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Dear Danielle: My Husband Won't Speak My Love Language

by Danielle Wright

Long before we understood what it meant to have a love language, many of us used to simply communicate our wants and needs.

Image Credit: stellalevi / Getty Images


Now, it seems that once we share our love language with our partners, they should become mind-readers and anticipate our wants and needs. However, it’s not that simple, and as beautiful as relationships and marriage may appear to be on the outside, they are, in fact, a lot of work.


If your husband isn’t speaking your love language, it could be for a couple of reasons:


REASON 1: HE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS.

Believe it or not, I’ve counseled couples where, during our sessions, the wife will say she needs help with something or that her love language is acts of service, and her husband will immediately appear bewildered.


She will then say, “You don’t remember? When we first started dating, I told you that I like it when my partner does things for me without me having to ask.” And he’ll respond, “Babe, that was like seven years ago…” No seriously, these conversations have happened.


We all have to understand that life does not only happen to us; it can happen to our spouse as well. They can experience brain fog and fatigue. It’s not that your husband does not love you but simply that he has a lot on his mind, especially if he is the sole provider for the household.


It’s not impossible for men to forget things like anniversaries or birthdays when they’re working to make ends meet. Men and women differ in what we choose to prioritize, but make no mistake, if you tell him, he will more than likely fix it. If not, then he’s lost interest, and this isn’t an issue of him forgetting; it’s an issue of him simply not wanting to.

Related articles: Five Love Languages Summary


REASON 2: YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE IS WRONG.

Unless you know why your love language is what it is, then more than likely, it’s wrong. Maybe you saw something happen in a rom-com, and you want that experience so you adapt some of the personality traits of that main character. What your love language says about you is that you didn’t have something growing up, so now you crave it as an adult.


Acts of Service: Growing up, maybe you had to take on an independent role very early in life. So, as an adult, you can appreciate help but don’t necessarily want to ask for it, as you do not like the idea of depending on others. You see depending on people as weak, an attribute that many men have assigned to women they are not really interested in.


This could be a trauma response; however, take some time to truly dive into your past to better understand your present. Kindness is parallel to chivalry, so if your partner is not nice and thoughtful on their own, telling them your love language is acts of service is not going to change who they are. You simply have to find a person who can speak your love language because the action that comes along with it is part of their character.


Word of Affirmation: Growing up, no one told you things like, “Job well done,” “I’m proud of you,” “Congratulations on that accomplishment,” or “You’ve done great for yourself. You’re such an inspiration.” All in all, now that you’re an adult, you need this validation from the people around you to whom you’ve poured into.


You’re ready to receive what you give, and in this case, it’s verbal recognition. As a counselor, I’ve seen couples argue about this one in particular because the wife’s love language is acts of service, and the husband’s love language is words of affirmation. The husband will lead and perform an act of service for his wife, to which she will not reciprocate by telling him things like, “Thank you,” “I appreciate your help and you for all that you do,” “You’re my hero!” Men want to feel appreciated too. So if he’s not speaking your love language, perhaps you’re not speaking his either.

Physical Touch: It’s very seldom that you hear women say that this is their love language because when we think of physical touch, we immediately believe it to be about sex. However, this can be different for both men and women; here are some examples:

For Men –

  • Head rubs

  • Holding hands

  • Massages

  • Interlocking legs during a movie

For Women –

  • Cuddling after sex

  • Hugging (especially outside while watching the sky)

  • Holding hands

  • Hair caressing

So, you see, it’s not impossible for this to be your love language now that you’re an adult. I would like to believe that for the good majority of us, physical touch is one of our love languages; it does not have to strictly mean sex. But this is something to consider.


As a wife, if this is your love language and your husband is not doing this for you, then it’s time to have a conversation. Most women will not tell a man this because asking for a massage can quickly turn into a sexual session, which many women do not enjoy. So in this case, advocate for yourself, but don’t deprive yourself of the wonderful benefits that having physical touch as a love language can offer.


Quality Time: Receiving someone’s undivided attention is paramount for any relationship. Couples have argued that the husband does not want to come home or will come home late at night, which leaves little to no time for interaction. When a man is not willingly rushing home, there's something afoot—cheating, unhappiness, maybe he’s feeling unwanted or unappreciated. Many factors can be at play, so it’s best not to assume and simply ask him what you can improve on to make him more enthusiastic about coming home to you.

Our childhood plays a huge role in our development into adulthood. So much so that when we find our partners, we can place a great deal of expectations and burden onto them without even knowing it. It’s okay to step back and do some self-reflecting every now and again, and remember it’s necessary to give what you expect to receive.

Gift Giving: Growing up, this could be that you or your spouse never received anything you truly wanted from your family members or even parents. It could be that you got socks or clothes for Christmas and/or birthdays, and over time you’ve developed a relationship with material things as a source of your happiness, or perhaps your spouse did. Either way, gift-giving in a relationship adds sentiment and meaning to the relationship for you or your person.

In cases like this, it could be a number of reasons why this person is not speaking your love language—financially burdened, no longer interested in investing in you or the relationship, having trouble finding something with a deeper meaning, or their needs are not being met.


All in all, if your husband is not speaking your love language, you either need to communicate with him about what it is once you’ve figured out what truly makes you happy, and remember, you can have more than one. There are primary and secondary languages, so don’t feel pressured to be boxed into one language. Second, ask him what he feels is missing from your marriage. Remember, men are human too, and they have feelings, so communicate because that will never get old.

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