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Relationships

Do You Know Your Love Language?

Have you ever wondered, Does my spouse truly get me?

I’ve heard that question from people in many different stages of life, and I always think back to one of the most influential relationship books I’ve ever read: The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.

You guys, this book is a must-read. Whether you’re dating, engaged, or you’ve been married 25 years, understanding your significant other’s love language and your own can have an amazing impact on your relationship. (And I can say that because it really changed my own relationship.)

The Love Languages Explained 

Dr. Chapman teaches that we each understand love, affection or appreciation in our own “languages.” Talk about having an aha moment! But it makes sense when you think about it: Different people with different personalities give and receive love in different ways. Those different ways are called the love languages, and there are five of them:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Physical Touch
  • Quality Time
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service

We all have one primary love language we prefer, and it’s important for us to know what ours is. But it’s also important to know your spouse’s love language and consistently choose to speak it so you can grow closer together.

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But get this: If we're speaking the wrong love language—even if we're expressing our love for our spouse loud and often—they might feel neglected. Isn't that crazy? 

For instance, you may be texting your husband love GIFs day in and day out, but a dinner date free of kids and phones is what really makes him feel cherished. Or maybe you’ve been buying your wife flowers every week since January without fail, but what she really wants is to come home to freshly mopped floors.

We’ve all experienced some version of the wrong expression of love. It leaves us feeling unseen, unappreciated or even neglected. That's why it's so important to learn about love languages—so when you speak, the other person truly hears “I love you.”

If you haven’t read the book yet, here’s my breakdown of the five love languages.

Words of Affirmation 

Unsolicited compliments and encouragement mean the world to words of affirmation people.

Someone with this love language is all about giving and receiving kind words, especially from those closest to them. If you’re in a relationship with someone who loves words of affirmation, make sure you’re telling them the specific ways you appreciate and admire them.

And it doesn’t have to be spoken. You can send a text, shoot an email, or even put a Post-it on the fridge—as long as you’re communicating words of affirmation to your spouse.

Think of things you love about your spouse and let them know what it is, and often! They will light up in response.

Physical Touch 

For the people whose love language is physical touch, physical connection means the most. Now hold your horses: This love language is not all about the bedroom! Hand-holding, high-fives and leaning into one another on the couch are some of the ways you can express love via physical touch. Hugs, pats on the back, and even head scratches all foster a sense of security and belonging for this love language.

Not everyone is a natural toucher though, so this may feel uncomfortable. The good news is that all love languages can be learned. The key is to just start small. Put your hand on your spouse’s shoulder when you hand them their keys. Give them a loving pat on the shoulder as they walk by. Little by little, intentional practice will help break that discomfort down, and you’ll be speaking your spouse’s physical touch love language in no time.

Quality Time

For these people, your attention is a gift. Nothing says I love you like gifting them with your full, undivided attention. And it’s not simply about spending time together—it’s about spending quality time together.

Here’s the key: no television, no phones, and no multitasking! That means talking while folding laundry doesn’t count. Try just the two of you, together, talking and communicating about whatever’s important to you both at the moment.

If one of you appreciates quality time, I’d highly recommend scheduling a monthly date night to get out of the house and just focus on each other—especially if you have kids!

Gifts 

Some people feel seen, adored and appreciated when they receive gifts. If your spouse’s love language is gifts, make sure to put a reasonable line item in the budget so you can intentionally tell them you love them with a gift.

And don’t worry, this doesn’t mean a new grill every month is mandatory. Gifts that express love don’t have to be fancy or expensive. A small gift here and there will go a long way for people who give and receive love through gifts, as long as it’s thoughtful.

Acts of Service 

Can folding laundry really be an expression of love? Of course! For acts of service people, actions speak louder than words. The words he or she longs to hear are, “Let me do that for you.”

This is my love language, and my husband, Winston, is amazing at taking care of me in this way. Sometimes he does that by helping around the house. Or when I’m out of town for work, he makes sure I come back to a clean home. Like the other languages, it’s the small, everyday acts of service that really make a difference.

If you haven’t read The 5 Love Languages yet, I highly recommend it. This book is a quick and easy read.

At your next date night, take a little time to talk about love languages with your significant other. Which love language speaks the most to your spouse, and which one makes you feel like your spouse really gets you?

Go Further Than the Love Languages 

Once you and your spouse figure out each other’s love language, you’ll be ready to learn each other’s money personality too! In my Know Yourself Money Assessment, you’ll discover a deeper understanding of your spouse, which will lead to easier conversations about money. Plus, you’ll learn about each of your experiences, dreams and core beliefs about money—and more! Your results will be side by side in one big report that will help you understand why your loved one acts the way they do so you can start winning with money together.

Know Yourself Money Assessment

Understand WHY your significant other makes the money decisions they do!

Take the Assessment

Rachel Cruze

About the author

Rachel Cruze

Rachel Cruze is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, financial expert, and host of The Rachel Cruze Show. Rachel writes and speaks on personal finances, budgeting, investing and money trends. As a co-host of The Ramsey Show, America’s second-largest talk radio show, Rachel reaches 18 million weekly listeners with her personal finance advice. She has appeared on Good Morning America and Fox News and has been featured in publications such as Time, Real Simple and Women’s Health magazines. Through her shows, books, syndicated columns and speaking events, Rachel shares fun, practical ways to take control of your money and create a life you love. Learn More.

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