Category: The 5 Love Languages®

Q&A: Learning to Give Words of Affirmation

Q: How do I give Words of Affirmation to my spouse when it doesn’t come naturally?

Gary: When we don’t speak a language by nature, it is certainly a challenge. If you did not receive affirming words growing up, it will probably be more difficult to speak those words. You have to learn to speak another language. I suggest you write down some statements you’ve heard other people say and say them to yourself in the mirror. Then go to your spouse and just say one of them. Each subsequent time will be easier. You have to practice learning a new language.

Words of Affirmation

Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” If we take Twain literally, he only needed six compliments a year. Believe me, your spouse, your child, your friend will need more than that. Verbal compliments, or words of affirmationare powerful communicators of love. Imagine hearing these words, “You look sharp in that suit;” “Wow, you look very nice tonight;” “I appreciate your washing of the dishes;” “Thanks for getting the baby sitter lined up.” What would happen to the emotional climate in your relationship if you heard such words of affirmation regularly? Then why not develop the habit of speaking such words to others? Compliments stimulate compliments.

Q&A: Quality Time amongst Busyness

Q: What are some ways to show the love language “Quality Time” when my husband works so much?

Gary: When you work more than ten hours a day, it can be very difficult to make time for Quality Time. However, if this is the primary love language of you or your spouse, the two of you must find a way to work it out in your schedules to have time together. Consider having lunch with him where he works, or cluster time together on the weekends. Everyone has time to make a living and have a healthy marriage.

Q&A: Speaking a Person’s Love Language and Getting Nothing in Return

Q: Where do I find strength to show my spouse love in their love language when I get nothing in return?

Gary: The bottom line is that your strength comes from your relationship with God. God loved us before we loved him, while we were still sinners. God pours his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. By the power of God, we can love a spouse who is not loving us. There’s nothing more powerful you can do that to speak the love language of your spouse in the power of the Holy Spirit, regardless of whether they respond or not. Nothing is as powerful as Godly love.

Q&A: A Partner Who Refuses to Speak Your Love Language

Q: What do you suggest to do if your boyfriend is unmotivated to speak your love language? 

Gary: I think it’s probably time to get out of the relationship. People are typically at their best when they are dating. If you’re dating someone who knows your love language but refuses to speak it, it should indicate to you that your partner is selfish. He is into himself but not into loving you. If that’s what dating him is like, imagine what being married to him is like. If upon breaking up with him, he radically changes, maybe give him another chance.

Q&A: A Loveless Marriage

Q: After 25 years of marriage,  I just don’t love my husband anymore. How can I stay in this marriage?

Gary: We have to be where we are but we don’t to stay where we are. Essentially, love is a decision and an attitude that says, “I’m married to you, how can I enrich your life?” Don’t wait on your emotions; choose to love in the power of the Holy Spirit. We have God’s help to love an unlovely spouse. When you love them in the right love language, there’s a good chance they’re going to reciprocate and emotional love can be reborn in the marriage. It won’t happen overnight, but there’s nothing more powerful you can do than to love an unlovely spouse.

Q&A: Reconciling With Someone You’ve Verbally Abused

Q: I’ve verbally abused my wife for years but I want to change. How can I show her?

Gary: Verbal abuse strikes at the heart of the person abused. Even if you confess this, recognize that it is wrong, and stop speaking harsh words, it will take time for your spouse to realize that you are sincere. How can you regain her trust and belief in you? I would say by your behavior. If you turn the harsh critical words into loving caring words, you will demonstrate that you have radically changed. If you will also learn her primary love language and speak it to her on a regular basis, chances are that overtime she’ll begin to see that you sincerely and honestly love her.

Q&A: Long Distance Love Languages

Q: How can our distance relationship last if we both are not touched by Words of Affirmation?

Gary: If you scored low on Words of Affirmation, that is, Words of Affirmation are not very important to either one of you, then what are your love languages? The good news is that each of the 5 love languages can be spoken long distance. In a recent edition of The 5 Love Languages we address this for those in the military. In it we talk about speaking the love languages when your partner is deployed. If you are in a distance relationship, it may be helpful to you even though you aren’t in the military.

Q&A: Getting a Husband to Help Around the House

Q: How do I get my husband to help around the house?  I feel like his mother more than his wife.

Gary: Perhaps your love language is Acts of Service and you’re really feeling unloved because your husband is not helping out around the house. It makes sense that you feel more like a mother than a wife, but you need to express this to him very clearly; he needs to understand that you want him to help out around the house. You should also learn his love language and speak it on a regular basis, because your love for him will likely stimulate his love for you.

Affirming Your Young Children

Long before children understand the meaning of words, children receive emotional messages. The tone of voice and the gentleness of mood communicate emotional warmth. All parents speak to their infants, and what the baby understands is the look on the face and the affectionate sounds, combined with physical closeness. Young children don’t understand the meaning of the words, “I love you.” They can’t see love as they can see a toy or a book. But they begin to associate the words “I love you” with the hugs and tender touches you give them as you say the words. It’s the tone of voice that they hear and they associate it with the words, “I love you.” Affirming words communicate love even before the child understands the words.

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