I am not really the type to read pop psycho books on marriage and relationships. I’ve been married for 17 years yet I am still wondering what makes a marriage work and I often wonder how a couple can stay married and happy for 40 + years. But when a friend told me her marriage improved thanks to her new understanding of her husband’s love language, I wanted to know more. That’s when she gave me Gary Chapman’s best-selling book, the 5 Love Languages.
Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor for over 30 years, is convinced that there are 5 basic love languages. Each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak in order for that person to feel loved.
- Words of Affirmation
- Act of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
What does it mean if your primary language is Words of Affirmation? It means that when your lover praises you for your actions or verbally expresses his or her appreciation for what you do or who you are, you feel loved. « Honey, thanks for the great meal» « Wow, you look great in that shirt. » Recognition is important.
If Act of Service is your primary language, then when your spouse prepares a meal, get’s your car cleaned or helps you with chores around the house, you feel loved. There is the old saying «action speaks louder than words » and in your case, it REALLY applies.
Receiving gifts is not about being a materialistic person. According to Gary Chapman, giving gifts is universal, because their is something inside the human psyche that says if you love someone, you will give to him or her.If you're married to someone whose primary love language is gift giving, you will make your spouse feel treasured by giving gifts on anniversaries, holidays and "no occasion" days.You don’t need to give expensive or elaborate gifts; it's the thought that counts.
If you often hear your mate express the desire to do a couple’s activity, take a walk with you or just talk, then most likely, Quality Time is his/her’s primary love language. Feeling that you stopped to give them your undivided attention or that you took the time to plan an activity will make that person feel loved.
The love language of Physical touch can be anything from a hand on your spouse’s shoulder, cuddling on the couch while watching tv, or holding hands while you're walking to kissing, embracing and sexual intercourse. For those whose primary love language is physical touch, these little gestures will mean a lot.
Find yours and your spouse’s primary love language and try it! If you are not sure what your primary love language is, there’s a test at the end of Gary Chapman’s book that can help you figure it out. To be honest with you, this book actually made a difference in my relationship.