Love Languages

I have a good marriage. Better than many I imagine. But it was not always this good, my wife once suggested that we see a marriage counselor. I was hesitant to do so partly because I am a big cheapskate and we were quite poor, but also because I didn’t put much stock into that kind of thing.

Fortunately the Pullman Washington Stake decided to have a long-time marriage counselor with LDS social services do a fireside on marriage. This was exactly what we needed. My wife would get to listen to a marriage counselor with me, and it was all FREE!

This counselor had all kinds of great stories to tell from his years or work. He was quite a funny guy. But the big breakthrough for my wife and I was a test that he had everybody take regarding love languages.

There were 21 multiple choice questions that asked you to rank different ways of showing and receiving expressions of love. It was an eye-opening thing. There were three main categories of love expression: physical affection, words of appreciation, and service.

My score came in at 1, 1, 19. This is a little extreme. For me physical affection and appreciative words are not looked at as expressions of love. Service is what it is all about for me. If my wife wants to show her love for me, it almost has to be through service. When the dishes are done, and the laundry is caught up, and dinner is made – I feel loved. And when I cook dinner, and change diapers, and mow the lawn, and go to work, I am not just doing chores. I am expressing love.

My wife scored 7, 7, 7. This is extreme in its own way. The counselor said that this type of person is the hardest type to love. They want it all. The hugs and kisses and words of appreciation that my wife gives are not just idle actions. They express love. I need to recognize that, especially at times when the house is a mess and nothing gets done. In addition, no matter how many household chores I do, it will never be enough for my wife. I need to be affectionate and verbally show my appreciation for her as well.

Understanding that my wife and I spoke a different language when it came to love was a very important event in the improvement of our marriage. I hope that this might help somebody in their marriage.

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10 Responses to “Love Languages”


  1. 1 Connor Boyack October 9, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    I wonder if there are any such tests out there on the internet to take (for free)? Granted, I’m not married yet (time to re-enlist the services of the Cupid of Jared!) but I think such a test would be eye-opening for many others, as well.

  2. 2 Proud Daughter of Eve October 9, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    You can always get it from the library. I attened a workshop on teaching Primary in which one of the presenters touted “The Five Love Languages” as a way to help you and your students understand what is important to one another. (You mentioned three; the other two are “Time” and “Gifts.”) I looked it up at my library and gave it a read. It’s a little on the pop-psych side but I found it interesting and useful all the same.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that I seem to be bi-lingual. It’s not that I’m like Eric’s wife with equal scores in each area. To show love I do service. To recieve love, well I won’t say that I don’t appreciate service but physical touch seems to mean more to me.

    It really is a good book and very helpful for relationships.

  3. 3 Johnna Cornett October 10, 2006 at 12:47 am

    It’s so interesting to read how they cut the five love languages down to three. I’m glad to see “gifts” go. My reaction when I read the book was that anyone who only feels loved by receiving gifts needs to grow up.

    But why do you think they cut “time”?

    And, I get a little cynical about men who feel loved because their wives manage the household well. That’s more like convenience than anything else.

  4. 4 Eric Nielson October 10, 2006 at 6:37 am

    Connor:

    I think PDOE answered your question well.

    PDOE:

    THanks for visiting here and leaving a comment. I have heard of other versions of this with five languages. I don’t know why this test only had three. This was about 17 years ago, maybe it is now an outdated test. Or perhaps a simplified version of it.

    Johnna:

    Thanks for your comment as well. I think my wife sees the houshold tasks as just chores to be done. I’m not sure why that service is so meaningful to me as an expression of love. It may be because I came from a family that never said ‘I love you’ to each other. We Nielsons are also not a very affectionate group. Service type love was about all I had growing up. Perhaps that is why I value it as much as I do.

  5. 5 Proud Daughter of Eve October 10, 2006 at 10:25 am

    Johanna: as someone for home “Service” is an important love language, I’m not cynical about men who appreciate a well-run house. It means that they appreciate all the work I do! Yes it’s full of chorse and drudgery but would you rather they said “It doesn’t mean anything to me to come home to a clean, organized house and a fresh, balanced meal?” I show my care by looking after the well-being of those I love. Conversely, when my husband takes care of something around the house (without my asking!) it makes me feel that he is aware of my workload and expressing his concern for me by lightening it.

  6. 6 Wade October 10, 2006 at 11:49 pm

    Connor:

    What happened to your latest flame? Man, I was hoping for the big announcement soon.

  7. 7 Connor Boyack October 11, 2006 at 9:25 am

    My latest flame… Well, it fizzled. 🙂 It was for the best, though. We remain friends, and things are amicable. But, it’s back to the drawing board. [sarcasm] Yippee! [/sarcasm]

  8. 8 Bookslinger October 12, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    Eric, the more I learn about you, the more I see you are the stereo-typical engineer. So yes, you and your wife do need to learn each other’s languages. I also HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus book. You both need to read that one.

  9. 9 BrianJ October 12, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    My wife went to an Enrichment nght where they went over this test. Of course, most of the women administered it to their husbands as soon as the got home. I was exactly equal in all five categories, which the test instructions frowned upon for some reason, but I don’t remember why (it was not for the reason mentioned above; ie. too hard to love).

    I had one major criticism of the test: there was no suggestion to answer the questions for your spouse, then compare your assessment to their self-assessment. I think it’s more important to know what your spouse thinks you like (so you can interpret their actions correctly) than knowing what you think you like.

  10. 10 Eric Nielson October 13, 2006 at 6:47 am

    That is a good point BrianJ. It is a two way street.


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