A True Story- “I am a dedicated husband, an MC, an entertainer. In my line of work, I get to interact with people a lot. I am touchy and hug a lot but my wife is a private person. She does not like it. I have been married for 10 years. My Dad once told me, success in marriage is not by finding the right person but by being the right person in my marriage. I have tried to be the right person but I have not been able to achieve what I really want to in my life. It’s a struggle for me. Sir, what should I do?”
This was a question asked by a man at the couples’ dinner I went to over the weekend. The speaker’s answer was this “do not love your wife based on what you want but based on what she wants; ask want she wants emotionally and fill up her emotional tank’. This wisdom stems from a book written by Gary Chapman titled “The five love languages”. A book I want to encourage you to read.
The first time I heard about the 5 love languages was about 8-9 years ago when Dokun and I were told to start a marriage enrichment class at our church. It was a life changing book. The book itself cannot be dissected in a 900-word blog-post but please and please if you can afford to buy the book, I encourage you to buy it.
Love can be expressed in so many ways and forms. Different people express love in different ways. It’s like speaking a language. Gary Chapman states “Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English”. There are 2 different types of language; primary and secondary. The primary is the one that we grew up with. The language spoken to siblings. Secondary on the other hand is one that we learned formally. If for instance, when we speak our secondary language, initially we do it with limitation but the more we practice, the better we are at it.
Let’s now transfer this to emotional language. What I like as a person is my primary love language. What Dokun (my husband) likes as a person, becomes “my” secondary love language and vice versa. What he likes (to him) is his primary language, what I like (to him) is his secondary love language. Primary love languages are innate, while secondary has to be learned and it is what your spouse exhibits.
So, what are they?
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
Words of Affirmation- This is when someone delights in verbal compliments. “Many couples have never learned the tremendous power of complimenting each other” especially in an African marriage. Some men equate compliments or words of affirmation to vanity. They are not. They are powerful communications of love. Encouraging words; Kind words; Humble words etc. These are words that should be used often in a relationship. Remember “the latent potential within your spouse in his or her areas of insecurity may await your encouraging words”.
Quality Time- When you or your spouse desires quality time. Quality time like in undivided attention. When you take time out to sit together, go for a walk together, take a drive together without any intrusion. No TV, no children. You hear some wives complain, “he is too busy”. Some men, after their day job, turn to their computer at home again. Then come weekends, again they turn to their computer. The computer becomes their best friend. I do understand the need to work after office hours but when it begins to interfere with your marital relationship, you need to check yourself. Remember, family comes first. Quality conversation; Focused attention; Quality Activities are areas that can be worked on.
Receiving Gifts- “Gifts are visual symbol of love. They show that someone has been thinking of me. For example, the last time Dokun traveled out of the country, he got me a duty-free gift he purchased at the airport. Besides that I love the gift, it felt really good that he was thinking about me when I wasn’t there to the extent that he bought me a gift.
Act of Service- During dating/courtship, couples tend to assist each other with chores, errands. You see men, help their women to do certain things prior to marriage and soon after marriage, it stops and vice versa. Then, they begin to complain of diminished love. If you are in this boat, check those things that you used to do for your spouse that you don’t do anymore. Work on them and see whether there will be change in your relationship.
Physical Touch- Everyone knows that physical touch is a way of communicating emotional love. “Holding hands, kissing, embracing, sexual intercourse. In marriage, the power of physical touch cannot be underestimated. But each spouse should be careful. What gives a wife pleasure most of the time doesn’t necessarily have to give the husband pleasure. Both parties must take time to study each other.
In respect to the brother above, the speaker told him to go learn his wife’s love language, fill up her emotional tank and he will see her blossom and support his own dreams.
My Wisdom Nugget- Take time to study your spouse. Loving and blissful marriage does not happen overnight, we all know that. Ask your spouse what makes him/her happy using the above list as a guide. Most people exhibit 2 or more of the above but most of the time, one is dominant. May God help us as we seek to make our marriages a romantic haven.
Over to you my dear reader. What is your love language? How has this write-up blessed you? Do you have any wisdom nugget you want to leave for me or other tolusworld readers? I will love to read from you.
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Excerpts of this write-up taken from Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages