Navigating a relationship is tricky at the best of times, but learning to communicate with your spouse is especially critical when you aren’t allowed to leave your house.
Late last year, Faith Strong Today’s Johnny Rocket and Hollie Taylor spoke with international best-selling author Gary Chapman on the Why Me Project podcast. The three discussed faith, the complexity of God’s plan, and his most important advice for navigating the pitfalls of communication in spousal relationships.
It’s safe to say that Dr. Gary Chapman is a bit of a relationship expert. Not only has he dedicated much of his life to family care and counselling, but his book, The 5 Love Languages, has sold more than 12-million copies worldwide and has been translated into 50 languages.
The themes from his best-selling book certainly made its way into the Why Me Project episode, and those themes are particularly important as couples find themselves stuck inside together.
So, what are these love languages, and how can they help you navigate 2020’s variety of confinement with the one you love?
The principle is simple, really. We all communicate and express love differently. By understanding the way in which we experience and express love, and by taking the time to understand the way our partner experiences and expresses love themselves, we can effectively break down the communication barriers between us, and grow closer.
If it sounds a little too abstract, don’t worry. The following breakdown and subsequent examples should help ground things.
According to Dr. Chapman, there are five ways to express love (or love languages), and we all have one or two that speak to us more directly than the others.
1. Words of Affirmation
This is the love language that prioritizes verbal displays of affection above all else. Compliments, praise, and encouragement all fall under this umbrella. If this is your spouse’s love language, you should try extra hard to tell them that you love them on a regular basis, and use your words to encourage and support them every day.
2. Acts of Service
A language hinged on actions. Those that prefer acts of service perceive a home-cooked meal, a clean house, or errands as a meaningful display of love and affection.
3. Receiving Gifts
A spontaneous bouquet of flowers, a thoughtful just-because trinket, or their favourite brand of treat, can be as meaningful as saying, “I love you,” to a lot of people.
4. Quality Time
Centred on a period of undivided attention means more to some people than a diamond ring. If this is your spouse’s Love Language, it’s up to you to parcel out some time to eliminate distractions and focus directly on their needs, wants, and requests. Or, you know, just talk to them!
5. Physical Touch
The final language can be quite substantial for many. Those that speak this language see touch and physicality as synonymous with safety, security, and connectedness and yes, love.
If you found yourself nodding your head furiously at any point during this article, then you might want to invest in a neck brace before you go ahead and check out episode 132 of the Why Me Project, “Marriage and Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman” here on Faith Strong Today!
The podcast recaps all that we’ve discussed here, but so much more as well. And, if you’ve already heard the episode, or are familiar with Dr. Gary Chapman’s work, let us know how it has impacted your life in the comments below!