This is the first post in a new series Building a Great Marriage.

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If I could only give one book to a couple getting married I would choose Gary Chapman’s THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES. The book has been around forever because the premise works. The thesis of the book is how we all feel loved in five ways:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

You can read the book or take the quiz to discover which way you feel most loved. You can also have a secondary language as well. Then your partner figures out how they feel loved. Be sure to take the time to read each description or take the quiz before you assume which is your love language. Gifts are nice, but you may discover your need for words of affirmation or quality time from your spouse.

Once you know which way you feel loved, then you are ready for the next step. You get to talk with your spouse and share your findings. Daniel and I discovered I feel loved through Acts of Service. I feel loved when he does the dishes and cleans the kitchen. Daniel told me he feels loved through physical touch. Physical touch doesn’t always mean intimacy. Hugs, holding hands, and snuggling up on the couch mean a lot to Physical Touch people.

The third step is making sure your spouse feels loved through their love language. Make sure it is their love language, not yours.

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When I was pregnant I had terrible morning sickness and being touched made me queasy. Daniel had a hard time keeping up with the house work and taking care of our children. He almost became depressed while I was pregnant. We figured out later how it didn’t matter how much I thanked him for serving me, he didn’t feel loved. I couldn’t give him the physical touch he needed. During my third pregnancy I made sure to hold his hand and let him hug me even though it made me queasy. He was a lot more joyful during my third pregnancy, because he was getting more physical touch.

It’s vital to learn your spouse’s love language and work on speaking their love language to them. Even if your spouse doesn’t reciprocate right away, you need to love them anyway. Eventually they will notice and will want to return the favor.

I’ve seen the five love languages make a huge impact in our marriage. Knowing and serving in each other’s will keep your marriage running a lot more smoothly and joyously.

What your love language?