Oh, the honeymoon stage… Love is in the air and passion is felt with every minute spent with your loved one. This stage brings an overwhelming rush of emotions never felt before. It is blissful.
Overtime familiarity begins to tarnish the newness of love. This does not mean there is any less love, but you may begin to feel in a rut. If this sounds like you and your spouse, you may just need to learn their love language to re-spark your connection.
Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of the bestselling series, The 5 Love Languages, which details the theory that people give and receive love differently. This series has spread like wildfire, selling over 10 million copies and being translated into 50 languages. Chapman has been married to his wife, Karolyn, for 45 years and uses their marital success during his presentations on marriage, family, and relationships relative to the 5 love languages.
The ways people can best express their love depends on who they are trying to make happy. Lack of understanding of how someone expresses their love can lead to frustration within a marriage or relationship, making the other partner feel neglected or underappreciated when in reality, they are more loved than they know.
The 5 love languages are as followed…
1. Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation are the act of using “words to build up the other person.” Words of affirmation can be as simple as acknowledging the little things they do every day, such as making your favorite meals for dinner or the way they are able to make your baby smile every time they speak to them. Even a quick text of encouragement or compliment can tell your spouse that you are thinking of them and it will brighten their day.
Next time you are around your spouse take a minute to observe and reflect on the things they do that made you fall in love with them, to begin with. Let them know you love those things by writing a letter, calling them, or talking face to face.
2. Physical Touch
Physical touch expresses an emotional connection. This type of love can be expressed in explicit and implicit ways from back rubs and sex to touching their leg while they drive or leaning on them while you watch a movie. Other examples include hugs, hand holding, and kissing.
Making physical touch a habit will create a renewed intimacy that can serve as constant reminders of the love you have for your spouse. It may also spark a renewed passion in your love life.
3. Acts of Service
Acts of service mean “doing something for your spouse that you know they would like.” For this type of person, actions speak louder than words. If criticism plagues your relationship, take a deeper look into their words to understand the root of the issue. For example, if they complain about the house always being dirty, that may signal that they want action to be taken. If you take a few minutes to clean up before they get home, that small act will show that you have been listening and care about what they say. This will speak volumes.
Demands should not be the basis of this language. Love is not forced; love is a choice. Acts of service are a way to choose to take your time to do something meaningful for the other.
Examples of acts of service include taking out the trash, washing the dishes, driving the kids to school, mowing the lawn, doing the laundry, etc. Any small act can make a big difference. What can you do for your spouse to lighten their load and make them feel loved today?
Giving your spouse a material item or nonmaterial experience that makes them know you were thinking of them is the basis of the gifts love language. Feeling love through receiving gifts is not a materialistic agenda. Instead, people who fall under this love language understand and appreciate the thought and effort behind giving that gift.
Gifts are a sign that you were on the other person’s mind, that they understand what you like, and that you are worthy. For this person, a simple slip of the mind that leads you to forget a birthday or anniversary will communicate a lack of care on your part.
Gift giving does not have to wait for an occasion. Sometimes the unexpected gifts, such as bringing flowers back home after work or grabbing their favorite dessert at the grocery store, will put a smile on their face. This visual presentation of love is an important one to keep in mind.
5. Quality Time
Quality time consists of “giving your spouse undivided attention.” If your spouse seems to be unhappy with how busy life has gotten and how that has gotten in between spending time together, they most likely feel and express love through quality time. Listening to these clues will put you in a position to start shifting your habits to make time for your spouse to rekindle any lost connection that you may have.
Quality time is not just being in each other's presence, it is meaningful connectivity through dedicating one’s full attention to the other. This can include deep conversation that includes sharing experiences and feelings that give insight into their life.
Tips to ensuring time spent together are quality includes not multitasking while they speak, maintaining eye contact, listening to the words they say rather than glossing over and avoiding interrupting them. Active listening is the first step to learning this new language.
If there is a disconnect in your love life, no worries! You cannot read your spouse's mind, but you can take the time to try to understand the meaning behind their actions and how they best express and receive love. Reflect on those discoveries. Ask yourself if your spouse understands how you express love? How can you better give love?
There is a learning curve to love languages, but modifying your actions to appeal to your spouse’s love language will pay off with a greater reciprocation of happiness in your relationship.
The 5 love languages quiz is a quick and comprehensive way to learn what your love language is and the implications behind it. Have your spouse take it too so you can both learn how to best communicate love to each other.
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