When a book is a #1 New York Times bestseller with over 15 million copies sold, it’s safe to say it’s creating impact. Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages first hit the shelves 29 years ago and has been a game changer ever since. The premise is this: “different people with different personalities express love in different ways”. As a marriage counsellor, Dr. Chapman discovered five primary expressions of love: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. As you prepare for your wedding day, this revolutionary concept may be helpful in showing love towards your partner and developing a foundation for a lasting marriage.
“You love each other, right? So why does it feel like you’re not on the same page? The most common issue in any relationship is the communication barrier. Everyone experiences love differently, and it’s easy to miss the mark when it comes to showing that you care.” – Dr Gary Chapman
So how do you show that you care? Do you know how to speak your fiancé’s love language? Are you aware which language makes you feel most loved? Everyone gives and receives love differently. So, let’s take a closer look at the five love languages, and some of the practical ways they can be outworked when planning a wedding.
Words of Affirmation
This language uses words to affirm people. Unsolicited compliments are delighted in. Hearing why your partner loves you makes your heart soar. Having them express empathy or show appreciation is highly encouraging. Insults, a lack of recognition, or non-constructive criticism will be damaging, whereas affirming words will play a powerful role in repairing trust, leading towards reconciliation and restored intimacy.
- Express specific feelings along with the reason behind those feelings, e.g. “I’m so thankful for you [feeling] and the time you spent putting together a budget [reason]”.
- Send affirming words through an encouraging text, note, or social media shout out.
- Acknowledge feelings and offer support, e.g. “It sounds like juggling work and wedding planning is overwhelming… how can I help?” (note: they may just need a sounding board).
- Give your partner a compliment for no apparent reason.
- Listen carefully and feedback empathetically, e.g. “That must be tough for you to manage so many family expectations”.
- React with enthusiasm to accomplishments, celebrating the small wins along the way.
Acts of Service
For these people, actions speak louder than words. They want to know that you are there for them in the most practical of ways. Any act of service that will ease a burden, assist with their daily workload, or be a hands-on expression of your love will go down well. Prioritising others more highly or lacking follow-through on tasks will make your partner feel unvalued and unloved.
- Pitch in with practical wedding preparations like mailing invitations, picking up dresses/suits, booking transportation… the list is endless!
- Take on a special project for the wedding such as building a ceremony arbour.
- Support your partner by keeping your commitments to attend wedding appointments.
- Free your partner up to handle wedding-related tasks by alleviating some of their routine tasks, g. cook them a meal, take their dog for a walk, mow their lawn.
- Do something unexpected for your partner such as picking up their morning coffee.
- Ease their load by offering to do something for them that they don’t particularly enjoy, e.g. “Let me take care of signing the paperwork and paying invoices”.
For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift. Don’t confuse this love language with a materialistic streak. What means the most to them is not the gift itself, but the thought and effort behind the gift. Receivers feel known and loved when a level of sacrifice has been put into arranging it. Forgetting a special date, giving a thoughtless gift, or the absence of small gestures will make them feel insignificant.
- Give your partner a countdown gift, e.g. a bottle of wine with a card reading “1 month to go – I can’t wait to marry you!”.
- Purchase small gifts through your wedding suppliers, e.g. get wedding cake samples gift boxed for a sweet night in, or order a monogrammed notebook through the stationery house.
- Ease their wedding planning stress with a voucher for a float tank session or massage.
- Surprise them with a curated wedding playlist or slideshow/video to be played at the reception.
- Prepare a meaningful and lasting gift for the morning of the wedding day, e.g. The Adventure Challenge is a scratch-off keepsake of 50 date ideas to take into your marriage.
- Amidst the busyness of wedding planning, don’t forget to give your partner a gift to celebrate their birthday or special occasion.
This language is all about giving the other person your focused attention. One-on-one time is critical whether that’s spent in quality conversation, a shared activity, or simply being together. Quality timers feel special when they have your undivided attention. They will feel a lack of love if you are distracted or multi-tasking, if you postpone a date, or if there’s been a significant stretch of time apart.
- Take a road trip together to visit reception venues and make the most of a day out.
- Treat your fiancé to dinner at a potential wedding venue (we hear the menu at Factory51 serves up delicious Italian goodness!).
- Silence your phone and place it out of reach in order to connect through quality conversation.
- Spend an afternoon together selecting items to go on your wedding registry. You’ll learn a lot about your partner through this activity!
- Plan to have uninterrupted leisure time together where wedding activity/talk is off-limits.
- Invest in pre-marital counselling sessions to deepen your relationship.
To the touchy-feely person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate physical touch. This love language is primarily expressed through a myriad of smaller points of non-verbal contact and body language, fostering a sense of security and belonging. Being present and accessible to connect through touch is highly important, just as abuse or an absence of loving physical contact will leave them feeling out in the cold.
- Walk into wedding appointments holding hands and give small reassuring touches as you make decisions together.
- Maintain open and positive body language as you have conversations about plans, concerns, or hopes/dreams for the future.
- Hold your partner in a heartfelt embrace when there’s been a setback or disappointment experienced in wedding arrangements.
- Don’t let your to-do list be at the expense of intimacy. Carve out intentional time together whether that’s couch snuggles whilst watching a movie, or connecting through an activity like dancing lessons.
- Wedding planning can be stressful work! Give your partner a neck, back, or foot rub to ease any built-up tension or anxiety.
- Enjoy a meaningful 15-second kiss after being apart as a way to reconnect.
Learning how to best express love to your partner will not only help during the process of wedding planning, but will be an invaluable skill to take into your marriage. If you’d like to connect over dinner or come view our rustic industrial wedding venue together, make an appointment today.
This post is not endorsed or affiliated with Dr. Gary Chapman or The 5 Love Languages, however if you would like to know more or take the online quiz, visit The 5 Love Languages.