Use Love Languages to Create SUPER-POWERED Relationship Habits
You may be familiar with Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages. Many couples have found his ideas to be a useful tool for understanding what actions most lead each other to feel loved.
It occurred to me recently that the love languages could be a powerful way to focus on relationship habits that will make a difference. If you really KNOW things your partner likes, you can develop habits and have confidence they will truly improve your relationship.
I’ve spent some time thinking through the 5 love languages and come up with some ideas for habits you can develop in each area:
- Words of Affirmation – using words to make your spouse feel good
- Tell your spouse reasons you are grateful for him/her (check out what I’ve written about the power of gratitude)
- Write love letters, emails, and texts
- Provide encouragement
- Be kind on a daily basis
- Cut out the criticism
- Quality Time – spending devoted, focused time with your partner
- Schedule a date every week
- Set aside daily time to discuss meaningful topics
- Make yourself available to do activities you know your spouse enjoys
- Go on vacation together
- Make being together a priority in your relationship
- Receiving Gifts – giving meaningful, symbolic objects to express love
- Collect and give small tokens as a way to remember fun times you’ve spent together (eg, ticket stubs, dried flowers, recipes, restaurant napkins, photographs)
- Buy your spouse one thoughtful gift every month
- Make a homemade gift or write a handwritten letter (putting in thought like this really conveys caring!)
- Celebrate special days, whether large or small
- Regularly jot down gift ideas you know your spouse will like
- Acts of Service – doing things you know your partner wants you to do
- Do one kind thing for your spouse every day
- Respond to requests with “yes,” “of course,” “I’d be happy to” or “what else can I do?”
- Do one major chore your partner would love at least once per month (eg, deep-clean house, home repair, paying bills, sprucing up yard)
- Give spouse time off by taking care of kids, washing dishes, cleaning house
- Physical Touch – expressing love through touching
- Give partner hug and kiss immediately after arriving home
- Initiate intimacy on a regular basis
- Schedule and provide massages
- Touch your spouse whenever you are physically close to each other (eg, hold hands, put arm around her, put hand on his leg or shoulder)
How to Use Love Languages to Develop Positive Habits
Before developing new habits in these 5 areas, it’s important to keep in mind a couple of things. First, you must focus on those actions YOUR PARTNER finds most fulfilling. Many of us make the mistake of doing what leads us to feel loved. In most relationships, each partner experiences caring differently. To figure out your spouse’s love language, have him/her create a list of at least 20 things, big and small, that lead them to feel loved (or just read the book).
Second, in order to develop positive relationship habits based on your partner’s love language, you must figure out ways to perform loving acts on a regular basis. Using the examples in each category above, pick one or two and think about how you can make these acts habitual.
For example, I know it feels really good to my wife when I say nice things to her. I’ve tried to make it a point to tell her on a regular basis things I appreciate about her. I’ve come to realize, though, that trying to express appreciation really isn’t good enough. It helps, but what actually happens is I only end up saying something when I happen to think of it. Which is probably not often enough!
Instead, I plan on stacking habits by expressing appreciation onto things I already do every day, such as:
- Send her a text right before I take my first bite of lunch every day
- Just as I turn off my light to go to sleep, I will tell her one thing I appreciated she did that day
- Talk about one thing I love about her every day when we sit down to dinner
Even if I did just one of these things every day for a week, I think it would make a huge difference!
So what are you going to do for your partner? Do you even know what leads him/her to feel truly loved? How are you going to figure that out? Drop me a note and tell me what your partner’s love language is and what habit you worked on to supercharge your connection. I’d love to hear the creative ideas you come up with!