Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thoughts On Marriage: Trial and Error and The Five Love Languages.

So as it  turns out, I'm not the perfect wife.  Shocking, I know (ha), but every once in a while it becomes glaringly obvious.  One of those moments happened a couple of weeks ago.  Care to hear about it? 'Cause if you don't want to, you know, I totally understand if you don't read the rest of this blog.... ok fine... here goes nothing.

Well, a long time ago I read the book "The Five Love Languages".  It's an awesome book about learning to speak your spouse/boyfriend/significant others/family members "love language".  A love language is the way that someone feels loved.  As the title of the book explains there are five:

1. Physical Touch (Holding hands, hugging, sex, any form of touching)
2. Words of affirmation (Being encouraged, cards, notes, verbally admired)
3. Receiving Gifts (Being given a gift, big or small)
4. Quality Time (Uninterupted time together)
5. Acts of service (Having useful things done for you-this is commonly #1 for moms of young children)

It's really an important thing to figure out because lets say, your love language is acts of service.  So because this is your love language, you feel the most loved when other people do useful things for you... clean the house, wash the car, take out the garbage..etc etc.  That is how you feel the most loved.  Now, lets say your spouse is actually a person who loves to Receive Gifts.  So you are doing all of these Acts of Service to make your spouse feel loved, when really she is just wanting a little gift from time to time.  She feels unloved, and you feel unappreciated and confused because you have been showing her so much love all the time.  All the while, you can't figure out why she is always picking up little trinkets for you when she goes anywhere... even the grocery store.  See the confusion?  Couples can spend their whole lives never truly understanding what the other person needs to feel loved. 

So, like I was saying, Josh and I took the test a long time ago.  Before we we were married.  At that time, my primary love language was Words of Affirmation (which is why I like to affirm people and encourage them) and Josh's was physical touch.  Probably because he is a MAN and he was waiting to have sex til he was married.  Probably.

Until a few weeks ago, I hadn't given it much thought.  I was SURE that his love language was still physical touch.  The day after his birthday, April 12, I asked him what his love language was and if it was still physical touch.  To my dismay, he wasn't 100% sure anymore, so we decided to take a little online test about it.  The results were shocking!  His love language had completely changed and so had mine.  In fact, what we both had thought were each others primary love languages had dropped to 3rd and 4th place. 

My primary way of feeling loved was now Quality Time.
His was.... Receiving Gifts.

Receiving Gifts? Can you imagine my surprise?  I was shocked!  In part because when I took the test receiving gifts scored a big ZERO PERCENT in my results. Apparently, it is not how I feel loved.  Yeah, I enjoy getting gifts, but they don't make me feel loved.  They're just nice!  Suddenly it all made sense. He is always picking up little things for me that he thinks I might like.  I, on the other hand, never ever get him anything ever.  Here's the horrible embarassing thing, the day before this was Josh's birthday.  We had been really, ridiculously busy the few days before that and Josh openly prefers to not make a big deal out of birthdays so.... I didn't get him anything for his birthday.

I didn't get my husband, who feels the most love when he receives gifts, a stinkin' gift on his BIRTHDAY.

Just go ahead and pin the "wife of the year" pin on my lapel!  (I hope you can note the sarcasm)

You might be thinking, "well, why didn't he tell you? It's his fault!"  Not true.  It's not up to your spouse or your significant other to inform you of the ways that they feel the most loved.  It is up to you to figure it out.  To ask.  To seek their heart.  I (finally) did that and am so glad that I did.  I know now.  I get him little gifts now.  He is focusing on spending more Quality Time with me.  (We spend a lot of time together, but it' the "quality" part that is important... dates, deep conversation, shared experiences)

So anyway, just thought I'd share that.  I'm not the perfect wife but I want to be the best wife that I can be.  If you haven't taken the test (or haven't taken it in a while) take it right here.  It's not comprehensive so you might consider actually reading the book.  It's already made a difference in our marriage.

It's also good to know for your family members and such.  For example, I'm positive that my Dads love language is Receiving Gifts, too.  So I'm going to try to show him love the way he feels it best and give him more "gifts" from now on. 

What's your love language?


  1. Probably...more like Yes!

  2. 1) I love your posts about marriage.
    2) My parents both read this book...and now that you've written a post on it I think I'm going to read it myself!
    3) I was surprised to see that Josh's language of love is receiving gifts too. This post has definitely made me think critically about what Mike wants/needs. I was also surprised to see how it changes over time...a good reminder to always check in with your spouse/relatioship.
    4) You are far from a bad wife. In fact, I hope I can be half as good of a wife as you are! A bad wife wouldn't take the time to learn her husband's "love language" or would not care as much as you do.

  3. 5) Really insightful post! One of my favs!

  4. Ok, last comment I promise :)
    6) My mom got me the sequel for "A Severe Mercy" called, "Under The Mercy" for my birthday! Have you read it?
    7) Have you and Josh thought about being marriage counselors through the church? I know within the Catholic church there is mandatory marriage prep/counseling with the priest and a married couple. Is there anything like that at your church? You guys would be great at the job.

  5. Leslie,
    I really appreciate your honesty and how much you value having a Christ-honoring marriage.

    John and I never read "The Five Love Languages" together, but I had studied it intensely on my own many years ago. He gleaned information from it from my many nights of discussing the book with him. :)

    Thank you for desiring to love your husband and honor Christ through it!

    Amber Payne

  6. My love languages in order:

    -Words of Affirmation [8]
    -Receiving Gifts & Quality Time [6]
    -Acts of Service & Physical Touch [5]

    But I am a picky love language recepient!