The 5 Love Languages is another book that is beneficial to every relationship, even when your partner is deployed, TAD, or even in the other room. The theory behind love languages is that every person reacts better to a certain type of affection, and feels most loved when their partner shows they care using their love language. The five love languages are as follows:
- Words of Affirmation. Giving praise to your partner, letting them know you appreciate them and that you are proud of them.
- Acts of Service. Doing things your partner doesn’t expect of you, like a task that is usually theirs to handle or taking care of something they don’t like to do.
- Receiving Gifts. Giving gifts, either simple or elaborate. Those with this love language are not materialistic- they often appreciate small or unexpected gifts that are put together with effort.
- Physical Touch. People with this love language often feel most loved by their partners when they are holding hands, sitting close to one another or in each other’s physical presence.
- Quality Time. Spending time with your partner without distractions including special activities together or just hanging out casually.
Want to know your love language or your spouse’s? You can take the quiz here!
It may seem that it would be difficult to work with your spouse’s love language while they are deployed. After all, things like physical touch and quality time are a little hard to do when you are thousands of miles away! Below are some tips for things you can do to speak your partner’s love language even when they are not home:
- Words of Affirmation. This is something that is simple to do, yet hard to put into practice, especially if you don’t know much of what is going on while your spouse is forward. But you can still give them words of affirmation by doing some of the following things:
- Send your spouse an email or a handwritten card (that might get rerouted 57 times and then finally arrive two days before they come home, but still) to let them know how proud of them you are.
- Write a Facebook post (and tag them in it) stating how much you appreciate their dedication to our country.
- Have the kids write cards for your spouse, explaining in their own words why they think what their mother/father does is important. Even the cute scribbles or the nonsensical answers will be appreciated by your spouse!
- Acts of Service. We all take on tasks that our usually our spouse’s while they are away, but there are always things that we might leave for them! Try to take care of some of those tasks before they come home, or complete things off of your family’s project list like:
- A small bathroom renovation
- Cleaning out the garage
- Dealing with a “Murphy’s Law” issue and letting them know the end result — not all the stress in between
- Taking your kids to see his side of the family even though you really don’t want to
- Receiving Gifts. This is something us milspouses are very good at doing — sending care packages! Even though there are thousands of ideas on Pinterest of the “perfect care package,” the best thing to do when you have a partner with this love language is to give them something meaningful. Some ideas are:
- A digital picture frame with pictures of you and the family
- A photo calendar leading up the month (or your best guess) of their return date.
- A sentimental gift geared toward something they are missing while they are gone: their favorite sports team, their favorite candies, a selection of new movies that have come out, etc.
If you are looking for a few different ideas on what to send in a care package or something you can send other than a care package check out 5 Little Ways to Spice Up Your Care Package Game and 15 Things Service Members Secretly Want in a Care Package.
- Physical Touch. This is probably one of the hardest love languages to fulfill when your partner is deployed. It’s impossible to hold hands or cuddle on the couch while you’re apart, but there are a few things you can do to make your loved one feel close to you:
- Send a small sample or something sprayed with your normal perfume
- Make a felt blanket to cover his rack
- Send their favorite pillow case from home
- Quality Time. This is another difficult love language to answer with a deployed spouse since you aren’t any where near each other. But some great ways to ensure you have “quality time” with your spouse even when they’re thousands of miles away are:
- Try to take some time out of your day sending your spouse an email every day. The days that are the busiest will seem the most meaningful.
- In this day and age of technology it’s very easy to stay connected. Try to answer your spouse’s emails or “texts” shortly after they come in- this will make your spouse feel appreciated.
- When your spouse calls, put on a show for the kids after they’ve said hi so you can engage with your spouse in a meaningful way.
Valentine’s Day, like many of the other holidays, are hard to spend without your deployed service member. It’s easy during this time to make the extra effort to show your spouse how much you love them, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the only time you can work on strengthening your relationship. Doing things like The Love Dare challenge and learning how to speak your spouse’s love language will help you both to build your relationship and maintain the love you share even when you’re far apart.
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