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Happily Married for Life

(Life Journey)
June 2006



What Is Your Love Dialect?

By Larry J. Koenig, Ph.D. Dr. Gary Chapman, in his marriage program and book The Five Love Languages, points out that each person in a marriage has a favorite way of giving and receiving love. I agree. In fact, there are five distinct behaviors people engage in to communicate their love: actions, attentive togetherness, physical expressions, positive strokes, and gift-giving.

The idea of “love dialects” is based on several premises:

1. People give love the way they like to receive love.

2. Partners rarely have the same predominant way of giving and receiving love.

3. When our partner expresses love the way we like— our “love dialect”—we feel loved.

4. When our partner expresses love to us in a different “love dialect,” the effort often goes unnoticed.

Simply put, if you don’t express your love in a form your spouse understands, he or she will likely fail to interpret the expression as love.

Knowing your own love dialect will make it easier to communicate the types of actions that make you feel loved, and getting to know your spouse’s dialect will help you plan the kinds of things that will make him or her feel loved. Following is a test you can take to determine your own love dialect. This can serve two purposes: First, it will tell you the ways you prefer to give and receive love; and second, it will give your spouse concrete ideas for making you feel loved.

Rate each of the following statements according to how strongly you feel it represents the way you give and receive love. Try not to share your answers until both of you have finished. Use the following scale:

“1” if the statement is rarely true about the way you give and
receive love
“2” if the statement is sometimes true about you
“3” if the statement is often true about you
“4” if the statement is an excellent representation of how
you give and receive love

____ 1. I feel loved when you do something I ask.

____ 2. I feel loved when you maintain eye contact with me while I am talking.

____ 3. I love it when you ask me for a hug.

____ 4. When you compliment me I feel especially loved.

____ 5. I love it when you bring me gifts.

____ 6. When you jump in to help me do things, I really appreciate it.

____ 7. I need to spend some time really talking with you every day.

____ 8. I wish you would kiss me more often.

____ 9. I think about your compliments long after you give them.

____ 10. When you surprise me with little gifts, I sense how much you care.

____ 11. I often comment to other people about how much you help me get things done.

____ 12. It doesn't really matter what we’re doing; I just enjoy being with you.

____ 13. I could enter “the longest kissing contest” with you and enjoy every minute.

____ 14. When you say nice things about me, it’s music to my ears.

____ 15. What I look forward to more than anything is giving and receiving gifts.

____ 16. When I want to express my love, I first think of what I might do special for you.

____ 17. I think the best way to spell love is T-I-M-E.

____ 18. I wish we would hug and cuddle more often.

____ 19. More than anything, I think it's important to say “I love you” at least once a day.

____ 20. I spend a lot of time picking out gifts. After all, the perfect gift is a great way to say “I love you.”

____ 21. The more things you do for me, the more I feel loved.

____ 22. More than anything, I look forward to the time we spend together.

____ 23. To tell you the truth, the way to my heart is through physical expressions of love.

____ 24. I absolutely love writing and receiving love notes.

____ 25. If I were rich, I would buy you a gift every day.

____ 26. I constantly look for ways to do things for you. That’s how I express my love best.

____ 27. You can tell how much I love you just by how much time I spend doing things with you.

____ 28. If you want to show me how much you love me, then you will be wonderfully affectionate.

____ 29. You can count on me to give you lots of appreciation and praise.

____ 30. Whenever I’m feeling especially loving, I start looking for a gift to give you.


Love Dialect Scoring Sheet:

Now go back and add 3 to the statements you feel most accurately describe the way you give and receive love. Then transfer your answers to the corresponding blanks on the following page. You will find this an easy task if you go across the rows of blanks instead of down. Be sure to add in the points for the
statements you felt most strongly represent the way you give and receive love.

After you transfer your answers, add the columns up and record the total at the bottom. The highest score will represent the way in which you best like to give and receive love.



Positive Strokes
Gift Giving


Speak Your Spouse's Dialect

Surprise your spouse at least once a week for the next month with some expression of love that fits his or her love dialect. Make it something as special as possible. Also, remember to express appreciation when your spouse expresses love to you in your love dialect.

Excerpted from Happily Married for Life by Larry J. Koenig, Copyright 2006. Published by Life Journey. Used with permission.



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