Whole Parenting Family

What if I Really Practiced His Love Languages?


Like, really did. What would happen in our marriage?

Well, he showed me what would happen because for some unknown reason in December, or was it late November?, my husband of nearly seven years decided to LAVISH me with verbal affirmation.

I mean, it was hilarious. It was over the top. It was insane. It was . . . amazing.

To this second of this very day I’m not entirely certain what inspired him. He thinks it was when we had our home blessed by our wonderful priest with a particular prayer: the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart. He felt like the graces we received from that kicked him into constant personalized affirmation land.

I figured it was a way to battle against the winter blues that inevitably accompany long cold dark days away from us at the office, peppered with periodic trips out to our family Lodge in Wisconsin. But I digress.

Here’s what happened when my husband totally met my love language needs (and who knew my need for verbal affirmation was really so inordinately deep?):

1) We laughed. A lot.

They say laughter is the best medicine. It’s not as though I was ill, or our relationship was in a rough dark place (as it has been, haven’t all of ours?). Everything was just fine. Not splendid, but certainly not abysmal. But we laughed and laughed of his daily babblings about what a wonderful wife I was, and an award-winning mother, and a chef beyond compare (lies, lies, lies) made us both feel lighter. Happier. Funnier.

2) I started to believe it.

When he went on and on about how I took care of him and the kids and the house and managed to do my little side projects (oh! so! beautifully!), I started to believe it. Instead of feeling like a resident of frump-town, population me, I felt powerful, beautiful, and capable. In shedding my victim-status of mom-overrun-by-tantrumming-children-who-turns-to-her-phone-for-comfort, I felt like I could handle these long sunless days. I could because he thought I did. And he somehow thought I did it all masterfully.

3) My view on my life changed.

This sounds really extreme (like some reality tv show) but after weeks of hearing sincere thoughtful comments about how blessed he was, and how blessed we were, and how wonderful our life was, and how we could handle the ugly long days with grace and kindness, I did. I mean, I actually saw my days the way he described them. I viewed our little no-neck monster blessings as glowing fight sticks of gracious gifts. Instead of rant texting him about my trying afternoon where I accomplished nothing but driving kids around and warming up pasta sauce in a jar for dinner over very al denteeeed noodles, I was grateful.

My view really changed.

4) Our intimate life went deeper.

Not that we weren’t happily maritally embracing. We were. But my love language being constantly met & even at-capacity made me feel inseparably close to him all the time. Translating to more actual physical closeness. You get the idea.

5) When it tapered off, I wasn’t disappointed. I was grateful.

No one person can sustain the amount of verbal affirmation I craved for years on end, not even a long-distance runner like my husband who has great mental stamina. After the holidays and our swirling days of guests & gusto & gifts, it slowed down. We both were in hosting mode, and less in a focused-on-each-other mode, as if often the case when you are lucky enough to have lots of family with you.

But as I looked back and suddenly realized that the constant affirming of me had slowed, I wasn’t annoyed or craving to have those silly goofy high levels of it again. I was grateful. In part because now I knew I actually did have a maximum capacity for it and sometimes he tipped over that with his one, last compliment of the night. But also because I realized what power we have in each other’s lives. And what it would mean for him if I met and exceeded his love language needs.

That’s been part of my new resolution for this year. To meet his love language needs as much as I can, and to really soak up his attention and love for me when he’s showing it. We’re not lucky in love; we’re working in love. I hope you can try this experiment of saturating your love in his or her love language! It is never, ever too late to try.


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  1. Rachel @ Efficientmomma on January 27, 2016 at 8:49 am

    This is Beautiful. I tried this on my husband last year during a rough patch for us. Mostly because my love language is quality time and he was working so hard at two jobs. I made an effort every day to give him words of affirmation. And it helped ME get out of myself. And it helped him want to show me my love language in return.

    • Natural Mama Nell on January 27, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      What a great thing to share. Thanks, friend!

  2. Annie on January 27, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I’m envious! 😉 😉 I love hearing what inspired your husband to do this, and especially how it changed your view on life! I totally get that — in a similar, but different scenario, I’ve been saying my own sort of loving & positive affirmations out loud (to myself and whoever else might be in the room!) about the things and people around me, and it has HUGELY increased my happiness and contentment with life just as it is.

    • Natural Mama Nell on January 27, 2016 at 12:18 pm


  3. Marley on January 27, 2016 at 11:47 am

    I have a question: how did he convey all of the verbal affirmation sincerely? Honestly as I was reading this article, I thought about doing it for my husband (who is words of affirmation), but kept thinking it would come off as fake… Even your joking comment about the compliments being lies gave me pause. Even though the actual compliments I would give him may be true, I can’t help but think the energy behind it would be false or lying… I have no doubt that your husband did all of this very sincerely, but unless the Holy Spirit hits me over the head with a dove, I’m not sure I will be able to do it without sounding horribly fake. Thank you!

    • LPatter on January 27, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      I bet there are things that you could say out loud that you take as “known” or understood between you but that feel so good to hear said. Everyone’s personality is different and some can be a little over the top and charming without losing sincerity- but that approach won’t work for everyone. What are his strengths? What are little and big things you can be positive about? If you think lots of compliments would be an overload how about just a certain number on purpose each day (3?)

      • Natural Mama Nell on January 27, 2016 at 2:41 pm

        His love language isn’t verbal affirmation–but I’ve been working on the ones that are 😉

  4. Jean on January 27, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    I love this! What a great post! Thanks for the inspiration as usual!

  5. AnneMarie on January 27, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    This is great! I love learning other people’s love languages!!! Knowing my husband’s (and vice versa) has definitely been a good way to stay in touch with the small ways that we can love each other every day.

  6. Susanna on January 27, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    I have been trying since Saturday Mom’s group. I still am soooo bad at thinking of things to say!

    • Natural Mama Nell on January 27, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      He’s handsome! He’s intelligent! He’s kind! He’s a great dad! You like his shirt! You like his tie! hahaha you’re awesome that you’re being such a great wife and trying!!

  7. Christina on January 29, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    This is so, so good. I’m admittedly kind of terrible at this, but I’m trying! I keep trying to shower him in MY love language, which is, obviously, a disaster. But I’m also a little nervous that if I was as effusive as this in HIS love language… we’d already have wayyyy more kids . LOL.

    • Natural Mama Nell on January 31, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      Laughing so hard because I’m fairly certain many of our spouses’ love language is physical touch. Finding ways to meet that as best as we can without necessarily having sex is always a work in progress!

  8. Sara on January 29, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Love this whole thing but the icing on the cake: “We’re not lucky in love; we’re working in love.”

    • Natural Mama Nell on January 31, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      It’s such a beautiful journey!

  9. Ryian Hilpisch on February 17, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    I definitely need to work on this more, great read and reminder!

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 20, 2016 at 11:56 am

      It’s a challenge for me! Ongoing!