In the book The Five Love Languages, author Gary Chapman helps readers understand their spouses better by revealing the five ways in which they give and receive love: quality time, access service, gifts, words of affirmation, and physical touch. The longer a couple has been married, the more difficult it can be to express love and intimacy to each other. It is important to know your spouse’s love language and express it often. If you have difficulty identifying which love language your spouse needs most, understand that your spouse gives love the way they like to receive love.
Here are five reasons it’s important to know your spouse’s love language:
1. It Increases the Bond of Intimacy
The marriage relationship is perhaps one of the most intimate relationships we can have. When we love others deeply, more than likely they will love us deeply as well. The love we receive meets those deep emotional needs for connection and intimacy we were created to have here on earth. Giving and receiving love in a deep way increases communication which, in turn, strengthens the bond of intimacy created between a loving couple.
2. It Is Your Duty to Love Your Spouse
Ephesians 5:22-28 is perhaps one of the most commonly quoted passages to marriage, but it does serve as a blueprint for the way husbands and wives should treat each other: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
We are not instructed to love others the way we want to be loved but rather loving others with no strings attached. That is the unconditional love God gives to us, and he wants us to give that to our spouses. By speaking their love language, your spouse will understand that you make your marriage a priority and want to do the work it takes to establish a long, healthy relationship.
3. It Honors Your Commitment to God
Whether you took your marriage vows on the beach, in someone’s backyard, or a church, you made those vows before God. God created the marriage as a covenant between two loving people so they may enjoy a glimpse of the love we will share with God when we get to heaven. Whether you chose to take traditional vows or write your own, part of the commitment you make on your wedding day is to love, honor, and cherish your spouse ‘till death do you part. This does not mean you get to stop loving your spouse the minute they don’t give you the love you feel you need. When you honor your marriage by speaking your spouse’s level language, you demonstrate your honor toward God and the commitment you made as well. This gives God glory and shows the world what it will be like when Jesus returns for his church.
4. It Makes Them Feel Seen and Known
One of our deepest needs as human beings is to be seen and known by God and others. Nothing shows a spouse that you see and know them deeper than anyone else’s by expressing love in their love language. Expressing love in a language they can understand helps them best appreciate and receive the love you give. If you speak in a love language that doesn’t affect them, it will not meet their deep emotional needs. Giving a back rub when your spouse is in pain without being asked is a great way to show physical touch to your spouse and meet their physical needs for comfort as a result.
One of the reasons God reserved sex for the marriage relationship is because when love is shown in a deep way, it creates a bond between two people that is difficult to break. Mental images surrounding the experience will stay with that couple even if the relationship has resolved. Marriage was designed for two people to be fully known and allow a trusted partner to see and know everything about them, even their weaknesses, flaws, and imperfections. That is not something to reveal to just anyone. Marriage allows two people to be fully who they are (warts and all) to each other. A good marriage provides a safe environment where both people can express themselves in every way without fear of judgment or condemnation. This is how people want to be seen and known by all, yet they must discern to whom they can reveal the most intimate parts of themselves. That revelation should be reserved for the marriage covenant only. By speaking their love language, you demonstrate you understand your spouse fully and that you are a trusted partner who knows them and accepts them and loves them in a way unique to them.
5. It Is a Tangible Example of Your (and God’s) Love for Them
It’s easy to say, “I love you,” but words not backed up with actions can be difficult to believe. It is the same in our spiritual lives. Although we are saved by grace, and there’s nothing we can do to earn that grace, Scripture also says that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). If we love God, we will demonstrate that love both to others and ourselves to show our belief in love for him and honor him in the ways he intended.
It is the same in our marriages. We say we will love, honor, and cherish our spouses, but if we don’t demonstrate tangible examples of that love, how easy will it be for this spouse to believe otherwise? If your spouse is someone who loves words of affirmation, make a point to send a text or write a note once a week letting them know you love them. Highlight their good qualities and things that made you fall in love with them. If your spouse loves acts of service, make a to-do list of all the home improvements or repairs you need to make. Tackle one task a week and be sure to complete it. If your spouse loves quality time, seek to plan at least one date night a month or designate quality time without screens or technology once a week in your home. Invest in your marriage by spending quality time cultivating a loving relationship between you and your spouse. Save money each week until you can buy that perfect gift for your spouse. If they are a person who loves gifts, they will love the thoughtfulness you put into the gift (and we’ll love they don’t have to pay for it either). If they love physical touch, make a point to rub their back, hold her hand, or brush their hair at night to soothe them before they go to bed. This is a great way to establish a relaxing bedtime routine and demonstrate love through physical touch.
In the same way, we are called to demonstrate our belief in God in tangible ways. We are to demonstrate our love for our spouses in tangible ways by communicating with them in their love language. By understanding them better, you will be able to give love in a way that meets their deepest emotional needs, and in return, they will do the same.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Sam Edwards
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.