Learning My Spouse’s Love Languages
As a Christian, my faith shapes how I see the world and how I approach my marriage. When I first heard about love languages – the different ways we express and interpret love – I realized this could be a powerful framework for improving my relationship with my spouse.
Viewing love languages through the lens of faith has helped me be more intentional about meeting my partner’s needs and feeling closer to them and to God.
What Are Love Languages?
The concept of “love languages” was popularized by relationship counsellor Dr. Gary Chapman in his bestselling book “The Five Love Languages.” He identified five main ways we give and receive love:
- Words of Affirmation: Verbal compliments, praise, encouragement
- Acts of Service: Doing practical tasks and chores for your spouse
- Receiving Gifts: Symbolic presents that require thoughtfulness
- Quality Time: Giving your partner your undivided attention
- Physical Touch: Affectionate contact like hugs and cuddles
Everyone has a primary and secondary love language. Discovering those languages can vastly improve marital satisfaction as spouses learn to effectively convey love in a way most meaningful to their partner.
A Spiritual Framework for Understanding Love
While Dr. Chapman’s framework is secular in nature, as a Christian, I see love languages providing profound spiritual insights about how to follow Jesus’ command to “love one another” (John 13:34).
Showing love through our spouse’s love language is a selfless act requiring sacrifice, compassion, and attentiveness to their needs above our own – traits that Christ demonstrated and calls us to emulate.
The Bible explains that marriage signifies Christ’s relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:25-33). As husbands love their wives, wives submit to their husbands, and both partners mutually give and receive love, it reflects divine truths. Using love languages is a practical way to reveal God’s unconditional love to my spouse.
Discovering My Spouse’s Love Language
I learned early in my marriage that my own love language is Quality Time. I feel most loved when my husband puts down his phone, asks me questions, and listens attentively. However, I mistakenly assumed this was also his primary love language.
Over time, I noticed him appearing bored when I tried to connect through long conversations. Yet he seemed deeply appreciative when I surprised him by tidying up the house or running errands for him. That’s when the light bulb went off – his love language was Acts of Service!
To confirm my suspicion, I had my husband take an online love languages quiz. Sure enough, Acts of Service came out as his number one language, followed by Physical Touch. Meanwhile, Quality Time was the lowest on his list! No wonder my previous efforts hadn’t made him feel extra loved.
Making Love Languages Part of Our Spiritual Routine
Once I understood my husband’s love language, I vowed to speak it regularly as part of our marriage’s spiritual rhythm. After all, being fluent in his love language is how I can best fulfill the biblical command to love him sacrificially.
Every morning during my devotional time, I ask God to show me small ways to serve my husband that day. Then in the evening, my husband and I share a hug, massage, and loving bedtime ritual as a way to emotionally and spiritually reconnect. We also try to incorporate both of our love languages into our spiritual habits like prayer and Scripture reading.
We may speak different love languages, but intentionally conveying love through each other’s languages has deepened our intimacy and made us more attentive communicators overall. It reminds us to look outward instead of making assumptions about what our spouse needs.
Love Languages as Spiritual Gifts
Not only is speaking my spouse’s love language a way for me to practice Christlike love, I see our unique love languages almost like spiritual gifts. God beautifully designed each person and relationship, carefully choosing each language to craft a holy pairing.
My husband’s Acts of Service makes him feel loved, reveals his servant’s heart, and helps him cherish me in the selfless way Christ cherishes the church (Ephesians 5:25). Of course, no one loves perfectly like Jesus, but the love languages help point us to godly ideals.
Meanwhile, my yearning for Quality Time reveals my gift of hospitality and creating space for rich connection. Our languages complement each other to create a spiritually uplifting marriage.
If spiritual growth involves using our gifts, then surely it means speaking words of affirmation to an encouraging spouse, giving the gift-lover carefully planned presents, and so forth. Love languages help us understand our God-given marital gifts.
Potential Pitfalls to Avoid
While love languages have enriched my marriage, I’ve noticed some potential pitfalls that could hamper their effectiveness if misused:
- Forcing it: Spouses shouldn’t rigidly demand expressions of their love language if it doesn’t come naturally to their partner or fit the situation. I try to maintain realistic expectations.
- Breeding resentment: If one spouse feels like they give much more through their partner’s love language without receiving their own language in return, bitterness can brew. We try to reciprociate loving acts.
- Enabling bad habits: Occasionally doing a chore for my Acts of Service-focused husband is fine, but not if it enables him to be lazy. We have to balance love languages with accountability.
- Creating obligation: Speaking each other’s love languages should come from a place of care and desire, not tense obligation. We give grace when life gets busy.
- Replacing substance: Vaguely speaking a love language without meaning or sacrifice behind it rings hollow. The motivation matters tremendously.
While avoiding these pitfalls, ultimately each spouse musttune into the Holy Spirit within to discern how to best love selflessly. Thankfully Scripture provides ample wisdom when questions arise.
Letting Our Little Light Shine
Though I didn’t fully grasp my husband’s love language early in our marriage, God redeemed that disconnect into a teaching opportunity that now richly blesses our relationship.
It reminds me that sometimes marriage is less about finding perfect compatibility and more about learning to understand each other, adjust to differences, and unconditionally give love as Jesus exemplified.
When our home becomes a place where each person feels cherished through their unique love language, it creates space for both of our “little lights” to shine brighter for God’s glory (Matthew 5:16).
Simply by speaking each other’s love languages, we build intimacy while revealing Christ’s love to one another in a powerful way. Strengthening these gifts helps nourish not just our marriage but our individual relationships with God.