How to Love Your Spouse Better.



Sam Kirk took the gold medal in the Perfect Man Olympics Saturday night.

This little known sporting event originated the summer Sam and I lived in France. One afternoon, he not only fixed our single neighbor lady’s lawn mower, but then he mowed her lawn.

“In my life, I never think I have a reeel Amereekan cowboy mowing my lawn,” she said as we stood by watching. “He reeely is ze perfect maan.”

Upon hearing that story, which I’ve repeated with the French accent at least 500 times, my family began calling Sam the Perfect Man. But a title that bold really begs for some objective measure, so you know, let the games begin.

Anyway, on Saturday night, the girls were over for our 11th Love Dinner. There were cupcakes, pink ribbons and benedictions because Shelby just got up from 12 weeks of bed rest, still pregnant, with a healthy baby girl in her belly. This is an absolute triumph that we were celebrating even before she produced a tube of KY and a mini ultrasound from her purse, so we could listen to Sophie Kay’s heart.

Somewhere in the midst of the estrogen fog, Sam slipped in the patio door with an armload of wood and lighter fluid. Within minutes, the fire I planned to build but hadn’t gotten around to, was blazing in the fireplace. Not only that, a second fire was blazing in the pit outside, under the full moon. To a giggling chorus of “Hi Sam!” he gave a quick wave and slipped back out to watch football in the man cave.

I’m telling you that to tell you this:

If you ever want to know how to love your spouse better there’s a book you should read.

The Five Love Languages published nearly 20 years ago, is a Christian classic and perennial New York Times Bestseller. If you’ve never read it, the premise is, there are generally five ways people express love for one another: Words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, quality time and gifts.

The trouble is, a lot of us love our spouses the way we want them to love us. Then we can’t understand why they feel unloved. Author Dr. Gary Chapman maintains, the more successful approach is to find out which expression means the most to your spouse and do that.

 Photo Credit: Stephanie Wallace

Photo Credit: Stephanie Wallace

Want to guess what mine is?

Yep, acts of service. That’s why when Sam built a fire for me and my girlfriends, I felt utterly loved by him in a much more powerful way than if he’d walked in with a $200 gift card from DSW.

Now don’t get me wrong, gift cards are awesome, so are words of affirmation. In fact, when people ask what my love language is I often say, “All of them!” But honestly, if you know me, fire trumps shoes every time.

Want to know what Sam’s is? (OMG He loves it when I blog about him. I’m probably going to get a talking to.)

For a long time, I thought it was physical touch, but it’s not. He’s just a man and is naturally inclined that direction. Sam’s love language is quality time, which explains why he goes a little bonkers when I travel to Africa for a month at a time. I cannot believe how long it took me to figure that out.

I still travel to Africa for a month at a time, so this is a tricky spot for us but at least I understand it better. Knowledge is power.

So, if you ever feel like your spouse just doesn’t get how much you love him, it may be he just needs you to love him differently. This book provides some easy framework for doing that.

Have you read the book? What’s your love language?


2 thoughts on “How to Love Your Spouse Better.

  1. Great post Erin! I’ve always enjoyed that book, and it’s a key element to healthy relationships-with spouses, family, and friends (really, anyone who you are in relationship with.) I also like to consider someone’s love language in terms of how they SHOW love. I think Gary Chapman points out in the book that oftentimes someone will have different love languages for how they give/show love, and how they receive it.

    For example, I tend to express love through acts of service and spending quality time with someone. However, I feel the most loved when someone me through words of affirmation. 🙂

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