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The 5 Love Languages, 7 Days, 1 Couple

The best-selling relationship advice book gets put to the test.

5 Love Languages, 7 Days continued...

So what would we do together? At first we couldn't agree. I suggested something romantic, like reading poetry. My husband voted for taking a shower together. Obviously, we were going to have some trouble finding compatible activities. But finally, we did agree on seven things to do together -- one for each day of the assignment.

One day we spent nearly an hour wandering through the aisles of exotic foods at a local farmers market. The next day we went antiquing. We hired a babysitter one night and talked over glasses of wine at our favorite date-night bar/restaurant.

We soon realized that we didn't need to go out on an official date to spend quality time together. After our son went to bed, instead of sitting side-by-side watching some mindless TV show, we turned off the TV and talked. We discussed issues that were important to us -- what we loved about each other and what we felt was lacking in our marriage.

Being able to focus on each other brought back feelings and emotions that hadn't surfaced since the early days of our relationship B.C. (before children). We opened up to each other in a way we hadn't done in years.

I tried to focus not just on my husband's primary love language, but also on his other love languages, which included physical touch. Instead of wearily giving him the "I'm too tired" brush-off, I started making the first move. My efforts were sincerely appreciated.

At the end of each day, we followed Chapman's advice and did what's called a "tank check." We asked each other, "On a scale of zero to 10, how is your love tank tonight?" "Love tank" is Chapman's metaphor for how much love each person is feeling. If your love tank isn't full, your spouse asks how he or she can fill it. Every time my husband and I asked each other that week, our love tanks were full.

Now we just had to figure out how to keep them that way.

Keeping Your Love Tank Full

With a minimum of effort, couples can continue to speak each other's love language. It takes just a few minutes each day to find out what your partner needs. Then you try to meet that need.

Chapman says his Five Love Languages won't solve every problem in a marriage, but they will address the fundamental emotional needs every couple has. "If that need is met, you're more likely to be able to deal with the other issues in the marriage," he says. "This is just another tool to help you enhance the relationship, and particularly to enhance the emotional part of the relationship."

Nise agrees that Chapman's approach can have a positive impact on a marriage. "You can't go wrong with doing a bunch of nice things for your spouse," she says. "And clearly, it works."

It seems to be working for my husband and me. Our love tanks are staying pretty full these days.

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Reviewed on January 23, 2011

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