15 Proven Ways To Make Your Spouse Feel Loved
Becoming a spouse has made me bi-lingual, but more on that in a minute.
The Summer following my freshman year of high-school I embarked on a 10 day missions trip to Russia. It was life-changing as most missions trips are, especially when you’re a teenager firmly rooted in the middle of American suburbia. The people, the culture and the way we saw the Lord move in the hearts and lives of those precious people forever branded my heart and messed with me in all the best ways.
But one particular challenge from that trip sticks out in my mind like a sore thumb:
I did not speak a lick of Russian.
Of course we had translators, but as a pretty large bunch of youth group missionaries, sharing translators was a must. It was never a problem until one fateful morning at Day Camp, I realized I was missing a kid. I was missing a Russian kid.
Panic struck my 15-year-old heart. We were in a public park. And there were a few sketchy characters lingering around the perimeter.
My eyes darted in every direction. I began asking around using English words.
To which the sweet Russian kids could only smile and nod. English would not work. In my desperation the only other language i knew came flying out of my mouth,
“Donde esta el Sergei?”
The kids gazed at me with absolute wonderment. They had strained hard to try and grasp the first language I was speaking to them earlier but what kind of funky sentence had just come out of my mouth?
I spoke Spanish to them you guys.
I spoke Spanish to a massive group of European 11-year-olds and expected them to understand.
Ironically, it wouldn’t be the last time I spoke a foreign language to someone and expected them to understand.
When Chris and I got married, we took on the task of learning a new language. You see, we all give and receive love in various ways. Typically, the way you instinctively give love isn’t the way your spouse receives love.
But if we’re not intentional on educating ourselves, we’ll quickly discover that we’re telling our spouse we love them in Spanish when their primary language is Russian. And nothing will make you feel smaller than when no one understands your loving gestures.
Now chances are you married your opposite. We get that. We celebrate that. I for one would not want to be married to someone just like me. We would be way too serious and rarely sit down, but daaang our house would be CUTE!
Because we’re wired different from our spouse, we give and receive love in different ways as well. Thankfully, there are some easy steps to learning each other’s, “Love Languages” that do not involves hours of Rosetta Stone.
Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages” is: a classic, one of our favorites and the first book we recommend to couples we work with. If you’ve never read it, we highly recommend it! If you’d like to discover your love language, the book contains an assessment and so much insight into each of the 5. But as you’re patiently waiting for Amazon Prime to drop your book from a drone, check out this free test to get a pretty good idea of your Love Language.
Take a minute, take the test and then keep reading for some helpful insights into each of the 5 love languages.
Words of Affirmation:
*Give simple compliments or a word of genuine encouragement to your spouse.
*Recognize something they did and tell them how much you appreciate them. Be specific.
*If expressing yourself is a challenge, you’re not off the hook, 😉 BUT start with a text, a sticky note, or a card.
This happens to be my primary love language. And Chris has learned some tricks along the way. He spills them in this free resource. Get his secrets right now by clicking the image.
Quality Time/Quality Conversation:
This one requires you to spend one-on-one distraction free time. BUT, that doesn’t mean you just have to stare into each other’s eyes for hours on end. Here’s some ideas:
*Go for a walk after dinner. (We’re loving walking here this Summer!)
*Find a hobby you can do together.
*And if the budget allows, plan a weekend getaway. Spontaneity works but so does pre-planning! It gives them something to look forward too.
Acts of Service:
It really can be the little things that make all the difference. And if Acts of Service happens to be your spouse’s primary love language, the following will speak volumes to them:
*Anticipate an action on your spouse’s to do list and check it off before they can. Here’s some ideas-
Clothes at the dry cleaners? Grab them on your way home. Did you use the last of the OJ this morning? Stop by the store and then give them a quick call to ask what else you can pick up. Does their car look dirty? Run in through the car wash and while you’re out, fill it up with gas too because you are awesome.
*Do one of their typical household chores
*Tell them, “I’ll help with that.” And then… actually do.
This is Chris’ primary love language and because it’s not mine, I need to make a conscience effort to stay aware.
*Hugs, hand holding, sitting together instead of apart at the end of the day
*Put a hand on their knee or back of their neck while driving
*bonus points for back or foot rubs!
This one is all about the physical reminders of your love. It says, “You were on my mind.” Here’s a few ideas if your spouse receives love through gifts:
*Give the gift of yourself and keep your time together a high priority
*Keep a running list of their favorite things in your phone and pick up small tokens for them
*Put a lot of thoughtfulness into special occasions
Again, Dr. Chapman’s book has so much more insight than we could ever squeeze into a blog post. So do yourself a favor and order the book.
You don’t have to fumble around in marriage speaking Spanish to your Russian spouse. 😉
You can be free to enjoy showering love on your spouse once you learn to “speak” in a way they can receive. And then, once you’ve discovered your love language, you can clearly articulate what you need in the relationship. It’s a win win.
What’s your Primary Love Language?
Like I said, mine is Words of Affirmation with Quality Time and Acts of Service coming in at a close tie for second. I tell Chris he’s lucky because I speak multiple languages.
He says that’s still up for debate 😉
What are the effective ways you show love to your spouse?
Until next time,
WAIT! BEFORE YOU GO…We don’t want you to miss out on our next post. You would regret it and cry 1000 tears. Don’t cry 1000 tears.