“We must be willing to learn our spouse’s primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love.” –Gary Chapman, Ph.D.
Have you ever wondered why you and your spouse aren’t feeling the love anymore?
Gary Chapman may have the answer to your question. He explains it all in detail in his book “The Five Love Languages – How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.” In the book Chapman says, “My conclusion after twenty years of marriage counseling is that there are basically five emotional love languages – five ways that people speak and understand emotional love.” He goes on to say that seldom does a husband and wife have the same primary emotional love language, and in order to be effective communicators of love, we must be willing to learn our spouse’s primary love language.
In short, here’s how Gary Chapman describes the Five Love Languages:
#1 — Words of Affirmation: Giving verbal compliments, encouraging words, using kind words expressed in a tender and kind tone of voice; love makes requests, not demands.
#2 — Quality Time: Giving someone your undivided attention — this does not mean sitting on the couch watching television together. Spend time with your spouse doing things that you know your spouse would like you to do with him/her. Engage in quality conversation — sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly uninterrupted context. If I’m sharing my love for you by means of quality time and we are going to spend that time in conversation, it means I will focus on drawing you out, listening sympathetically to what you have to say. I will ask questions, not in a badgering manner but with a genuine desire to understand your thoughts, feelings, and desires. If your spouse’s primary love language is quality time, such dialogue is crucial to his or her emotional sense of being loved.
#3 — Receiving Gifts: Gifts are visual symbols of love. The gift of self or the gift of presence speaks loudly in times of crisis. Visual symbols of love are more important to some than to others. Gifts can be purchased, found or made. Without gifts as visual symbols, I may question your love.
#4 — Acts of Service: Doing things you know your spouse would like you to do. You seek to please him or her by serving him/her, to express your love for him/her by doing things for him/her. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love. Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.
#5 — Physical Touch: Is also a powerful vehicle for communicating marital love. Holding hands, kissing, embracing, and sexual intercourse are all ways of communicating emotional love to one’s spouse. For some individuals, physical touch is their primary love language. Without it, they feel unloved. With it, their emotional tank is filled, and they feel secure in the love of their spouse.
Chapman also says:
“What we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage. Before marriage, we are carried along by the force of the in-love obsession. After marriage, we revert to being the people we were before we “fell in love.” Our actions are influenced by the model of our parents, our own personality, our perceptions of love, our emotions, needs, and desires. Only one thing is certain about our behavior: it will not be the same behavior we exhibited when we were caught up being ‘in love.’”
“I am convinced that keeping the emotional love tank full is as important to a marriage as maintaining the proper oil level in an automobile. Running your marriage on an empty “love tank” may cost you even more than trying to drive your car without oil.”
“When your spouse’s emotional love tank is full and he feels secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your spouse will move out to reach his highest potential in life. But when the love tank is empty and he feels used but not loved, the whole world looks dark and he will likely never reach his potential for good in the world.”