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Mina Martins: How Discovering My Husband’s Love Language Changed Everything

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dreamstime_m_2425042I am not one of those people obsessed with finding the next big ‘ultimate’ tip to saving your relationship. I believe that most of those books or speeches claiming to have the answer to all your relationship issues are probably lying to you  or just trying to sell you something. Even when I do come across something useful, I side-eye the heck out of it because I honestly believe that what works for one person will most likely not work for another.

So, when I came across the first article that mentioned the ‘five love languages,’ I simply just saw it as another gimmick. I read quite a few articles which kept referring to the phenomenon as a good way to get an insight into yourself and your relationship. I even came across a couple of quizzes that attempted to help you find your love language.

A love language, simply put,  refers to a way you receive and show love. It is your way of understanding what love is. It is what someone will do for you that will evoke the feelings of love and improve bonding in your relationship. It is that thing your partner will do for you that will make you believe they truly love you.

Gary Chapman, in his book titled, The 5 Love Languages, describes the five main ways couples give and receive love. Permit me to take a few minutes to give a brief explanation.

1. Physical Touch:
For those who value physical touch as a love language, they will only believe you love them if you put an effort into actually touching them. Kisses, hugs, hand-holding, sex and so on are the important ingredients in their relationship.Distancing yourself physically can make them feel unloved.

2. Gifts:
These are the people who respond well to thoughtful gifts. They feel loved when they know you put so much effort into presenting them with the things they love. Forgetting or not giving them something special for their birthdays, valentines, etc, is their turn off.

3. Words of Affirmation:
For this group, they require words of encouragement, positivity and praises for them to feel loved. Criticising them will leave them completely heartbroken.

4. Art of Service:
These people feel the love when you do things for them. They will appreciate things like fixing the light bulb, going on errands for them and so on. They are quick to feel unloved if you flake on helping them out when they need it.

5. Quality Time:
Those who consider quality time as their love language will feel more content in their relationship if their partner spends time with them. Blowing them off or spending time with other people (friends, colleagues) at their expense will make them feel unloved.

Sure, a person could have more than one love language, but there is usually a primary one.

For a while, in my marriage, I was absolutely certain that my husband was not a romantic. I was to eventually figure out that while I respond well to Words of Affirmation, my husband’s love language was Physical Touch. I have never been a touchy-feely kind of person, so I naturally stiffen whenever he tried to give me a random hug or hold my hands in public. He tried to do these things believing he was showing me love, but I still found myself feeling unhappy because he does not say encouraging words as often as I would like.

One day, during a random conversation in the evening, we were talking about a mutual friend who chose to raise a baby alone after her boyfriend left her while she was pregnant. He expressed how brave and amazing he thought she was. Something clicked in my head and I lashed out saying he never used such words to describe me. I went ahead and asked me to tell me the last time he said I was beautiful or strong or amazing. It soon became an argument. He responded that it was because he thinks I am beautiful that he likes holding my hands or hugging me in public, but I recoil like I was not attracted to him. We did not actually figure it out during the argument, it was much later that I realized that we were fighting because we were two people speaking different languages.

It was some time after that I found out about the love languages. It was truly an eye opener for me. I came home from work and my husband and I read it. We discussed the idea and eventually recognised what was important to us and communicated about it.

Sure, I never suddenly became a touchy-feely person, but I did make accommodation for his needs. I also try to give him those random hugs or hold his hands so he feel loved. And I have noticed that he puts in a lot of effort when it comes to encouraging and motivating me.

We could both have gone years with him feeling like I was not attracted to him and me feeling like he does not value me, but learning what we respond to does makes things so much easier.

Now whenever he randomly tells me he thinks I am an amazing mother and wife, or when I grab and kiss him for no apparent reason, we both feel happy, content and loved.

Photo Credit: Ron Chapple | Dreamstime.com

32 Comments

  1. GraceOfGOD

    August 16, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    @Mina Martins

    Good afternoon MADAM. Your article was an EYE OPENER for me just like those points were an eye opener for you. I am actually an EXTROVERT, I show my EMOTIONS whether GOOD or BAD. So each time I send a LOVELY message to my IMMEDIATE younger brother to ENCOURAGE him and I add EMOTICONS he says THANK YOU but WITHOUT EMOTICONS. I mean he does NOT really SHOW emotions and it HURTS me BADLY. He is NOT the ONLY one, even other MALE friends act like my brother without EMOTIONS. I know my brother LOVES me, I believe he APPRECIATES having me as a SISTER and I love him DEEPLY and wish him ALL the BEST this life can OFFER. I just feel SAD because he does not SHOW those emotions the way I NEED them. Anyway through your GREAT article I was able to REALISE that my brother actually SHOWS his EMOTIONS but in ANOTHER MANNER, he sends messages to CHECK on me, he PRAYS for me and pay ATTENTION to my well being. Men and Women are wired DIFFERENTLY and I guess I must take it that way or may be I could ask him to show his EMOTIONS the way I need them. Would that be WRONG? Have a GREAT day and stay BLESSED 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Ada

      August 16, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Na..people are just wired differently period. As you can see from the article her husband is a more touchy feely type. he desires kisses and hugs….some might argue his needs to be feminine or the needs of his wife to be masculine because she prefers words of affirmations. Gender aside, we all have our different needs. Lets not assume a person should appreciate certain gestures because of their gender, that is lazy. Find out what it is that actually makes them tick.

    • Bodunade

      August 16, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Love your capslock today!! Made your comment exciting lol

    • Confuzzled

      August 16, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      I COMpleteLY AGREE!!

    • Nope

      August 16, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      Nope. The caps gave me a mild migraine.

    • "changing moniker"

      August 17, 2016 at 6:42 am

      Yeah, I thought so too….unlike other times

    • Bodunade

      August 16, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Discovered this a while ago but thanks Mina for shedding more light.

      I’m definitely a PDA person. Plus communication, if you aren’t vocalising I feel left out and unloved. It’s a serious matter lol.

      No matter your Love language you achieve nothing without open and honest communication.

    • MC

      August 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      All this for your brother???

  2. winnie

    August 16, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    very helpful

  3. Abiola

    August 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    That book is the truth! It goes a long way. Also read the one for kids…amazing stuff! I am happy it helped your marriage…

  4. Naijatalk

    August 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    ….and they lived happily ever after. THE END.
    Sometimes relationships can be as simple as just discovering a significant other’s love language.

  5. Dee

    August 16, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Great piece. I don’t have a partner (yet) but understanding the love languages (and knowing mine) will surely help my relationship with him when the time comes. Keep the great articles coming Mina.

  6. Ebiye

    August 16, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    But how can somebody’s love language be always to touch,touch and wanting sex? Is that even a love language? My fiance does the most. You do something nice for him and he wants to touch, you compliment him, he wants to touch. If you don’t agree to getting down, he feels he has done something wrong. We can be having a happy conversation, laughing and all, next thing is to start being touchy feely. Ahhhhhaaannn! Can’t he learn another language. I travel and come back and he’ll be hugging someone like I was declared missing and now I’m found. If we’re talking and laughing he must sha come close. One of the issues we’re trying to deal with is sharing bedroom/bed when we get married. I cannot share bedroom. I don’t like sleeping with people/anybody on the same bed. It’s not about hygeine because I’m unhygenic compared to him. He is super hygenic and I have even become more hygenic and neater since being with him but I just don’t like sharing bed space or bedroom in general. He insists he cannot sleep without his wife on the same bed and I’m like what is your problem? We would be in the same house. I need to have my room and my room space. But no, he insists we must sleep together. Everybody is saying I’m crazy for even thinking like that. His mother is even saying is because I came from a broken home. I’m like what???!!!! Yes, I have never seen two adults share a room in my life but that’s not why. I just like my space and a lot of it. His father is nicer though, he talked to me and made a lot of sense. I really never knew married people actually share a room. Like two adults sharing a bed and sleeping space was a thing. I really thought it was for movies only The relationship is great apart from all this touchy feely in my space stuff. Sorry this is a rant. Great article Mina. At least I have learnt a whole lot. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad sharing. I mean people do it, right?

    • olly

      August 16, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      what you are complaining about is what other women want. Thank God for him

    • Teyona

      August 16, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      Sorry but sex addict alert!

      I’ve been married for 6 years now and this was how my husband liked to touch a lot before we got married. Now ehn, it has graduated to a constant desire for sex. The man is ALWAYS in the mood. We can have sex from 12 till 2 am and at 6am he wakes me up with some rubbing up.

      I can’t even mistakenly be undressing in front of him. He must pounce. He’s quite happy to miss an important flight so he can have another session. It’s a daily struggle. And I don’t care what anyone says, it is very very irritating. And exhausting. I can only get a good night’s rest when he’s out of town. I go to work tired a whole lot because the man won’t let me rest.

      Sometimes I want to cuddle on the sofa and talk, but once I attempt it, it turns into groping of breast etc. I’ve spoken to him several times about it and he says he will change because he recognizes the problem too, but that change is looking like Buhari’s type.

      Abeg I’m tired oh

    • Omoté

      August 16, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      Ebiye ! Shuoooo! U have to find a way to share bed n room space oh! He may agree now but eventually he’d start resenting u. The bedroom is ur center, the day begins there and ends there. Separate bedrooms is a big ‘No No’ for any young couple oh!

    • Tutu

      August 16, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Looool @ can he learn another language. You should share your room and bed with your husband. The bible talks about the marriage bed undefiles not beds.

    • Hotspice_yimu

      August 16, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      Chai!!! Who get cap nor get head, who get head nor get cap!

    • Awww

      August 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      I think you just need to adjust to it. It’s outside your comfort zone for now but I think you’ll get used to it and even enjoy it.

    • Biker Chic

      August 16, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      Ebiye, can l have his phone number pls. I just want to discuss quantum physics with him.

    • Nunulicious

      August 17, 2016 at 1:42 am

      @ Ebiye. Hahahahahaha hahahaha
      Gosh your comment is tickling me so much. Lool.
      Do women like you exist?
      Hahahahahaha. One of the issues we had was when he even THOUGHT of separate bedrooms. Lai Lai. I no gree oh. Hahahahahaha and you’re complaining.

      Practical tips….Ask for a big bed and get plenty plenty pillows. Soft feather pillows and give him to snuggle at night.
      A large room with windows/sliding doors would make you feel less claustrophobic. If you can do walk in closet too…
      If you can have a safe room in the house…You know the way guys have a study/den
      Maybe pray he gets a job that makes him travel frequently so it makes it easier.
      But most importantly, both of yous mindset na the critical success factor.
      Not that you asked for advice oh. Pardon my forwardness

    • "changing moniker"

      August 17, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Awww, I get you. ….
      Funny thing us you might eventually love it, and give it a few years, when you guys have become “an old couple “, he won’t mind so much…..you ,ight nit even want it anymore. Just give if a try now. …..
      I like your real and honest comment Ebiye.

      Mina o, I Kent see your article and pass….that’s how much I love you,,,, I discovered this love languages book in 2014, I began to understand him better.
      I recommend Making Marriage simple by Harville and Helen, please write an article on it, when you’ve read and applied it.

    • Jemimah

      August 17, 2016 at 11:15 am

      @Ebiye,enjoy what you have! Do you know what some ladies will do to have half of what you have. As regards bed sharing,you can get a big one to accommodate the both of you cos it’s not advisable for married couples to have separate rooms.

    • Olamicit

      August 17, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      I feel u my sister, I dated a guy that if we are not touching then he is either watching a movie or reading paper, but anything having to do with me involved touching. Pple didn’t get my reason for calling it off but me I just couldn’t deal, felt really wierd. I don’t totally agree on the sharing bed issue tho, I’ll love to share a bed though there are times I love my space.

    • think about it

      August 19, 2016 at 12:10 am

      Wow, I wish my husband was like yours. I’m the touchy feely type but since I married my husband he’s the exact opposite. This guy only wants me to touch him during love making. Outside of that he recoils when I try to cuddle with him. He’s not big on PDA. Oh well…..I envy you.
      Well now you are learning on ways to improve your relationship. Good luck.

  7. Aisha

    August 16, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    @Ebiye: Hmm!Maybe you both need to seek some sort of professional counseling before the big day? i say this with love because I cannot imagine my husband and I sleeping in different rooms. What for?
    We definitely have to cuddle, kiss and talk a bit before dozing off.
    @Teyona: And you think you have a problem?! Please carry out a survey and see what many women are begging/crying for. You no get wahala. But on a more serious note, be sure to talk things out with him as per your individual sex drives because there is nothing as disastrous as non-compatible sex drives.

    Stay blessed all.

    • Pariah

      August 17, 2016 at 7:17 am

      Aisha it is comments like this that make people not want to bother sharing their problems. Do you not see the stress Teyone is under due to the unreasonable sex demands? Why will someone be going to work tired constantly? Sex addiction is a real problem. Like alcohol or any other addiction. The moment she doesn’t give in to his demands, he will be outside poking the next available hole. Google sex addiction and find out more. Yet here you are belittling her issue because as far as you’re concerned other women want this.
      And then you’re saying she should discuss with him, abi you didn’t read where she said she’s done that? Hold yourself abeg

  8. Ope

    August 17, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Afi Quantum physics

  9. Akanna Okeke

    Akanna Okeke

    August 17, 2016 at 1:50 am

    This is good, Mina! I was contemplating getting the book: The 5 Love Languages. Now it’s a must! Great insight!

  10. Bird

    August 21, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    I love this article and the comments. We all learn from each other. I am a touchy, gifts, words of affirmation person. I love the comments too. We all learn from each other. I married. But sometimes, it’s hard to communicate some of these languages. I love sex but my husband is the complete opposite. He hates sex. He was celibate for more than 25 years because of his Christian faith and it’s affecting him now. I have done all within my capabilies but to no avail. I have spoken to close relatives etc. He may change for a day then he goes back to the real him. If I don’t ask for sex, nothing foe me o. Even when I ask, he acts like I am over burdening him. Sometimes he will form tired sef. Sometimes he will sleep off while at it. Omo! No be beans. Learning to leave with it by buying sex toys but it’s never the same. He doesn’t even mind my using the sex toys in front of him while he does nothing. Don’t think he is sick, no he is not. He has erections, but he has learned to control himself and he is use to it. When I get pregnant, he doesn’t touch me for a whole year even when I beg. He says that it will affect the baby etc. He is the best in every other thing but this sex thing. I have heard alot of married women complain of the same thing and I have not seen any solution to it.

    • With Time

      August 22, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      “He has erections, but he has learned to control himself and he is use to it” – There is absolutely nothing wrong with him. He will have to unlearn and learn how to embrace his sexual desires without feeling awkward/guilty. It will take time, don’t nag him however be proactive and assertive with helping him loosen up. I guess that is the down side of numbing ones sex desires for a long time. He is not the only one we plenty :).

  11. dee dee

    August 28, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Gary Chapman books are lovely and eye opening ..I just finished reading one of his books ” Things I wish I’d known before we got married “… its a must read for singles, soon to be married or even married…..you can find it in any bookstore …even road side book store , Amazon etc.it’s a must read he talks about his marriage, love languages ,mistakes and myths that people have or make b4 and during marriage

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