Look at those babies, y’all! ♥
Daniel and I were 23 and 21, respectively, when we took these engagement photos on that cold November day, and we were absolutely crazy about each other. I remember thinking, “How could I possibly love this guy more??” I couldn’t imagine feeling any more affection for him than I already did. But as we have experienced marriage together over the last six years, I have learned that love really can deepen, and methods of showing love can change. You find out that there’s way more to romance than flowers and date nights.
According to Gary Chapman, there are five emotional love languages, or ways that people feel loved by others: physical touch, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation. Most people like all of them to a certain degree, but there are usually one or two that stand out more than the others. A lot of times, spouses don’t have the same love language, which is why it’s so important to be aware of what they are. A husband could spend all day doing acts of service for his wife because that’s what makes him feel cared for, but the wife will just be frustrated because he didn’t spend any quality time with her. Daniel and I are that way: he is pretty evenly split between physical touch and acts of service, and I am all about words of affirmation, although gifts is a really close second. Knowing what love language speaks the loudest to your husband (and to yourself) can be life-changing for your marriage.
If you’ve never taken the quiz before, give it a whirl and ask your husband to take it too. When you get his results, check out the ideas below for ways to love him in the way that’s most meaningful to him. If you aren’t married, you could even have your family members or close friends take the quiz to find out how to best show them love too!
- Give him a back rub/neck rub/foot rub. Don’t wait for him to ask – offer!
- Grab his hand anytime you’re walking together.
- Prioritize intimacy. Receiving affection from him coldly or going long lengths of time without being together can be devastating to a “touch” husband.
- Sit close and cuddle on the couch when you watch a movie.
- Always make hugs and kisses part of your hellos and goodbyes.
- On your weekly grocery run, pick up his favorite snack. Instead of putting it in the pantry, tie it up with a bow and put it on his side of the bed for him to find later.
- If he has an Amazon list or something similar, keep an eye on it and buy something off of it once in a while. Not for a birthday or anniversary; just because.
- Make a special dessert you know he loves – bonus points if it’s something he likes but you don’t.
- If you need gift ideas, pay attention to sentences that start with “I’ve always wanted ___.” (Personally, I keep a private note on my phone to keep track of things Daniel says he would love to do or own.)
ACTS OF SERVICE:
- This skill grows with time, but learning to anticipate your husband’s needs can be a huge gift to him. Make his coffee while he’s in the shower. Replace his toiletries or favorite snacks before he runs out. Pack or lay out outfit ideas for him to pack when you go on vacation. Make sure the clothes he wears for work are clean and ready when he needs them. Intentionally watch for little ways you can make his life easier.
- Do a chore for him that he dreads, liking mowing the lawn or taking out the trash.
- Pamper him: run him a bath, bring him a cold drink, give him a warm towel straight out of the dryer, rub lotion into his tired feet, etc.
- Get his car detailed for him, or detail it yourself.
- Plan a fun day together or a date night – something he enjoys doing and something that will allow you to have comfortable conversations with each other.
- Go for a scenic drive or take a walk and ask him these questions.
- Ask for his advice about something and really listen to what he says. Show him that you value his input.
- Whatever you’re doing together, put your phone away. The key word here is quality time. Don’t make him compete for your attention.
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION:
- Write chalk love notes on the sidewalk for him to read when he gets home from work.
- Text him throughout the day – how hot he looked when he was working out, how thankful you are to be his wife, how proud you were to see him serving in your church…the mushier, the better!
- When he works hard on a project or does something nice for you, point it out and tell him how much you appreciate it.
- Hide a sweet card for him to find in his sock drawer, his car, or his briefcase.
A couple of caveats for these lists:
First of all, I am NOT advocating that a wife should be the only giving/loving spouse. Marriage is supposed to be 100/100: both of you seeking to out-serve each other. Husbands should work just as hard to love their wives. But I am not a husband; I’m a wife, so I’m writing from the wife’s perspective. And although I don’t have control over what my husband does, I do have control over what I do. Therefore, I AM advocating that wives go out of their way to spoil their husbands with love. God intended wives to be their husbands’ #1 fans, after all!
Second, attitude is EVERYTHING. You might be doing something nice, but if you have a dead look on your face or act distant, bored, or inconvenienced while doing it, your actions are useless. Try to think about if the situation were reversed. If he acted that way toward you – doing kind things purely out of resigned obligation – would you feel loved by that?
Third, when marriage is hard, you won’t feel like doing these things. Love is a choice, and respect and kindness are gifts. At some point (even if it’s just for one 10-minute argument), your spouse will not deserve them. Give them anyway. They are much easier to give when they are earned, but it is much more powerful to give them when they aren’t.
I hope you find these tips helpful! I love lists almost as much as I love practical ideas for making my husband feel special. My last piece of advice today is that no matter what your husband’s primary love language is, one of the absolute best ways to love him is to pray for him. Pray scripture over him for the times when he is overwhelmed (Ps 27:1), when he feels inadequate (John 14:27), when he is overcome with worry (Eph 3:20), for his relationships with others (Luke 6:36-38), and for his relationship with you (Phil 2:1-6). I think we underestimate how powerful prayer really is, and in the fight against sin, no weapon is stronger or more effective. ♥
This post is part of a series I started in order to expose myths and lies we’ve been told about married life, celebrate moments of joy and growth, chew on hard truths and sprinkle them with grace, and remind others (and myself!) that marriage doesn’t work without Christ in it. I have lots of ideas, but I’d love your input too! What topics would you like to see covered?