Don't tell me you love me. Show me: How to enhance romance with the 5 love languages

The book, "The 5 Love Languages" teaches there are different ways that we tell each other "I love you." While learning your preferred love language is helpful, incorporating all five can really enhance romance in your marriage.

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  • Author Gary Chapman recognizes that maintaining healthy relationships is a daily, lifelong pursuit. In his book, "The 5 Love Languages" Chapman suggests each of us has a primary love language, an expression of love that is most meaningful to us. It is helpful to know your spouse's love language so that you can focus on that area of expression. However, we can really bump up the romance when we use all five love languages to enhance our relationships.

  • The five love languages are:

  • 1. Words of affirmation

  • You might have grown up in a family that didn't often say, “I love you.” That's OK. Verbally expressing your love doesn't have to start — or stop — with “I love you.”

  • Express your gratitude and appreciation. Notice something your wife has done and tell her you appreciate her efforts. Tell your husband you are grateful for his hard work providing for your family.

  • Encourage your spouse in his endeavors. Voice your confidence in him. Let him know you are proud of his accomplishments.

  • Compliment your spouse often. Tell your wife she looks beautiful; that you love that color on her, or those jeans fit her perfectly. Tell your husband you love his muscles, his eyes are gorgeous, and he still makes your heart beat faster when he comes home. Be creative. Make it fun.

  • Try it

  • Compliment your spouse in a different way each day this week. For some ideas to get you started, visit Daily Odd Compliment.

  • 2. Acts of service

  • For some people, actions speak louder than words. Think about ways you can make your spouse's life easier. Wash his car on the weekend. Put the kids to bed so your wife can take a break. Cook your husband his favorite meal. Set the table or put away dishes without having to be asked.

  • Try it

  • This week, take over one chore that your spouse usually does.

  • 3. Receiving gifts

  • The thing to remember with this love language is that it's not the gift, but the thought behind the gift that counts. The perfect gift tells your spouse you know her, care for her, and prize her.

  • Recently, I've taken an interest in gourmet cooking. I bought some kitchen toys to support my new hobby, including a cast iron skillet. My husband came home one night with a scrubber made specifically for cast iron cookware. I love that scrubber! What made it special to me? My husband noticed my interests and brought me something he knew would be useful to me.

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  • Try it

  • Personality Cafe recommends you keep a “gift idea” notebook. This week, listen to your spouse. Each time you hear him say, “I like that,” write it down. Choose one thing from the list to surprise him.

  • 4. Quality time

  • Quality time is more than just being together; it is all about giving your spouse your undivided attention. Turn off the computer and TV and put away your cell phone.

  • Take a walk together, or go out to dinner. Listen when your husband is speaking without interrupting. Engage in a real and meaningful conversation. Let your wife express herself without offering advice, or trying to fix the problem. If possible, schedule a getaway with just the two of you at least once a year.

  • Try it

  • Make a list of five activities you and your spouse would enjoy doing together. Do one of them this week.

  • 5. Physical touch

  • There are many ways to express love through physical touch, up to and including regular sex. Holding hands, snuggling on the couch while you watch TV, and giving your wife a back rub will fill the need to be physically close.

  • As newlyweds, my husband used to pinch my tush every time he followed me upstairs. After more than 20 years of marriage, he still gives me a little pinch now and then. It lets me know that, after all this time, he still finds me attractive.

  • Try it

  • Are you a morning person? Kiss your spouse good-bye before work in the morning. If mornings aren't a good time for you, greet your spouse with a hug when you or he gets home from work.

  • Learning a new language takes practice, but the benefits — a happier, more romantic marriage — are worth it.

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Shelli Howells is a creative fiction writer, and a mother of six.

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