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My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

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The book, “The Five Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman (which has sold over 11 million copies)  can be a wonderful tool to help us better understand our husbands and ourselves. It has been a blessing to countless marriages and he has written a number of books in the same vein that have helped many people, as well.

The five love languages Chapman writes about are:

  • Words of affirmation.
  • Quality time.
  • Receiving gifts.
  • Acts of service.
  • Physical touch.

From my perspective, it is ideal if both spouses seek to show all of these kinds of love to each other. There are always ways we can grow in showing love.

The book is most helpful, in my view, if we approach the issue like this:

  • X is my husband’s love language, so I am going to learn to start speaking love to him in ways that are more meaningful to him.
  • I also can begin to receive the love language my husband speaks and learn to receive love from him the way he tries to show love.

I have no problem with a wife respectfully asking for what she would like at appropriate times (without making demands or pressuring her husband):

  • Honey, it would mean so much to me if we could spend 30 minutes together tonight talking about our day. I feel so emotionally connected to you when we do that.
  • When you share words of affirmation with me, when you tell me when you see me doing something well, or you share verbal appreciation, that really makes me feel loved.
  • I am so excited that you got me a new coffee table! It is beautiful! I feel SO loved when you pick out a sweet gift for me.
  • Babe, I appreciate it so much when you take the trash out when it starts to get full.
  • I love when we get a chance to cuddle at night and when you play with my hair and show me a lot of physical affection.

However, a pitfall I have seen for some wives (with this or almost any book that talks about marriage) is that it can be tempting to start thinking things like:

  • X is my love language, and my husband isn’t speaking my love language.
  • My husband needs to start doing what I want him to do or he isn’t loving me enough and he isn’t being a good husband.
  • It is my husband’s job to make me happy. He is responsible for my emotions and for me feeling loved enough.
  • If my husband won’t speak my love language when and how I want him to, I’m justified in feeling resentful and bitter.
  • I may even feel justified to sin against my husband if he doesn’t show me love exactly the way I would like for him to.

The enemy would love to use anything, even a great book with many biblical truths, as a springboard to sinful thoughts in our lives. How we must guard our hearts!

CHERISHING RESENTMENT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION

It is very easy to focus on what we want our husbands to do to change. But when we do that, we begin to set up a bunch of expectations – some of which may not be very realistic. Unrealistic expectations invariably lead to resentment. And once we are cherishing resentment and bitterness, we tend to believe we can justify practically any sin against our men. This sin, when it is unchecked, snowballs and gets worse and worse. We may engage in things like:

Once we get into this mode, we are operating in the fruit of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. It is a recipe for pain and misery. For our husbands. For our marriages. For our children. And for ourselves.

TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN CHRIST LEADS TO ABUNDANT SPIRITUAL LIFE

I know this is not a popular thing in our culture. But when I try to make my husband, my children, or anyone else responsible for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing – I am living in a dysfunctional relationship – or sin. This goes by several names:

As a believer in Christ, my spiritual wellbeing is dependent on my relationship with Jesus alone. I am responsible for abiding in Him and being filled up with Him. I am personally responsible for confessing any sin and for finding my contentment in Jesus alone. I know that if I am experiencing the fruit of the flesh (Gal. 5:18-21) – it is about my character and my walk with the Lord. And I know that if I want to live in the power of His Spirit and have His fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23)- that I am responsible to the Lord for turning away from every sinful thing and for yielding myself to the Lordship of Christ.

The way I act, the way I treat my husband (and other people), is about whether my sinful old flesh is in control or whether God’s Spirit is in control of my life at this moment.

In Jesus, I can be content in all circumstances – whether I am receiving love in exactly the way I would prefer or not – through Him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:12-13).

ASKING GOD TO CHANGE ME, MY PERSPECTIVE, AND MY HEART

It’s easy to pray, “God, change my husband!” And there are times when it is right to pray for our husbands to change – to have God’s victory over sin, to have more of His Spirit, to have His wisdom, etc…

But there is such a need for us to first pray most fervently, “Lord, change me!”

If my husband can’t or won’t change or won’t do what I would like for him to do, I can still live in the power of the Spirit. I can still live in God’s peace, joy, patience, and self-control. I can focus on the things God calls me to change – myself. And trust God to work on the things I can’t change – my husband.

I can invite the Spirit to work powerfully in me, my my marriage, and in my husband’s life for His glory, not for my own will. Here are some examples of how a wife might approach this issue in prayer:

  • Lord, help me learn to appreciate and receive the ways my husband does show love to our children and me.
    • He fixed the sump pump last week. THAT was real love right there. I can receive that act of service as a massive gift of love for me and our family.
    • He went with me somewhere even though it wasn’t his favorite place. That was a gift to me.
    • He asked my son to send a picture of my grocery list when he stopped by Walmart and he picked up everything on the list. Wow! He is my hero!
    • He took all of us to the movies over break. He is so generous. What a thoughtful gift.
    • He helped me take my car to the shop today.
    • He replaced my dead car battery last month.
    • He takes the kids to church on Wednesday nights when I am at work.
    • He sits on the outside of the pew at church on Sunday mornings so that he can try to protect us from harm if something were to happen.
  • Lord, help me not get so fixated on “my love language” and what I want that I miss the beautiful ways my husband expresses his love to me and to our children.
  • Lord, my husband isn’t as verbal as I would like. He only gives me a compliment once every year or two. I really love words of affirmation. But maybe You have things for me to learn in this situation. Help me to be open to receiving the lessons and spiritual growth that I can receive from You as I have a husband who is not super verbal. Help me realize that even though words of affirmation are beautiful and powerful, the way my husband shows love to me and our children is just as beautiful and powerful – maybe even more so.
    • Would words of affirmation have been as helpful when the sump pump was messed up and the toilets wouldn’t flush? No, not really. I do like having toilets that flush!
    • Maybe giving gifts is not my love language, but look at all of the thought and research my husband put into the gifts he gave our children, our extended family, and me. He is SO talented at that! It is not my gifting. But I can certainly appreciate that it is his gifting.
    • Maybe my husband doesn’t write me love letters or send loving/flirty texts or emails. I would like it if he did that. But he comes home every night and eats with our family. He is a good provider and a hard worker. He tries to protect us spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically when there is danger.
    • He doesn’t give me a lot of compliments, but he also doesn’t give me much criticism. That is sure a blessing!
  • Lord, help me to learn to give love (and respect – because feminine respect speaks love so powerfully to men) to my husband in the ways that matter most to him. And if something I do to show him love doesn’t really do much for him, help me to see how I can change my approach.
  • Lord, thank You for my husband. He is a gift to me from You. I’m going to write down all of the good things I can think about regarding his character and the things he has done for my children and for me in my quiet time this week.
  • Lord, help me to be a blessing to my husband simply out of a desire to please and honor You.

SHARE:

How has God spoken to you in this post or about these issues in the past? You are welcome to share insights you have learned or struggles you are having so that we might encourage and pray for you.

Much love!

 

 

 

 

33 thoughts on “My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

  1. Wow thank you Lord for this advice. I was so in need of it. This is a great site for married woman.

  2. Bingo! This was on topic for me and has some very helpful advice that I’m going to try! Praise God for opening this window I need.

    1. Patricia Woodson,

      Isn’t God so good to speak to us even through things like blog posts sometimes? Can’t wait to see the growth He has in store for you in Christ.

    1. Alison Joy,

      The Bible defines love and has so many wonderful descriptions of ways we can love each other – ways we can imitate God’s unfathomable love for us.

      Much love to you in Christ!

  3. Something that really helps me, is remembering God speaks my love language. Whatever it is that I need in order to feel loved, He is there. He’ll bring all five love languages on if necessary, and offer ways that you can get those needs met. Husbands are secondary, they are the frosting on the cake. When we can fill ourselves with the abundance of the Lord’s love, then everything else is just an extra gift. So love languages are kind of fun to explore, but they can’t come from a place of scarcity or neediness or resentment. Contempt, fear, scarcity, envy even, these things all cut us off from receiving love.

    1. insanitybytes22 – YES!!!!!! God has every facet of love we need in Himself. And He is always ready and waiting to extend that love to us and to meet our deepest needs in ways no human ever could.

      Love this!

  4. My husband and I have both read the love languages and found it helpful. But the book we are reading together now has been transformative.

    It is called How We Love and deals with how we understand love due to the love we received or didn’t receive in our early childhood and adolescent development. And most importantly, how God has a plan to redeem even the deepest love wounds allowing you to understand how these wounds can taint your relationships today. It’s been so helpful to see some of the things that drive me crazy about my husband are wounds in his heart. It helps me to see him as a scared little boy who went through traumas and difficulties he never should have had to go through in a perfect world, and how those things have colored the way he receives, understands and is currently able to express love. It has grown my compassion for his “shortcomings” and given me patience as we both allow Jesus to heal us for a His glory!!!

    They have a test you can take on the How We Love website that helps you see the areas you need to let the Lord heal you which was eye opening for the both of us. Can’t recommend it enough!! 🙂

    1. So true Krissy! It’s rare to find a wife extending grace to her husband because of the wounds from his past.

      After many many terrible years with my husband, I came across something that explained possible reasons for husband’s bad behavior (for lack of a better word) and a light bulb turned on for me – I had never thought that his mom and dad basically abandoning him when he was in 2nd grade caused so much damage and he needed healing, and then I realized that God wants to use me to heal my man!

      1. Louise,

        YES!
        We all have scars and wounds from our childhood. Some are much more extensive than others. A little boy who was abandoned by his parents at a young age like that would have some very deep wounds – not to mention – maybe no healthy examples of how to have a strong relationship.

        I’m so glad that you realized this – and that God showed it to you.

        It is my prayer that God might use this blog and my sites and books to pour His healing, love, truth, and blessing into countless individual women’s lives and into marriages and families for His glory.
        That is my greatest desire!

        It is my honor to get to be here and that God allows me to share these treasures with my dear sisters. What a blessing!

  5. Alexandra G.,

    It is hard, and painful, when we don’t have our desires and needs met in our marriages. And when we are trying to reach out to treat our husbands as we would want to be treated (following the Golden Rule Jesus gave us) but our husbands don’t seem to be reciprocating.

    Marriage is designed to be a mutual give and take relationship, after all.

    I can relate to why you would feel resentful in this situation. In our family, my husband spent 30-40 hours/week for quite a few years remodeling our house after work. He was there. But he was not available to do things with us. I did not respond well during that time. And, sadly, the way I handled things only repelled him even more.

    I love that you are focusing on praying and on finding contentment in Christ alone. Marriage can be surprisingly lonely, at times. But now, I actually thank God for those years when Greg was so unavailable. It was during that time that I learned to depend fully on the Lord to fill me up and God helped me to stop idolizing my husband, my happiness, my marriage, and my desires.

    I have some posts on loneliness and some other posts that may be a blessing if you are interested. I’d be glad to share the links.

    Much love!

    1. Thank you, April. Sure, I’ll check out the links when you post. But it’s not just the loneliness. It’s also the fact that he’ll make time for our children (especially our oldest son age 7) but not me, so I feel unappreciated. But I can see your point about idolizing the husband. I came to that realization a few months ago through your posts. I’ll keep working on my spiritual life.

      1. Alexandra,

        It is so painful to feel neglected and ignored. 🙁

        Would you like to talk a bit about how the two of you usually interact when you try to ask for more time with him?

        Maybe we can prayerfully seek some of God’s wisdom and light for your spiritual healing and for the marriage together. ❤️💜❤️

      2. Alexandra G – I’m not sure if you have seen A Fellow Wife’s posts, but she was in a similar situation, from what you are describing so far. Her journey was hard! But God has healed her, her husband, and their marriage now. her posts might be a blessing. You may search “A Fellow Wife” on my search bar. <3

  6. My goodness! I can’t say how thankful I am to have found your blog and website. The things I have read so far are as if there has been a mirror and I am looking at myself. I have been so selfish and disrespectful at times then wondered why my husband get mad or doesn’t want to spend time with me. He is a good man and my expectations have been so off! I look forward to reading more and focusing on changing me! Thank you so much! What a blessing!

    1. Melanie Williams,

      It’s wonderful to meet you! <3

      It is so easy to see all of the things our husbands are doing wrong - from our perspective. But wow. It is even easier to be blind to our own sin. I have been going to church all my life - but never had anyone hold up a mirror to all of my particular sin issues. It is eye-opening! And mortifying. And humbling. But that is a good thing. To realize just how much we owe the Lord and just how much Jesus paid for us on the cross. That creates a wonderful spirit of thanksgiving and godly humility that is so precious in God's eyes and that leads to much growth in Him.

      I can't wait to see all that the Lord has in store for you, your husband, and your marriage for His glory!

  7. April, you continue to amaze me with how you’ve allowed the Lord to shine so brightly through you to our world. Praying God’s blessings over you and your home. You have so much wisdom and I seriously have learned much through you and your blog. I don’t take the time to comment often enough but wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you. I agree with all you share and know that it’s truth from God himself. I just love this about the Holy Spirit and how He leads me to blogs like yours. That is God.

    Because with so many horrible lies floating around in our world about marriage, so easily we can get stuck on the wrong site if we don’t have the gift of discernment. Thankfully I do and God has given me the definite “go ahead” to read your blog and trust that He speaks through you! God bless you and thank you so much!!!! You’re an angel being used by the Lord here on earth to share with many hurting women.

    Love to you my sister in Jesus. We may never meet this side of heaven, but when we do in heaven, I’ll come running up to you and give you a big hug to thank you. My hubby also enjoys hearing what I learn from you and knows you’ve helped our marriage. 💜🙏🏼

    1. Julie,
      Thank you so much for this encouragement. To God be all the glory, my precious sister!

      I can’t wait to meet you and give you a huge hug and hear all about what the Lord has done in your life.

      Much love to you and a big virtual hug for now!

      1. Big hug right back to you dear sister! 🙂 Won’t heaven be amazing to hear all of the stories with no time constraint of how Jesus was always so faithful to us? I can only imagine. You are blessing so many women and families and if you ever have question if God wants for you to do this, just read the many comments to you of how you are helping people! You are the hands and feet of Jesus. We all are but what a platform you have with your blog and it’s a huge ministry. You don’t even have to go oversees. People from oversees can read this which is so amazing to me. God is so good!!

        1. Julie,

          That is one of the things I look forward to the most – after seeing Jesus face-to-face, seeing His eyes blazing with love for all of us, and worshipping Him. I can’t wait to hear how God chooses to use my life, and every believer’s life, to impact others and to accomplish His kingdom’s purposes and how He pours through each of us to bless others and build up the body. Puts the biggest smile on my face just thinking about it!

          I prayed about being a foreign missionary when I was in high school. Long before the internet was a thing. It is insane to me that God allows me to reach women in around 200 countries from my house!?!?! What an incredible blessing and honor to get to share the treasures of Christ with my sisters (and future sisters in the Lord) around the world.

          He is VERY good!

          May He be greatly glorified in our lives!

  8. Wow, thank you so much April! I have been going through this very thing these last few days, and this was so needed!
    I have been very sick for a few weeks, and it has really been tough on my husband and I. He has needed to take care of me physically and emotionally, and I know it has been stressful and draining for him on top of all of his other responsibilities. I had been feeling increasingly distant from him (my love language is physical touch), as he had been putting all of his effort into caring for me, and I felt that our closeness and intimacy had been diminishing.

    But your article was a HUGE eye opener that my husband (whose love language is acts of service) was taking all of his free time to care for me, which is an immense act of service and love. I wanted him to continue to speak my love language as well, but I was blind to the fact that I can appreciate his love in a different way too, and it doesn’t mean that he loves me any less, just that at this time in our lives the dominant form of love he can show me is to care for me.

    1. Jessica,

      What a loving, precious, sweet husband you have. And what an incredible experience and gift – to be sick – and then to get to receive your husband’s loving care and acts of service for you.

      You are very blessed. I pray the Lord might heal you soon physically and that you can be closer again that way. But this is a beautiful and powerful treasure that you have received in the midst of a trial – a spiritual gem that you will always want to continue to cherish and hold onto in all that life has in store for you in the future.

      Much love!

  9. Thanks alot for this. This is truly God speaking. My husband is amazing in the way he demonstrates his love languages and I just have to focus on receiving this rather than wishing he does something else.

    1. Aquamarine Kings,

      We women are pretty good with languages. And, it turns out, we can learn to receive any kind of love our husbands show us and appreciate the unique ways our husbands love us even if they don’t change and don’t do all that we would like for them to do. Especially as we depend on the Holy Spirit to empower us.

      It turns out, a lot of the ways my husband shows me love – acts of service mostly – are a lot more tangible and helpful in times of crisis than any other kind of expression of love. Now I am so glad I can be thankful for all he does instead of being upset about what he doesn’t do. My approach and attitude make so much difference.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Much love to you!

  10. My mom left my dad for another man because he wasn’t meeting her love language. Still today (25 yrs later), she justifies it saying that my dad “wasn’t her partner and she wanted a partner”…

    Can you even imagine how many marriages (and families) could be saved it this blog was received?! Had I not become a Christian, and found blogs like this, I would very likely be divorced and a victim of thinking like my mom and the culture.

    APRIL – thank you doesn’t even begin to cover it!!

  11. This is me exactly, and it is what has brought our marriage to the bad place it is in right now. But I praise God for opening my eyes to how out of place I have been and giving me the strength and courage to start on the road towards truly giving Him lordship and reign over my life, and bringing about healing and restoration in my marriage. I am SO thankful for your site; I will surely be using it as a resource along this journey!!

  12. Wow, I love this blog. I have been praying without stop for my relationship for a week now just looking for some sort of sign. I had helpful advice to read the love language book but my husband doesn’t seem too interested. Because things are rocky I have almost become obsessed with trying to nail down a reason for this bump in the road with us. I have blamed it on us not abiding by our love language. I have been trying to speak with him over and over about how once he fills my love tank everything will be okay. It is as if it is going in one ear and out the other. I have become so frustrated that I cant sleep or eat.

    Reading this post, along with many other of yours, has brought SO MUCH PEACE in my heart. All of the sudden it feels like the weight is off my shoulders. I just keep praying for guidance and peace. I keep praying for God to lead me in the ways I should be handling this situation. For the first time in a week I do not feel the ache in my chest. I just wanted to share that with you. It is in no way fixed between me and him. But I will continue to use your advise in not expecting him to fill my love tank and to start really thinking about the ways he does show his love to me. I hope that with this new mindset, our relationship will start to feel like it normally does. Please pray for me. Pray for guidance and peace. And please pray with me for him. That his heart softens soon. That this is a phase and not my new reality.

    Thank you.

    1. Rae,

      YAY! Praise God! Let God fill up your love tank. Let anything your husband does – whether in his native love language or yours – be icing on the cake. Appreciate anything he does do. And focus on being content in Christ primarily.

      Praising God for what He is doing to heal your soul and your marriage!

      Much love,
      April

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