On Friday morning, I was listening to 107.5 K-Love radio on my way to work. I love listening to Skip and Amy’s radio-talk show in the mornings. They really help set the precedence for the day by giving me positive and encouraging music and discussion to listen to in the morning. I highly encourage you to check out the different K-Love stations. I always flip to K-Love 107.5 during my commutes.
On this particular morning, Amy recommended that we should be asking our significant others, whether that be our spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend, a simple question.
“What makes you feel most loved?”
She went on to say that relationship and marriage counselors and psychologists recommend that we constantly are asking our significant other this simple question. What makes you feel most loved?
I took a moment to really digest these six words, given there’s thousands of possible answers to this question. Each individual feels and expresses love differently due to how they were raised, what their past relationships were like, or how they interact/ interacted with their parents during childhood to adulthood. Obviously, there’s infinite factors that could have played a role in what makes someone feel loved! She also briefly mentioned how this question could relate to the 5 love languages.
Later on that evening, Christian and I had date night at new restaurant in town that I was totally excited about. I was really excited to ask Christian this question, and I saved it in my back pocket for conversation that evening until I thought it was the right time. So after our scallops were served, I popped him the question, “What makes you feel most loved?“
He tilted his head to the side, and said, “That’s a really good question. I need think about that.” Then he hesitated and went on to explain that he feels most loved when someone appreciates the things that he does. My husband feels most loved by me when I verbally affirm him for what he does for our family and relationship.
In turn, he asked me, “What makes you feel most loved?”
“I feel most loved when someone really gives me their undivided attention and spends quality time with me,” I said.
I thought Christian and I received love differently? How can this be? George Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” sheds light on this phenomenon. What are the different ways people give and receive love?
The 5 Love Languages
- Words of Affirmation – Using encouraging words to build up your spouse – Thank you for providing for our family! Thank you for taking out the trash.
- Gifts – When he gives you flowers, you think he loves me and wanted to make my day. A gift represents that they were thinking of you.
- Acts of Service – Doing something for someone that they normally do or need to do – Cleaning out their car or cooking a meal for them.
- Quality Time – Giving your spouse your undivided attention – Sitting on the couch and having a conservation with no phones.
- Physical Touch – Physical expressions of love – kissing, sex, holding hands, etc.
Well, Christian and I have different love languages. How can this work? It is our jobs to find out what each others’ love languages are and make a concerted effort to demonstrate love to each other in that manner.
It should also be noted that what makes us feel most loved can also make us feel most rejected. For example, let’s say your husband is a Words of Affirmation type. On Tuesday, he takes out the trash and then you say something like, “Thank God! It was really beginning to smell. I wish you would have taken that out like a week ago.” Not going to fly well with him. He may feel rejected and disrespected after doing something for you!
So notice from the example above, taking out the trash is an act of service. Maybe your spouse does not know your love language, and he constantly does acts of service to show his love for you. But you don’t really feel loved when he does these things. Not because you are a bad spouse, but because you are a Physical Touch type.
In addition to finding out how your spouse receives love, we should also try to figure out how they are use to giving it. When Christian and I first started dating, both of us showed affection by giving gifts. But neither of us received love that way so the gift giving was short-lived. This can also lead to rejection. Your spouse may being showing you care for you just not in the way you receive it. When the actions they show love in are rejected, it may feel just as awful as when you do say or do something that is the opposite of the way they receive love.
So what can we do? How can we save our marriages and relationships from this vicious cycle of misunderstanding? Ask your significant other the question I asked my hubby, “What makes you feel most loved?” Listen. Then when they ask you the same question, you tell them how you feel most loved. From there, consult the 5 Love Languages listed above and figure out which one fits what your significant other described.
Yes, it seems simple, but it can be very challenging to create a new habit. As I mentioned, I was use to giving love through gifts but also I do acts of service. I like to cook, clean the house, do laundry, etc. To me, this demonstrated that I love Christian, but he has told me really could care less about that stuff.
Christian also used to a big gift giver. The day he asked me to be exclusive he bought me candy and a journal. It was super thoughtful, but I felt a little overwhelmed by receiving a gift so soon into the relationship. We were both giving love in ways that did not meet the need of the other person, not because we were bad lovers. We just didn’t know each other’s love language.
In marriage and relationships, I also think we can get focused on ourselves. We feel that our spouse does not make us feel loved rather than trying to figure how they feel loved. We want our own needs to be gratified and forget about the other person. But if we take the time to ask these questions and then actually make a consistent effort our marriage and relationships will flourish!
Need help figuring out your or your spouse’s Love Language? Here are links to love language quizzes: