I just recently finished reading The Five Love Languages: Military Edition by Gary Chapman. In this book, marriage counselor Dr. Chapman goes in-depth about the importance of filling your spouse’s “love tank”, and how to do so by discovering his or her love language. He emphasizes the importance of and how crucial it is to know your partner’s love language, as well as your own. Countless vignettes are given of couples on the brink of divorce that have been saved by practicing their partners love language. The book of course talks about each love language and how to express love in those ways to your partner. The book caters towards military couples by giving examples and ideas of how to love your partner while he or she is deployed, and how the deployed spouse can provide love to the home front spouse.
The five main love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
-Praise, appreciation, loving words, loving intonations in the way requests or remarks are made. All of these things and more go into speaking words of affirmation. The tone of our voice can convey more about our emotions than the words themselves, so it is important to keep that in mind while communicating words of affirmation to your partner. Some ideas Dr. Chapman has for expressing words of affirmation are writing kind letters, reminding your spouse of what attracted you to him/her when you met, and complimenting your spouse in the presence of others (regardless of whether your spouse is present).
- Quality Time
Spending high quality, undistracted time with just your spouse. Going on walks together, sitting on the couch and talking (without phones), playing a board game, doing anything that 100% devotes your attention to your spouse is the language of quality time. And note he says quality time, not just mindlessly watching a movie on the couch or sitting at a restaurant on a “date” scrolling through your phones. Quality time also means joyfully partaking in an activity your spouse enjoys but you might not. There are many ways to give your spouse quality time, but as long as you are entirely focused on each other the time spent together will be much appreciated.
- Receiving Gifts
Big gifts, small gifts, purchased, or homemade, the spouse who speaks this language loves to feel thought of by his or her partner. Chapman explains how you do not have to break the money bank to fill your partner’s love tank, your partner is fulfilled by the thought of being thought of. Some examples the author has for gifts are picking a pretty flower you see while out on a walk, leaving notes for your spouse, picking up a special treat from the grocery store, or buying him or her a postcard or trinket while on a business trip. Something as seemingly small as receiving an unexpected card or a pretty stone your spouse found can really show that you are thought of and loved.
- Acts of Service
This love language is filled by performing tasks for your spouse, regardless of whether you enjoy them or not. Doing chores, cooking meals, taking care of the bills, or spending time with the children are all examples Dr. Chapman gives of acts of service. Creating a special place for your loved one to relax, or taking on a house project, or even emptying the dishwasher without being asked can mean a lot to the spouse who craves acts of service.
- Physical Touch
The last love language, physical touch, is not merely just sex. It is any physical contact of any kind, be it a hug, a touch on the shoulder, or holding hands while sitting on the couch. The spouse who needs physical touch to feel loved and does not get it will feel disconnected, unloved, and unwanted. Dr. Chapman has some good examples of how to share physical touch with your spouse during a deployment cycle.
Dr. Chapman does state that you or your partner might have more than one primary love language. He explains how if you and your partner have different primary love languages, it is all the more important to put work into learning how to speak their language.
At the end of the book, there are two quizzes for Him and for Her that will help you to determine your own love language. My husband thought he knew what his was, but his quiz answers revealed different answers.
This book taught me a lot about the different ways to love my husband, as well as ways that I may be doing the opposite and making him feel unloved. I am guilty of nagging him to do or not do things, such as soak the dishes in the sink instead of just leaving them there, or telling him to not sleep in. The book taught me that I could phrase the way I communicate these requests to my husband in a way that is not nagging or criticizing. I can ask him in a polite way to please soak the dishes so that I can wash them easier, or ask him kindly if he would mind waking up at 8am to go on a walk with me. After reading this book I am much more aware of the way I say things to him and am trying to be more kind and loving.
Overall this was a quick, informative, and helpful book full of practical ideas on how to love your spouse properly. I know this book will come in handy when we start deployments, and I look forward to being able to show my love in a myriad of ways from both at home and from afar.