Love Languages: What Your Spouse Really Needs
Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t speak your language?
It can be really frustrating, right? You’re standing there, trying desperately to explain something and the other person is genuinely trying to understand you, but you just can’t connect. That is exactly what’s going on between you and your spouse when you feel disconnected and unloved. You are speaking one love dialect and they are speaking a different one and you’re missing each other in translation.
As a spouse, it is your responsibility to learn the love dialect your spouse understands and speak it to them.
According to Gary Chapman, there are 5 Love Languages (take the quiz to find yours). It is important for you to keep in mind that love languages are born out of needs that are unmet and/or past experiences that have created deep needs in us—some deeper than others. By taking Gary’s Love Languages free quiz, you can know which order your and your spouse's love languages go in so that you can focus on the top two! (By the way, your love language can change over time, so if you haven’t taken the quiz in awhile, it’s best to start fresh!)
Next, I want to give you a deeper insight on what your spouse is feeling, needing and wanting based off of their love language.
Acts of Service
What your spouse feels: Your spouse probably feels heavy-laden with responsibility and tasks and they may often feel like they can’t breathe with everything they need to take care of to keep themselves above water. This person might have grown up in a home where they held too much responsibility and were left to do a lot on their own. Or maybe they are the classic Type A personality who is very responsible and organized so people ask a lot from them. Individuals whose love language is acts of service live by the motto: actions speak louder than words!
What your spouse needs and wants: Your spouse needs and wants you to look at their mile long to-do list and pick a few things that you can handle for them. There’s nothing more refreshing for someone with Acts of Service as their top love language than finding out they are relieved of something on their plate and can spend that time doing something else. And it’s even more loving when you do the task without them having to ask for your help.
What your spouse feels: Your spouse probably feels lonely when other things in your life take precedent over them. They are very sensitive to how much time you block out to spend with them. They might have had a childhood where their parent didn’t spend a whole lot of time with them leaving them feeling unimportant. Or maybe you’ve been living more as roommates than best friends and they miss having quality and quantity time with you.
What your spouse needs and wants: Your spouse needs and wants for you to put your phone away when they talk to you. They want eye contact. They need you to be intentional with planning date nights and times for heart-to-heart conversations.
Words of Affirmation
What your spouse feels: Your spouse probably feels lost in the shadows of life passing by; they might feel invisible or easily forgotten. They might feel unappreciated or unseen. Your words speak life into them and if the only words you speak are criticism, they may feel completely hopeless in love and in life. This person might have grown up in a critical home or had parents who rarely affirmed them.
What your spouse needs and wants: Your spouse needs and wants encouragement, humility, empathy, authenticity, appreciation, and your respect. They want to hear that you are thankful they are in your life, that you love them and want them around, and that you noticed they did the dishes or work hard at their job. Whatever you’re thinking that’s positive about them, they want to hear it out loud. If sharing freaks you out, write it in a text, email or letter.
What your spouse feels: This person probably craves security and may feel a little unsettled if you’re around. They feel connected by your gentle touch, bear hug or when you reach for their hand. This person might have had a childhood where their family didn’t show or model physical affection, leaving an insecurity that they are not loved.
What your spouse needs and wants: Your spouse needs you to be intentional about positive touching that is both of the sexual and non-sexual nature. Touch doesn’t always have to mean sex. Your spouse needs a healthy balance of both. That can mean gentle caresses, hand holding, back massages, hugs, kisses, etc.
What your spouse feels: This person probably feels like they go out of their way to find the “perfect” gift for the ones they love and they may feel not important when people don’t recognize their effort. The gift isn't about materialism. Instead, it’s about being a top priority to those who love them. This person may have grown up in a family who wasn’t able to purchase a whole lot of extra things or they may have grown up in home where thoughtfulness and sacrifices on their behalf was rare.
What your spouse needs and wants: Your spouse needs you to be attentive to things they have their eye on or tell you about. They crave knowing you made a sacrifice that you were thinking of them when you were away from each other, saw something they’d enjoy and then made the decision to purchase the item. If your spouse’s love language is gifts, you don’t have to spend money every time. You can create homemade gifts that lead to the same results—that they’ll feel loved by you!
It is imperative that you and your spouse talk about your love languages and that you help each other better understand what you need in regards to feeling loved.
Ask these Connecting Questions to help get the conversation started:
What are your top two love languages? Can you help me understand why they are important to you?
Do you have any specific ideas on how I can love you the way you want to be loved?
Do you feel like your love language comes from something that was missing while you were growing up?
Curious to learn more? Check out our webcast The Truth About Love Languages and our bonus webcast Love Lists on Naked Conversations.
Written by Anna Collins
Anna Collins lives in sunny Southern California with her husband and two children. She is passionate about her marriage, staying at home with her kids, writing, coffee, good conversation, and game night. Her life dream is to someday write a book and see it published.