It’s nice when you have a sis-in-law who is a fond reader like you. Most of the books that I borrow from my sis-in-law are children, inspirational, and self-help books. I liked all of them, but one book stood out, “The Five Languages of Love”. This changed my ideals about the expression of Love. According to the author Gary Chapman, in his years of experience as a marriage counselor, he observed and concluded that there are five ways of which people express and feel love. These are what he called the “Five Languages of Love”. Applying this had saved many marriages and relationships. My life is not the same after reading this and so I want to share it with you. I’m not an expert on this, but I want to share how it works in my relationship with my husband even before we got married.
Here we go..
Love Language #1: Words of Affirmation
Do you have a spouse or bf/gf who always wants to hear you say “I love you” that they even get upset when you don’t say it? Well, he/she might have the Words of Affirmation as his/her love language. Affirming your partner who has this love language, has such great power. It might not matter or a big deal to you, but it is for him/her.
I remember when my husband and I have just started going out, I shared with him these love languages so he could apply it to his daughter and after that, we identified our own love languages and applied it to each other. We have a long distance relationship but never ever have I felt unloved and insecured even once because he always gives me word of affirmation. Let me give some examples. Some of my insecurities are physical. I don’t like the fact that I have a brown skin. I also don’t like the shape of my body. My husband tells me every day:
“It’s unfair for other women that you are so beautiful”
“I love your dark skin, it’s very attractive”
“I love the shape of your body, don’t skip meals.”
“I love your body, just maintain it.”
“You are mine, beautiful”
“Your skin color is so beautiful throw your whitening products.”
Because he tells me these phrases every day, I’ve learned to accept myself, and it’s funny I am too comfortable with my dark skin now. When he went here to the Philippines, we went to different beaches and islands where we were always soaked in the sun and my skin got really, really dark. My friends and relatives don’t fail to notice and tell me how dark my skin was, but I remained confident and appreciate my skin color more. My husband started telling me “you look more beautiful with dark skin”. Sometimes, when he gives compliments, I say, “No, that’s not true”, “No I’m not beautiful,” but deep down inside I always want him to tell those things. It’s funny one time he asked “Don’t you like telling me you’re beautiful?” and I laughed. The words of affirmation that he gives me every day have a huge impact on me and makes me feel secure with his love, thus, I am always happy.
Love Language #2 : Quality time
Does your spouse complain that you spend all your time playing video games, watching movies or working at home? Please read on.
Some people have mistaken quality time as only spending time together, but without interaction or communication. Quality time means giving your loved one your full attention. Watching television in the living room together is not quality time because your attention is on the movie, not your loved one. You may be spending time together in one room but you don’t give your full attention to each other. You might be reading while your love is on his/her device checking Facebook. That is not quality time. Quality Time is doing things with talking. It is putting away your gadgets, giving each other your full and undivided attention. Take time to walk with your spouse, eat out and talk about what’s going on with your life.
I appreciate how my husband spends quality time with me and his daughter. My husband is sharing custody of his daughter and he gets to be with her every other week. When he has his daughter we don’t talk until his daughter is asleep. He spends all his time with her playing pretend, playing dolls, going to the park, playing twister, biking, and other activities. He gives his undivided attention to his daughter. If he calls me, it means his daughter wants to play or talk to me. We play games over Skype and it’s a wonderful thing. When he was here, he always talks to her every morning. The only time he didn’t talk was when the wifi was not available. When we talk over Skype, sometimes we choose a movie to watch and talk about it after. He reads me stories and even sings songs. When we talk, he gives me his undivided attention. Knowing each other’s love language can do great in a relationship.
Love Language #3 : Receiving Gifts
Don’t judge a person to be materialistic quickly if he/she likes receiving gifts, it might be because it’s his/her love language. It means so much to him/her because it means that you thought of him/her and remembered. For people who have this love language, the gifts are visible symbols of love. It doesn’t matter how much it costs, what’s important is that you thought of him/her. We always say “actions speak louder than words”, in this case, your gift, speaks it. If this is not your love language, you might say “I’m not a giver, I’m not good in giving or selecting gifts.” That’s okay, now that you know it’s your spouse’s love language you will learn the art of giving gifts to make your relationship stronger and secure. Kudos to you! So why don’t you buy a flower or if you want to become lavish, a bouquet of flowers make your spouse smile today? Buy him/her favorite treat after work, I tell you it can make a difference.
This is not the primary language for me and my husband, but he always appreciates me when I’m generous with food, which is very weird for me. I noticed it when we first dined out. We got each other a different menu. He then asked, “Can I have some of your ulam (any dishes to you eat with rice) and I’ll give you some of mine?” It threw me off. I told him, “Honey, you don’t have to ask permission, you can get some of my ulam without even asking.” When we dined out the second time, we again got each other a different menu, he asked me again “Can I have a bite of your burger?” I told him, “You can have the half of it. Whatever is mine is yours”. And guess what, he gave me a half of his burger too. So what I do when we eat out, I give him a portion of mine even before he asks, and I always give him the last spoon or bite. He will always say “So tamis (sweet) mahal” and it always encourages me to be generous when we’re eating.
Love Language #4 Acts of service
Acts of service means expressing your love by doing things for your spouse, especially the things he/she likes you to do for him/her. You are expressing your love by serving your loved one because you want to please him/her. I discovered that this is one of my love languages and not my husband’s it’s sometimes amusing how our primary love languages differ sometimes. One time I told him “I’m gonna wash our clothes and clean our bedroom.” He asked, “do you want me to help?” and I told him I want to do it by myself. Later at night, he told me he felt ignored half of the day because I was busy doing the laundry and cleaning the bedroom. I thought it would make him happy because I was doing it to make him happy, but it was not the case because his primary love language is quality time. It’s funny because the succeeding instances when we have to do the laundry, he told me that we should look for a laundry shop to do it so we can spend more time together. Lol, so we started bringing our dirty clothes to laundry shop since then. Since he knew that it’s one of my primary love languages, he doesn’t complain when I ask him to do something, like getting me a glass of water, go to the store and buy something for me. He pleases me by doing it. I always feel loved when he does something for me.
Love Language #5 Physical Touch
Don’t underestimate the power of physical touch. Physical touch is a powerful way to express your love for your spouse. May it be through snuggling, kissing, embracing, holding hands, caressing and sexual intercourse. If this is your spouse’s primary love language, it’s very crucial that you fill this need, because he/she may feel unloved and insecure. It will be very challenging if this is not your primary language, but if you want a healthy marriage you should make yourself open to learning. Not only to your spouse but with your children also. There is a lot of research that prove that children who receive physical touch like, stroking, kissing, embracing, being held, develop a healthy emotional life than kids who don’t receive such touch. I observed it first hand with my students. When you’re a teacher, you just not teach, you share their lives. A lot of my students who confide to me, tell me that their parents don’t seem to care for them. It always ends up in tears and it breaks my heart. And this is because of lack of words of affirmation and physical touch.
It has been a challenge for me and my husband since we are in a long distance relationship. When he went here, we were always holding each other’s hand even if it was so hot. When we were in a car or jeepney, his hand is either on my shoulder or hand. I like giving him a kiss and a caress in the face. I always like him to rest his head on my chest or stomach when we are watching TV, or just simply resting. We like spooning and snuggling in bed. I miss those times, now that he went back to Canada. And that’s what’s keeping us excited to be with each other again. We make sure our other primary languages are met to make up for this temporarily.
A person can have a combination of primary love languages. For my primary language it’s words of affirmation, physical touch, and acts of service. For my husband, it’s quality time and physical touch.
It can make a huge difference in a relationship if you try to understand and identify how your spouse or child expresses and feel love. It’s our responsibility to fill our husband’s/wife’s “love tank”. Filling our spouses’ need to feel loved can make them fulfill their roles productively and meaningfully. It can be challenging at times for we have different personalities and love languages, but God can help us open ourselves and change our hearts. Start praying.
Thank you to my sis-in-law Ate Avine for lending that book to me.
Now, it’s time for you to identify your top 3 love languages. List them down and describe situations that back them up. You may also include your spouse’s top 3 love languages as well. If you have wordpress, ping it back to me. If you dont have wordpress, please feel free to write them in the comments section. Have fun!