"What does my spouse complain about most often?" Our complaints reveal our deepest desires. Suzanne complained, "We don't have time for each other. We don't talk." Quality Time was her love language.
"What does my spouse request most often?" If your spouse routinely asks, "Would you help me make the bed?" "Would you give the children a bath tonight?" then Acts of Service may be his or her primary love language.
You need three things to be a successful lover.
1. Information. What is your spouse's love language?
2. Will. Love is an active choice.
3. Frequency. Use your spouse's primary language to express love regularly.
It took Suzanne nine months of counseling to work through the hurt, neglect, and lack of empathy she felt from Mark. But eventually their marriage was reborn.
"If anyone told me I could have loving feelings for him again, I would have never believed it," Suzanne told me. "But I do. He's speaking my language," she said, smiling. Learn to speak your spouse's love language and you too can live with a smiling mate!
Gary D. Chapman, Ph.D., a marriage and relationship expert and best-selling author of numerous books, including The Five Love Languages (Moody) and Covenant Marriage (Broadman & Holman), lives in North Carolina.
Copyright © 2004 by the author or Christianity Today/Marriage Partnership magazine. Click here for reprint information on Marriage Partnership.