In our last post, we discussed Step #2 of the five best first steps to save your marriage. Step #2 was “Know What language Your Spouse is Speaking” and we encouraged you to take the “Five Languages of Love Assessment.” Hopefully you’ve done that and have a better idea of how your partner is trying to show their love and how you can best show them yours, in a way that they can understand and recognize.
In this post, the third of our five-part series, we’ll discuss the third best first step to save your marriage:
Step #3: Start Speaking Your Spouse’s Language
Let’s say you’re from the US and you’re trying to communicate with someone from France who speaks no English. What good does it do either one of you if you know he doesn’t understand English but you insist on speaking it anyway? A simple and lightweight analogy, but true nonetheless.
If you know your spouse’s love language is Physical Touch but you keep trying to express your love with Acts of Service (because that’s your love language), you’re not going to get anywhere.
What the two of you need to do in Step #3 is start speaking each other’s languages.
Here are some ideas for showing love in the five love langauges:
- Words of Affirmation: Don’t just say “I love you”, say “I love you because….” and finish the sentence. Leave little notes in lunch bags, briefcases and on the front seat of your partner’s car. Let someone else’s words do the trick and make your spouse a mix of love songs that you think really express how you feel.
- Quality Time: This language is all about being there, even if you’re not doing anything special. Forget about the gym for a while and come straight home. Leave the TV off and invite your spouse to have some coffee on the patio. Go cheer your spouse on at the company softball game, even if you hate the game.
- Acts of Service: This love language is all about actions speaking louder than words. To some people, they really do. Take out the garbage from now on, simply because you know she hates to touch it. Make him a nice lunch to take to work. This week, why don’t you take the kids to school at let your spouse sleep a few extra minutes?
- Giving Gifts: The saying goes that it’s the thought that counts and in this case that’s largely true. This doesn’t mean you should give something you know your partner doesn’t like; it means that even the simplest give matters if it shows you’re paying attention. Come home on Friday night with a copy of her favorite magazine and a candy bar-then tell her to take them to the bathtub with her. Rent his favorite movie, the one you really can’t stand. Give your partner a gift card for their favorite designer coffee.
- Physical Touch: This one might seem too easy and it is one of the easier languages to adopt. Most of us touch our partners throughout the day. But instead of a peck on the cheek before you head off to work, dip her and lay one on her, right in front of the kids. Instead of patting him on the shoulder, give him a two-minute back rub.
One of the really nice things about learning to speak your partner’s language is that you usually learn to love it, too. You’re also reinforcing your love to yourself while you’re expressing it to your spouse. This one step probably does more to save a marriage than anything we know.
Next time we’ll talk about Step #4: Be Consistent, Not Constant