I am married to an amazing guy. He brings me coffee in bed every morning. He washes and gases my car once a week. He even does his own laundry. I have never so much as picked up a sock after him. You are probably thinking I am one lucky wife, and yes I am! Would it surprise you if I told you, those things are all very nice and I appreciate them, but they don’t speak love to me.
According to Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages, inside everyone of us is an emotional love tank. Gary has identified five love languages that we tend to use to communicate love to those closest to us. We usually will give love in the same way we like to receive love. What fills your love tank, may be very different from what fills your spouse’s. The five love languages he identifies are: Acts of Service, Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time and Physical Touch.
It’s no surprise that my husband’s primary love language is Acts of Service. He likes to give and receive love by serving. My primary love languages is Words of Affirmation. So although I find his Acts of Service nice, what I really crave is affirming words.
The other day I was running late for dinner, and I knew Ed was starving. I texted him to let him know I was running late. I fully expected him to respond that he was going to go ahead and eat without me. Instead he wrote back, “You are worth waiting for.” It melted my heart to think that after 37 years of marriage, he still thinks I’m worth waiting for. My love tank was overflowing.
It is easy and natural for me to give affirming encouragement to my husband. However, he is so on top of things, I can seldom find things to do for him. He even beats me to my own chores half the time (once again showing his love for me). I was starting to feel a little frustrated. Then I realized, sometimes the best solution is just to ask. So I requested Ed to complete the sentence, “I feel most loved when…”
It is fun to be creative and come up with surprising ways to show love, but it is also nice to have clear instructions on how to best communicate love to your spouse in a way that is most meaningful to them. Otherwise we might think we are showing them how much we love them with actions they interpret as nice, while they are craving to be loved in their primary love language. If you want to discover what love languages you and your spouse primarily speak in, you can take the Love Languages assessment for free online.
If after learning your spouse’s love language you have difficulty coming up with ideas on how to speak fluently in their language, the best solution is simply just to ask.