Ok, news flash. There is a book that like everyone has heard of called The Five Love Languages. (If this is news to you, I apologize. It’s not news anymore though so, let’s jump in, shall we?)
Last week I talked about doing at home date nights. Recently one of my favorites was pulling out a copy of this book, that yes, we had both read and taken the test of out the back, and retaking the test.
If you had to think of your love language right this minute, would you know what it is? Would you know what it was the last time you took it?
In case you forget, the five categories are: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and gifts.
I can’t remember what mine was when we took it when we got married. I’m going to guess quality time. I am a sit-in-the-same-room-we-don’t-have-to-talk-ok-I’ll-talk-you-listen-or-hey-let’s-watch-TV kind of girl. That’s me. My second is physical touch. I want to hold hands. Kiss. Get a back rub. Have my hair played with. And yes, have sex.
I do remember though that when we got married, my husband told me his was words of affirmation which, thanks to The Respect Dare, I started building an arsenal for. Before that I was like “Hey, you look good in that …. beard… you’ve had every day since I’ve known you. Did you do something different over here by your ear?” I’m as awkward as they come at giving life-giving genuine compliments. I stink at it. So I took to writing letters. I did all of The Respect Dare suggestions. I wrote various notes of encouragement. I did a 31 day prayer activity and wrote him a letter every day. And when I handed my husband all 31 letters, he said “Yea, I know I told you it was words of affirmation, but that doesn’t really speak to me like I thought it would. But thanks for trying. I really appreciate you doing this for me.”
CRUSHED. (I mean he was as gentle as possible while sharing his needs and truth with me. It was hard but important.)
But I’m not one to lie around. I’m a problem solver. So I worked on trying to figure out a better way to speak love to my husband.
Just over a year ago, I attended a local moms’ group meeting on Valentine’s Day. The topic was The Five Love Languages and to split into groups, first we had to go and sit in a group based on our husband’s love language. Out of twenty women in that room, three did not go to physical touch. Three. Every woman in the group for physical touch said something to the effect of “Well, obviously my husband’s love language is physical touch because obviously he prefers to receive love…in that obvious way.”
I proudly (and EXTREMELY incorrectly) went to words of affirmation.
As we went around to each station, I realized that my husband’s might be physical touch because physical touch includes that shoulder-to-shoulder way in which we face the world which is something my husband LOVES. He loves me to just be in the same room as him while he works and I…am there for him. Giving my attention to just him.
I went home and started being more intentional about sharing the same space as him without bugging him – what I was sure would speak love to him. After about two weeks he looked at me and said “I know you have other things to do. I love spending time with you. But I think you’re getting more stressed by not having stuff done. You don’t have to just sit with me, unless you really want.”
Thankful for the reprieve and needing to decompress at the end of the day in a different way, I started thinking again.
All this time, three years of marriage, I just keep doing my thing. Making dinners. Folding clothes. Getting yummies from the grocery store. Cooking his favorite breakfast. Naming sandwiches after him (seriously).
And then, about two months ago, I said, “Hey. I’m really wanting to do The 5 Love Languages assessment again. Let’s do it for date night!”
I asked him the questions for his test. THIS WAS AWESOME. Not only did I get insight on his answers but in a “would you rather situation” I got to see which he’d prefer. Not look at it afterwards. Hear it. See how he weighed it out. Discuss it. It was awesome.
And have you guessed yet what I hadn’t guessed?
Yup, acts of service for the win.
Man, I should have seen that coming!
But what I REALLY didn’t see coming was how mine had changed. Since having two kids and getting a lot less sleep, I receive love more and more by someone else cleaning my kitchen. By someone else getting up with the baby. Through acts of service.
While quality time is still my numero uno, acts of service is now tied for second.
Ok, so why is this good to know?
One, I think it’s important that we acknowledge how we change over the journey. Different stages in your marriage will prompt different love languages to speak more loudly. For example, if your husband is having a hard time at his job, his words of affirmation need may be higher than usual. And if you’ve just added a new baby to the bunch, your need of gifts (like take out for dinner) may have just gone up. Remember that you married a moving target. The sure-fire answer from yesterday may not necessarily be the same answer you need today (but it should give you something to work off of).
Also, I think it’s important to know which way you receive but also which way you communicate love. I give love through acts of service, mostly cooking. That lined up so perfectly with my husband that neither of us really thought of it. But he also gives love through acts of service while I receive it through quality time. On really good days, I know what he’s sending and can “translate it” to know it’s love. On bad days….well it’s not so easy. But I know now on bad days I can ask for him to speak my language for a while instead of his.
And finally I think it’s important to know that each love language involves more than the obvious. Take my story from that moms’ group for example. All of those women thought that they’re husband mostly received love through sex. And while I’m sure he’s a fan, physical touch is about wanting to hold hands, hugging, kissing, and sharing space. If you think you can identify a love language through only one aspect, you may want to look back over the quiz.
That being said, I HIGHLY recommend you buy this book. Buy it new for you as a couple, then keep it. Every year or so (or every life change i.e. job, baby, house, etc) get it out and give the quiz again. You’ll have your answers and you’ll be able to see how you’ve changed (or not) since the last time you did it.
It’ll be a really fun way to keep learning about your husband.
Proverbs 1:5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance
So give it a try this week or this month. Go on, I dare you.
And I’d love to hear in the comments what you learned!
Talk to you soon,
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