Love has a language - five in fact

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Randall D. Groves
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Chaplain
We were blind May 17, 1986 -- our wedding day. Sharon and I expressed traditional wedding vows to each other without fully understanding what we were doing.

We said, "I take you," but we failed to see that "you" included our respective families of origin.

We said, "To have and to hold," but we failed to see that our differences would make having and holding difficult.

We said, "For better, for worse," but we failed to see how "worse" could ever apply to us.

We said, "To love and to cherish," but we failed to see that there are a variety of ways to make someone feel loved, valued and cared for.

For a marriage to be healthy, a couple must adapt to each other in a variety of ways. One way to adapt is by discovering the unique way in which each person receives love.

Gary Chapman's book, "The Five Love Languages," describes five ways to communicate love: with spoken words of affirmation, by spending quality time together, by giving gifts, through acts of service and through physical touch.

For example, I feel loved when Sharon provides physical touch -- hugs, sex and hand-holding. However, Sharon feels loved when I provide acts of service -- helping in the kitchen, doing household repairs and managing the finances.

If I say "Ich liebe dich," but my wife doesn't speak German, have I communicated love? No.

If we want to love and cherish each other, we must adapt by speaking each other's love language. Until we do that, neither of us will feel loved.

Going into marriage blind is common. However there are a variety of excellent resources available to help create a healthy marriage.

Sign up for the Chapel's March 14-16 marriage retreat. Visit with your unit chaplain, mental health, family advocacy, the military and family life counselor or family support.