Abstinence and the Love Languages

When couples are experiencing periods of abstinence, we often hear a variation of this alarming phrase: “I’m afraid to even touch my wife!”

It’s understandable. When every cell in one’s body is bursting with desire for their beloved, it can be hard to find ways to express affection that don’t lead back to the bedroom.

But rushing to the other extreme — totally withholding affection — is unfair, dangerous, and contrary to their wedding vows.

Dr. Gary Chapman’s famous Five Love Languages are a great way to approach this delicate and complex problem, and we’re here to give you a practical list of ways to speak the love language of your husband or wife.

First, each of you need to take the assessment individually. It’s free and shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes, even if you’re taking your time — which you should.

Here are the easy steps:

  1. Find space away from your spouse and click here.
  2. Select the large purple button that says “Learn Your Love Language.”
  3. Select “Myself”
  4. There’s some debate as to whether selecting “Relationship” spits out skewed results, so I always select “Single.” It’s your choice, though.
  5. Read the instructions. The page will require an email address, but it doesn’t have to be a real one. (Or you could download the PDF version.)
  6. Take the quiz, and remember that these don’t just apply to your spouse, but anyone who you would express affection for — parents, children, friends, etc. Go with your first instinct!

When you’re done, save your results and those of your spouse. I’d recommend reading the blurb on the website about each love language if you’re short on time, but reading the book really puts the entire theory into context.

Below, you can find practical ways to practice each language during times of abstinence.

Physical Touch
Quality Time
Words of Affirmation
Gift Giving
Acts of Service

Remember to tailor each one to your individual relationship, and get creative. Happy charting!

— CCL Staff Member