Speaking your spouse’s love language
Discover how to fill your spouse’s emotional love tank for a better marriage
You know you love your spouse; there is no doubt about it. However, whether your spouse feels loved is another thing altogether.
Renowned author Gary Chapman has proposed that there are five basic love languages - ways to express love emotionally. Each of us has a primary love language by which we feel most loved, and there is a tendency to similarly express love in that way. However, husbands and wives usually have different primary love languages, and in order to fill each other’s emotional love tank, we need to express love in our spouse’s own love language.
We first need to know what these five love languages are, and identify our own and our spouse’s primary love language. Completing a simple quiz on 5 Love Languages will be the most effective way of doing so. Then, make it a point to speak your spouse’s love language on a daily basis.
People whose love language is words of affirmation want their spouses to tell them that they are special and that they do a good job. You can:
- Look for your spouse’s strengths and tell him how much you appreciate those strengths. Be specific: Don’t just say, “You are a great guy.” Instead say, “Thank you for being so thoughtful helping me with the dishes even when you are tired from a day’s work.”
- Genuinely compliment your spouse in the presence of parents or friends. Even better, compliment him in front of your own children.
- Write a love letter, explaining what you love most about him and how much you appreciate having him in your life.
People with the love language of quality time like it when their spouses do things with them like having long, meaningful conversations, eating dinner together or taking a walk in the park. You can:
- Deliberately set aside time to date your spouse, even if it is just a short meal after the children have gone to bed.
- Make time daily to end the day with the sharing of each other’s feelings and thoughts.
- Give undivided attention and maintain eye contact when speaking with your spouse, ensuring that you are not distracted by your gadgets or work when doing so.
People with the love language of gifts feel good when their spouses give them presents or surprise. You can:
- Surprise your spouse with an item she likes. Remember, the gift does not have to be expensive in order to be special.
- Cook a special meal you know she likes or make her favorite dessert.
- Make a homemade card or buy her favorite flowers, because every item counts.
People with the love language of acts of service like it when their spouses do nice things for them, especially without being asked. You can:
- Do something unexpected for your spouse, like completing the household chores he normally takes care of.
- Look after your children for a day so your spouse can take a break.
- Think of ways to serve someone he loves, like drive his mother to the hospital for her medical check-ups.
People whose love language is physical touch like to receive hugs, kisses, and warm embraces. You can:
- Touch your spouse regularly during the course of the day, like giving her a kiss on her forehead or placing your arm around her shoulder.
- Sit close to her and hold her hand when watching television or catching a movie in the theatre.
- Massage her shoulders when she is feeling tense or upset.
Expressing love in your spouse’s primary love language takes time and effort, but it will be well worth it in the end. When your spouse's love tank begins to fill, there is a good chance that he or she will begin to reciprocate, and your marital relationship will be enhanced.
Used with permission from Focus on the Family Singapore. For more information on family life resources and workshops, visit www.family.org.sg.
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