Physical intimacy is an important aspect of marriage, but it is certainly not the only kind of intimacy. A marriage in which the intimacy shared is exclusively physical will not endure. The acronym “SPICE” contains five modes of sharing intimacy: Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, and Emotional. Sharing your prayers, touches, ideas, projects, and feelings are all important elements to keeping your marriage strong.
Another issue in relationships between spouses and within households comes in how love is expressed and received. Gary Chapman’s 1995 book, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,” suggests that people prefer to receive love in different ways. Chapman describes five main ways, or languages, by which love is experienced: Gifts, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, and Physical Touch. Some people feel love most deeply when their spouses help around the house and with the kids (Acts of Service) but feel little thrill from receiving gifts, such as golf clubs or jewelry.
A problem arises when people understandably, but mistakenly, assume that the significant others in their lives receive love best through the same love language as themselves. They try to love their neighbor just like themselves without realizing that their love languages differ. For instance, people whose main love language is Quality Time may feel neglected or even abandoned, despite their spouses’ tender caresses and sincere compliments, if not enough time is shared together between them at home. Knowing another’s love language allows you to love them in the manner they most want to be loved.
- What are your top-two favorite Love Languages?
- Can you guess what your spouse and children’s top Love Languages are?
- Share your answers with each other—you may discover something new.
- How can you add more SPICE, more Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, and Emotional Intimacy, into your marriage and your home?