How do you receive love?
What makes you feel loved? Is it when your spouse does the dishes or puts the kids to bed? Maybe you love to hear that you are a great mother or receive flowers even when it’s not Valentine’s Day. Maybe your spouse takes out the trash and mows the grass but you wander why they won’t take you out on a date. Gary Chapman in his book Five Love Languages argues that having a better marriage has less to do with trying to change your spouse and more about becoming a better spouse. He suggests this can easily be done by understanding how your husband or wife receives love. Learning to speak their love language can transform your marriage.
What are the five love languages?
According to Chapman we all have the propensity to show love the way we want love expressed to us through what he terms love languages. The love languages we speak are expressed through words and actions. Our most common actions can be considered our “native” tongue, but if your spouse doesn’t speak the same love languages both individuals can do a lot of work or kind actions but it doesn’t feel like love to their spouse.
Determining your love languages
Before you can understand your spouse it’s best to understand how you receive love. To determine your love language ask yourself how you express love to others, what your greatest complaints are about your spouse and what do you request the most? Let’s delve a bit deeper into the love languages.
Five love languages
1. Words of affirmation
Words of affirmation is the first love language. Spouses who speak this language love to hear unsolicited compliments from their spouse. If your spouse speaks this language they feel loved when you provide kind, thoughtful, encouraging and genuine affirmation and words of love to them. Be especially careful criticizing your mate if this is their love language. Criticism can feel especially cruel to someone who needs words of affirmation to feel love.
2. Quality Time
The second love language is quality time. If your spouse speaks this language they need your full undivided attention. Talking to them with one eye on the television or distracted by your electronic device does not feel like love. They may not need to hear I love you; they need you to spend time with them listening to them. Remember, undivided focused attention is quality time, not proximity.
3. Gift giving
The language of gift giving thrives on getting a gift filled with thoughtfulness, careful consideration and love. Consider someone who speaks the language of gifts could be crushed by a missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift. Small daily gestures are also important.
4. Acts of Service
If you feel most loved when your spouse performs chores for you such as vacuuming, doing the dishes or cleaning out the car most likely your love language is acts of service. If you love to serve your partner by doing actions for them such as cooking a meal, setting a table, washing the dishes, sorting the bills, walking the dog this is also a good clue that this is the language of love you most often speak.
5. Physical Touch
Physical touch has less to do with giving and receiving love through sex and more about how much physical contact you enjoy with your spouse. If you enjoy hugs, holding hands and thoughtful touches there is a strong indication that this may be your love language.
Now that you understand what language you may speak and how your partner receives love it’s time to take action. If they love quality time, plan a special date. If your spouse loves gifts make a commitment to do something special for your spouse each day. Speaking the right language can make your spouse feel loved and can improve the marital relationship.
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