When Zach and I were only a few weeks into dating one another I remember one day him very clearly asking me: what is your love language?
Looking back on this moment, it’s really incredible to see how God transformed our relationship by Zach asking me this one simple question all those years ago. We had only recently started dating and with that came learning more and more about one another each day. And with each new day of dating it seemed that even though Zach tried to pursue me and love me well through buying me flowers or sending me sweet text messages, I didn’t feel as if my love tank was being filled all the way up.
Have you ever experienced that same thing with your spouse?
Have you ever struggled with loving and caring for your spouse to the best of your ability but it seems like you’re just not quite getting it right?
Wives, have you ever wondered why your husband wants you to stop folding laundry to watch a movie? Husbands, have you ever witnessed your wife being filled with joy over you doing something as simple as washing the dishes?
The beauty is that it no longer has to be a mystery. It’s honestly as simple as knowing your spouses love language.
Gary Chapman is the first person to develop the concept of having a love language and he broke down expressing love and receiving love into 5 categories:
The 5 Love Languages:
l. Words of Affirmation – this is using words to build up and affirm another person. Examples would be, ‘Thank you so much for taking out the garbage, I appreciate you for that’ or even as simple as ‘I’m so proud of you.’
2. Receiving Gifts – this is showing your spouse you love them by giving them sentimental or paid for gifts. Examples would be buying your spouse that new pair of shoes they’ve been eyeing or bringing home flowers to show her you were thinking of her.
3. Acts of Service – this is doing physical actions for your spouse to show them that you love them. Examples would include doing laundry, washing dishes, or running errands.
4. Quality Time – this is spending undivided attention and time with your spouse by either being present to watch a movie or go for a walk to talk or eating dinner together.
5. Physical Touch – this is the act of physically loving your spouse by kissing, holding hands, or physical intimacy.
All those years ago when Zach first asked me my love language I had no idea what mine was – I had never been asked before. So, we popped out our phones and each took the online quiz to find out. Once I completed my quiz the definitive result was that my love language is Acts of Service.
The best expression of love someone can show me is by helping bear my physical burdens of work and serving me. Actions such as cleaning the house, washing the dishes, and making the bed are what make me feel understood and cared for. But it’s not just the action, it’s also the intention behind the act. The person needs to be willing and joyful, not begrudging or complaining while they serve.
Once I learned more about my love language of Acts of Service, the more my life and relationship with Zach made sense.
It’s why growing up when I would be stressed with tests and my mom would make me dinner, I felt so overcome with gratitude. Or when my dad would take the time fill up my gas tank for me, I would feel a sense of relief. And now, if Zach washes the dishes for me after a long day, I feel I can relax and have peace of mind. Zach has learned and recognizes the importance of loving me through my love language. That if I want to feel loved and secure, he needs to do things for me.
I love cuddling on the couch or hearing him tell me I’m beautiful, but if there is a pile of laundry that needs to be folded, I feel most cared for when he helps me fold it.
Zach’s love language is Quality Time. He wishes for nothing more than my undivided attention, even if that means sitting on the couch and watching a movie together. The worst thing I could to love him as be either distracted during our time together or avoid intentional time together.
Learning this explained why he would feel unloved when I would be washing dishes instead of choosing to go for a walk with him or folding laundry instead of watching a movie together. Zach needs to know that I value time with him.
Through this process, we also realized that the love language we tend to receive best is the one we tend to give best.
Since I feel loved by Acts of Service, I in return, am a very Acts of Service oriented person. I constantly try to love Zach by serving him and helping him, which is great, but if he had his choice between me cooking him dinner or spending 15 minutes talking, he would choose the latter. This has resulted in me daily learning to die to myself and desire to constantly serve, so that I can love him in the way that he needs. I have had to leave dirty dishes in the sink, clothes unfolded, and the house unswept because my relationship with Zach is a greater priority. Zach has learned to spend his time after work and off from work helping me clean or do yard work or run errands because loving me well is more important than his time.
By knowing each other’s love language, we have been able to love and understand one another more fully in ways that we can’t always express in words.
Our relationship is stronger because we recognize the other person’s expression and desires for love and it is filled with more grace because we recognize the other person’s daily efforts to die to their preferences and love the other well.
We understand that loving our spouse the way they want to be loved isn’t always our first inclination, but that’s why marriage is a continuous process of sanctification and learning to love the way Jesus did.
If you want to learn how to love your spouse or significant other better (because you don’t need to be married to start), I recommend taking the quiz. It’s easy and straight forward and your relationship will thank you for it.