Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Learning Your Husband's {Love} Language

Oh love languages! What a beautiful,  yet confusing thing they are. 
I am guessing that you fall into one of three camps here. 
1) You know all about love languages and love them (no pun intended). 
2) You have heard of the term love languages but you have no clue what it's all about. 
3) You have no idea what I am talking about. 

The love languages come from the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The idea behind it is that there are five ways that people can experience love. They are: quality time, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Each person has a preferred love language. Some people's are very obvious and other's are much less obvious, but the whole theory is really interesting. If you don't know what your love language is, both you and your spouse can take the quiz here to find out. I would highly recommend both of you doing it! 

Now that you know what it is, let's talk about how to speak your husband's language. 
My husband and I were married for several years before we really learned our love languages and put each other's into practice. Mine is quality time. His is physical touch. When we took the survey, physical touch was by far my absolute lowest. Quality time was pretty low down on his list, but I don't think his lowest. Needless to say, we had not been clicking as well as we could have because we had no idea what kind of love the other person was looking for since it's not what we wanted ourselves. If his language doesn't mean a whole lot to you, then how can you speak it? How can you love him the way that he needs to be loved?! 

After much discussion, I have learned how important it really is. Because touch is not very important at all to me, I couldn't understand how me literally putting my hand on top of his head while we were watching t.v. would make him feel loved. Because that would do nothing for me. Honestly, years later, I still don't exactly get it, but I'm much better at trying to meet that need for him. The most important thing you can do is set aside your own desires here, and figure out what his are. After you've learned what his language is, learn how to speak it. Learn what exactly makes him tick. If his language is gifts, what exactly about gifts makes him feel loved? Does he like receiving gifts spontaneously? Does he want something expensive or thoughtful? Does he feel unloved when he doesn't receive gifts often enough? How about words of affirmation. If words of affirmation are what makes your guy feel loved, are you affirming him enough? Does it make him feel unloved when you don't take the time to affirm him, or only when you actually cut him down? Does he prefer verbal words of affirmation or written? Take the time to ask these questions so you can both really get to know and understand each other's language. 

My husband and I had these conversations up front when we were first learning about love languages, but it also took us probably months to really put them into practice regularly, and actually understand them. Even though I may not understand how physical touch makes him feel loved, I now understand what about it makes him feel loved and what exactly he is looking for there. He understands how important spending quality time together is for me and how I feel really disconnected when we go days without having good one on one time. Throughout those first few weeks and months, we asked each other a lot of questions "in the field". When we would be holding hands on a walk, I would ask him if it made him feel loved. Or if we were watching a movie and I put my head on his shoulder, he made sure to tell me that it made him feel loved. Once we started hearing it and piecing it all together, it became easier and now it is second nature. I know he needs that touch to feel connected, and he knows I need the time to feel connected. 

Another interesting thing about them, is that once you've learned the love languages, you can start to see some of them very obviously in some people. I have a friend who is constantly giving compliments and telling people what she appreciates about them. It would be a safe guess that words of affirmation is probably her love language--she would feel really loved to hear those things, so she is sure to tell other people because she wants them to feel loved. I have a family member who gives really great and thoughtful gifts to other people often. I would venture to guess that receiving gifts is her language, and that she would be elated to receive a thoughtful gift from someone else. They even have love languages for kids! It is really interesting to see how the love languages come out in individual people. 

What is your love language? How about your spouse's? 

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