Ask any marriage expert and they’ll tell you that communication is the key to a lasting relationship. And while most of us love our spouses and won’t think of changing them for the world, don’t we sometimes wish we could read their minds (and vice versa), just to see what makes them tick when the going gets tough?
Try applying the concept of love languages and you’ll remove the guess work. Marriage therapist and author Dr Gary Chapman coined this term coined as he believes that everyone expresses and feels love differently.
When he came up with the Five Love Languages, he noted that if couples find out what each other’s primary love language is, they will understand what their partners want from the relationship. In turn, they will be able to express their love in a more meaningful way.
If quality time is your spouse’s main love language, the most important thing is to give your full, undivided attention. That means no computers, no mobile phones and no other distractions.
Love Language 1: Words of Affirmation
People who prefer the language of words of affirmation language are all for expressing affection through the spoken word. Your spouse will most likely want to hear terms of endearment, compliments and encouraging words.
So, plan a cosy dinner, followed by a stroll through a park. Focus on saying words like “I love you”, “You are beautiful” and “I’m so proud of you” and of course, most importantly make sure you mean it.
No-go area: Bear in mind that your significant other will take insulting or negative words to heart and not forget them easily, so try to keep them out of your vocabulary.
Love Language 2: Quality Time
If this is your spouse’s main love language, the most important thing is to give your full, undivided attention. That means no computers, no mobile phones and no other distractions.
A date night could simply be both of you getting cosy on a couch, just sharing and focusing on each other. Make sure the television isn’t switched on and your mobile phone is kept far away.
No-go area: One sure way to upset your spouse is to cancel or postpone a date, or when your mind starts drifting off when he or she is talking.
Love Language 3: Receiving Gifts
Some people feel most loved when they receive a tangible gift, yet, this love language is not about materialism. Any small gift will make them feel appreciated as it’s really the thought that counts.
Surprise your spouse with a can-t-go-wrong gifts of flowers and chocolates. Better still, if you surprise your spouse with a gift of a favourite makeup product or magazine subscription, as it shows you have made the effort to select a meaningful present.
No-go area: Make sure not to forget birthdays and anniversaries and never ever let your partner know that you put together your gift at the last minute.
Love Language 4: Acts of Service
Those who prefer this language want to see action rather than to hear words as their partner’s way of showing love and affection. So, there is plenty you can do around the house ― such as sweep the floor, empty the rubbish, mind the baby and walk the dog. Score bonus points if you tackle a chore your partner hates to do.
While we tend to favour one language more than the rest, there is a little of the other traits in us as well.
Surprise your spouse by cooking a fancy three-course dinner and doing the washing up after. And as your spouse relaxes after a great meal, offer to give an indulgent massage to ease any aching shoulders after a long week at work.
No-go area: The quickest way to lose favour with people who thrive on this language is to break promises constantly or create more work for them to do. You have been warned.
Love Language 5: Physical Touch
It can be sex or simply just holding hands. For people whom this love language applies to, any kind of physical touch represents an affirmation of affection.
So, go all out and envelope your spouse with hugs, kisses, snuggles and a good make-out session. Being physical makes him or her feel loved and safe.
No-go area: The deal breaker? Any form of physical abuse.
Homemaker Elaine Lim, 35, had never heard of the Five Love Languages and took the quiz for the first time. She got her hubby to do the same and says the results finally shed light on why they would argue over the same issues over and over. Her primary love language is Acts of Service while his is Receiving Gifts. They both share a common secondary language ― Quality Time.
“So, here I was expecting him to lend a hand more often at home and there he was constantly giving me what I thought were inane gifts”, she said.
The Five Love Languages may not be the answer to every problem a couple faces. But Lim plans on using that knowledge to work through what she feels are communication gaps between her and hubby. For a start, now that she knows what turns her hubby on, he can expect a nice big Valentine’s Day present from his favourite toy shop this year!
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