hands, kissing, playing footsies, hugging, and back rubs. At the end of my sessions with clients, I often have them face each other and hold hands, and then ask them to give each other verbal reassurances.
Enjoy and show each other how much you care!