Did you know that you could be showing love to your spouse in ways they don’t even care about? Knowing the 5 love languages is a marriage game changer!
If you have never heard of the 5 love languages, the basic concept is that everyone has a primary way that they like to receive and also show love to other people.
The five love languages are quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, and acts of service.
Now you might be thinking, “I want my spouse to show me all those things!”
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t work to use all 5 to our advantage, but everyone has a PRIMARY love language.
This is the one love language that will fill our “love tank” the most.
This is also the one love language that when it’s missing, it will drain our “love tank” the most.
So how do you find out what your primary love language is?
I highly recommend that everyone take 10 minutes to do this online test.
Then jump back here for more practical information about what each love language is and how we can show our spouse each love language.
**waiting for you to take the test**
Okay, so what was your primary language?? Or perhaps you are bilingual and have two primary languages.
Let’s jump in to see what these love languages mean!
5 Love Languages: Quality Time
I start with this one only because this is my primary love language.
Surprisingly, this is my husband’s primary love language too!
It’s actually uncommon for you and your spouse to have the same love language, so don’t worry if yours aren’t the same.
Quality time has 2 main dialects: face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder time.
Most of the time when a woman (but some men too!) has quality time as her main love language, her love tank is filled fastest with time spent face to face with someone.
Perhaps this is why women love meeting up at a coffee shop to chat, love sitting on the couch and talking with their spouse, or why we like to walk the beach hand-in-hand with our husband, talking.
Notice that there’s a lot of talking going on here.
Face-to-face quality time means making lots of eye contact and engaging in deep, meaningful conversation.
Most of the time when a man (but some women fall in this category!) has quality time as his primary love language, he is looking for shoulder-to-shoulder time with his companion.
Perhaps this is why men like watching sports together, going fishing or hunting with a friend, or playing video games together.
Notice that there’s NOT a lot of talking going on here.
Shoulder-to-shoulder time is less about talking and more about doing something together he likes and being by his side.
5 Love Languages: Physical Touch
Now before your brain jumps straight to sex, there’s a lot more to this love language!
Physical touch is the wooing and romantic side of a relationship with your spouse.
Think of when you were dating your spouse…how much time did you spend holding hands and snuggling together?
How about making out and the long hugs goodbye before parting ways?
Physical touch is literally the touches and embraces that are used to communicate affection to another person.
In a healthy marriage, this absolutely includes sex, but for most people that have physical touch as a primary love language, it’s also the other things that fill their love tank.
This is also important to remember if you are in a dating relationship.
Just because the person you are dating has physical touch as a primary love language DOES NOT mean that you have to jump into a sexual relationship before marriage.
I personally believe that saving sex until marriage is the BEST thing you can do to ensure that your future spouse’s physical touch love tank will be filled in your marriage.
I find there is no better gift you can give to your spouse on your wedding day than no regrets and no past history in the bedroom, but exploring this aspect of your marriage together.
Then, no one is making comparisons or feeling insecure about living up to someone’s experience with someone else.
If you have had sex with someone who isn’t your spouse, I would first recommend that you make a commitment to yourself and your future spouse that you will wait from this day forward.
Secondly, remember that physical touch has so many other aspects as previously mentioned that can help fill this love tank.
5 Love Languages: Words of Affirmation
Have you ever been encouraged by something someone said to you that built up your self esteem and made you feel good about yourself?
In the other regard, have you ever been cut down by someone’s words or been hurt by gossip you overheard about yourself?
Our words have the power to build up our spouse or tear them down.
Words of affirmation in a marriage are important so you can let your spouse know that you love them, believe in them, and that you are on the same team.
This is also why verbal fights hurt so much in a marriage and can scar our hearts.
For some, they not only want to hear your words of encouragement, but they might also have their love tank filled by your listening skills!
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice before you speak.”
That’s good advice when it comes to discussions with our spouse.
Really try to listen to their heart when they are talking instead of preparing your rebuttal.
Also, do not cut off someone while they are talking!
It’s important to make them feel heard and to show them that you care about what they are saying.
You also need to give the person your undivided attention.
So put the cell phone away!
Don’t answer the phone call that comes in.
Stop folding the laundry.
Take a break from washing dishes.
Try to give the other person your full attention!
5 Love Languages: Gifts
For someone whose primary love language is gifts, this person will feel really loved when you buy or make them something.
Obviously there are the usual occasions where gifts are exchanged such as birthdays and holidays.
But there’s so much more than buying a gift for someone’s birthday!
This person might also really enjoy small every day surprises that shows them you were thinking of them.
They also might enjoy occasional large surprises such as a weekend getaway.
Now don’t think that you can just go buy anything and your spouse will fall head over heels for you.
It’s important that the gift shows that you know their preferences and “favorites” by what you choose.
Ask your spouse what types of gifts they enjoy.
Make sure you take the time to understand if this person likes store bought or homemade gifts better.
Study your spouse’s response to the gifts that you give.
Learn what your spouse likes!
The important thing to understand is what types of gifts will help fill this love tank so that you don’t spend time, effort, or money on something that won’t fill this love tank!
5 Love Languages: Acts of Service
If this is your spouse’s primary love language, get ready to roll up your sleeves and do some work around the house!
As with all of the love languages, it’s important to understand if there are certain acts of service that will fill their love tank more than others.
Maximize your time and effort on doing the things that will have the biggest impact!
A good first step is to see if there are house chores that your spouse dislikes the MOST. If you do one of these for them, it will probably fill their love tank even more.
I also think it fills their love tank even more if they know that you are doing something for them that you don’t like doing!
Why the 5 Love Languages Matter
So hopefully by now you know your primary love language, and it would be really helpful to also know your spouse’s primary love language too.
By knowing each other’s primary love language, you can most effectively know how to show your spouse love and also make sure that you are filling up their love tank in all five areas.
My husband and I frequently do the 5 love languages check-in as part of our marriage maintenance plan!
Because we tend to default to giving love in our primary love language, make sure you are trying to break that habit and show your spouse love in their primary language.
For some of us, that’s really easy because we share the same primary love language with our spouse (like us!).
But for some of you, your spouse’s primary love language might be your lowest ranked love language.
This is going to require you to work a bit harder to make sure you are filling that love tank.
But don’t despair because there are plenty of ideas out there!
Check out the love language inventory to help you get started!