According to Dr. Gary Chapman, learning your wife’s love language is like perfecting a golf swing.
Dr. Chapman explains the basic idea behind love languages: “What makes one person feel loved doesn’t make another person feel loved. You have to learn to express love in the emotional language of the other person or they don’t get it.” Here are the languages that Gary identifies:
- Words of affirmation – Verbally affirming your spouse: “You look nice in that outfit!” “I’m proud of you.” “I really appreciate what you did.” “One of the things I like about you is…”
- Acts of service – Doing something for your spouse that you know they would like you to do. Washing dishes, vacuuming floors, mowing grass, changing diapers, etc.. For these people, actions speak louder than words.
- Gifts – The gift says “They were thinking about me!”
- Quality time – Giving your spouse your undivided attention. No TV, no cell phone – just one-on-one with each other.
- Physical touch – Holding hands, kissing, embracing, etc.
How do men figure out what their wife’s love language is if they’re uncertain? Gary breaks it down into three simple tasks:
- Observe her behavior. How does your wife interact with people as a way of life? If she’s always giving people an encouraging word, Words of Affirmation is probably her language.
- What does she complain about? The complaint reveals the love language. If you return from a business trip and she says “You didn’t bring me anything!”, that’s a sign that Gifts are likely her language.
- What does she request of you most often? “We never talk!” — She’s telling you Quality Time is her love language!
Gary issues a stern warning for men to be careful in this pursuit of their wives.
“If we are speaking their love language in order to get what we want, then it ceases to be love. It’s manipulation.”
Where does the “golf swing” come into play? Dr. Chapman says learning this language, much like learning a new golf swing, takes time and may start with unlearning old patterns. The end goal is a strong healthy relationship that is safe for both people and draws them closer together.
Gary’s book is The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great. You can find the second half of this program here: One more try.
Key Scriptures: Isaiah 41:10