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Speak My Language: Mastering Love Languages For a Happier Marriage

Episode #799

Do you and your partner speak different emotional languages?

Are you struggling to connect with your loved ones on a deeper level?

In this latest episode, Doug and Tim address these questions head-on, unraveling the complexities of love languages and how they can revolutionize relationships. Drawing from personal experiences and practical insights, they decode the five love languages—acts of service, physical touch, quality time, gifts, and words of affirmation—highlighting the importance of understanding and expressing affection in ways that resonate with one’s partner.

In this episode, you’ll learn the transformative power of identifying and embracing your own and your partner’s love language.

Through engaging anecdotes and actionable advice, you’ll discover how simple shifts in communication and expression can strengthen emotional connections and resolve conflicts within intimate relationships.

By embarking on a journey to decode love languages, listeners gain invaluable tools to foster deeper understanding, enhance intimacy, and cultivate lasting bonds with their loved ones.

Hungry for more?

Head over to our BONUS page for special access to some of the deeper tactics and techniques we’ve developed at The Powerful Man.

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Doug Holt  00:01

Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of the TPM show. I am once again greeted by the man, the myth, the legend, my partner in crime, Tim Matthews. How are you doing brother?

Tim Matthews 00:12

I’m doing well. I’m always doing well when I’m here with you. I enjoy doing these with you and enjoy connecting.

Doug Holt  00:20

Yeah, I do as well, man. Well, today we want to talk about love languages. And guys, have you ever felt like you or your partner are just speaking different languages altogether? Well, today, Tim and I are going to help you unlock the secret to how love language — because love languages can transform the way that you communicate affection and actually connect with your partner. Today, what we’re going to do is you’re going to understand what the five love languages are, how to identify yours and your partners. We’re also going to give you some practical tips for expressing love in ways that resonate with your partner. And what the role of the love languages are in resolving conflicts and strengthening bonds. So Tim, before we kick this off, why don’t you or while we kick this off, why don’t you break down what are the five love languages?

Tim Matthews 01:06

I will do my best. Got to take a moment before just to remember them. Acts of service, so that is doing things for the other person. We have got physical touch, which is as it sounds. Quality time, which again, is as it sounds. Gifts, words of affirmation. And is that five? Quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts, and physical touch. Yes.

Doug Holt  01:37

So the idea and the concept behind this guys, as you know, is you think of this as a language that you would speak. So Tim may speak Russian and let’s just say I speak Spanish. And if we’re in the same room and Tim’s speaking Russian, I’m just going to be looking at him like, “What the heck are you talking about?” And we’re going to miss each other. The communication is going to miss. If we’re giving each other directions on how to get somewhere and I’m telling Tim in Spanish, but he only understands Russian, Tim’s going to end up in the wrong place. We’re just not going to be on the same plane, the same page.

This happens a lot in marriages and in any relationship really, but especially intimate ones, where yours can be one… So mine is acts of service. And your wife’s could be another one. So my wife, Erin, hers is quality time. And so just to give you guys some ideas, Erin then, in this example, is speaking Russian, I’m speaking Chinese or whatever, different languages and we’re missing each other. And this caused a lot of problems, Tim early on in my marriage, early on in my relationship. I would , like a lot of guys, I would do things for Erin. Let’s say I changed the oil in her car, fixed her computer, fix some things around the house. And here I am just you know, chest puffed up feeling like the man because I just contributed and she could care less.

And I would do it again and again, kind of the good boy syndrome. But I would do it time and time again, only to find out that she thanked me, but she didn’t really care as much. However, if I sat next to her on the couch, she was as happy as could be. She was as happy as absolutely. Now to her a great day could be just hey, let’s just sit on the couch and hang out. To me, that sounds like a nightmare. Right? I don’t want to sit on the couch and not do anything. Let’s go out and do stuff. Let’s go do adventures. Let’s go do fun stuff. But hers was quality time.

So when I learned this, guys, when I learned this, I could spend quality time and fill my wife up. I would just figure out how to do so, so that her love tank was so full. And then I would still do acts of service because that’s what I liked to do for her. But I also didn’t expect her to receive it in the same way.

Tim Matthews 03:48

Yeah, it’s an interesting caveat to the acts of service piece. Always makes me curious when I see [inaudible 00:03:55] delay.

Doug Holt  03:57

Well, no, no, there’s no delay. I always love how when we — because we don’t plan these, right, going off topic. Whenever you’re not sure when to jump in you go, hmm. So if you go back and listen to the other podcasts, you guys will know that’s Tim thinking what am I going to say?

Tim Matthews  04:13

Don’t give away my tell, don’t give away my tell?

Doug Holt  04:16

There’s a lot of them.

Tim Matthews 04:19

Yeah. Yeah, something I’ve really seen pay off for the guys in the Inner Circle over recent months, and obviously, for those of you that don’t know, the Inner Circle is our [inaudible 00:04:28] mastermind. I think it’s full now actually, isn’t it? Or is there one space left? I can’t remember, but… [crosstalk]

Doug Holt  04:33

…one slot.

Tim Matthews 04:34

Cap at 10 men. Yeah. But anyway, one of the big shifts for them in recent months has been doing acts of service. But the little caveat here is been doing acts of service without being asked. So we’ve been encouraging them and challenging them to look for those opportunities of acts of service that get them a little bit ahead of the game. So for example, the tsunami, I had a phone call with him this morning. And he was telling me about that exact thing. And he woke up, his mother-in-law was here for the weekend. And he woke up yesterday, early than those two, his wife and his mother-in-law. And he got the boys ready and took them out.

And a few hours had passed in the morning and then came back, his mother-in-law had woken up and so is his wife. And his mother-in-law commented, and saying how nice it was of him to get up and take the boys out and let them two sleep in. And she said how rare it was, how nice it was to see. And his mindset was, he actually said the old me which, I love that he used that language, the old me, because clearly he see he’s detached from the old way of being, right. So powerful. He said, yeah, the old me might have done that. But I would have done it with resentment. And I would have done it through with keeping a score. And I would have done it with expecting something else in return, or I might not have done it.

And the story there might have been, hey, I’ve worked hard all week, why should I get up and do this? No, you can do it, it’s your responsibility or it’s the agreement that you’ll do it, whatever it may be, right. But he’s getting ahead of the game and he’s doing the act of service without being asked. And it’s those acts of service without being asked that really can create a lot of emotional connection and a lot of emotional safety. Because a lot of the times for women, it’s typically quality time and acts of service, isn’t it, as they get busier as well. They want to know that we’re a team and we’ve got this together, and the guy’s in it with them. And one of the ways in which to show them that is through acts of service without being asked.

Doug Holt 06:49

Yeah, absolutely. And when you look at these five love languages, Tim, going back to like, my love language, right, is I want to be thought of. I like acts of service. I got a text from my wife while we were at our last meeting, my daughter’s sick. And she also said, hey, look, I know you’re at The Ranch recording with Tim, did you bring lunch? If not, I’m happy to make some lunch and bring it over to you. Right? She’s speaking my love language. To me that’s like, oh my gosh, she cares, right? It’s an amazing feeling for me to have that. My wife’s going to go out of her way, make a special lunch for me, because we’re eating differently right now. And she’s going to drive it all the way over here to The Ranch so that I can have lunch when I have time for a break.

Now she’s speaking my love language, she’s taking the time to learn what my love language is. Conversely, when I just say, hey, babe, why don’t we just go for a walk together? No agenda, nothing. Just basically saying, hey, why don’t we spend time together, that fills her up that lights her up. Also, for you guys that have a desert in the bedroom, right? You’re not having sex as much as you’d like, this is for a lot of women foreplay. All of a sudden, you’re speaking their language.

Now, what I find really interesting, Tim, is most of us don’t end up, in my experience, most of us don’t end up with a partner that speaks the same language. Which seems like that would be the obvious thing, right? So I would obviously marry a woman who acts of service comes naturally to her so she doesn’t have to think about it,  and I’ve dated women like this. And it seems to be effortless, right, at times.

However, when we talk to the guys, almost all the guys seem to have a wife that speaks a different language. And that can cause conflict, it can cause issues there. And when you look at it, it makes complete sense, we use the analogy of Chinese and Russian, I’m just going to keep using those two. If those people are speaking different languages, they’re missing each other. Therefore, frustration increases. Right? If I’m trying to show love to my wife and she’s seeing it as just a thing, yet I’m not doing the one thing that she wants me to do, she’s going to be frustrated with that, and so am I. And that’s going to create — frustration creates resentment over time.

And if you’re not aware of it, you don’t have the reason of why you feel frustrated, why you don’t feel that your partner is showing you the love and respect that you deserve, that leads again down a road that we don’t want to go down. You’re just disconnected more and more. You’re like, why don’t they care about me; all these stories. She doesn’t understand all the work that I do. Right? And meanwhile, she’s saying he never takes time for me. He’s just working too much. So these stories can build and build and resentment can build. And what starts off as this little gap between couples becomes a Grand Canyon-like void where sex is very rare, communication’s rare. Neither person feels the other person understands them or is meeting their needs.

Tim Matthews 09:47

Hmm. Yeah, so true. I think there’s an important point here as well, and I see this play out a lot with the men in the circle. Obviously, that’s who I tend to work with the most. A lot of these interpersonal skills the men learn in the relationship arena apply to, either with the kids and or even at work. And I’ll use tsunami again. We talk a lot about cleaning the mud off the glass. I know that isn’t what this is about so I’ll dive into it. But you know what it’s about, right? And he was delivering a speech to his company.

And part of it was he cleaned some mud off the glass. And the amount of people that came up to him afterwards talking about how they’ve never seen a leader lead in that way, being vulnerable, and charismatic, and all sorts. And love languages in particular, there are tests you can do as well for love languages for kids, and love languages in the workplace. I think it’s a good point to bring in because guys, if you choose to really master this, it has the potential to reap rewards across many of the areas of your life as well.

Doug Holt  10:57

It certainly can. You broke up there for a second, but I’ve actually given lectures on love languages in the workplace before, and it’s extremely powerful. This is back in my early coaching consulting days, gosh, this is almost 15 years ago. But it was a topic that would come up with communication, because this works around the workplace, works with your kids, quite honestly. But bringing it back to it, what I would imagine when I first heard this concept of love languages, and it’s a great book, there’s a book called The Five Love Languages, recommend it. It’s a short read. It’s basically what Tim and I are telling you right now for the most part.

But one of the things you want to figure out is, hey, what the heck is mine? Most men want to say, well, physical touch. I want to get laid more, right? But I find that not to be true. When actually I’m working with guys, most men will start with physical touch because they’re thinking that’s what it is. And over time you realize it’s not, right. So for example, if physical touch is your love languages, then odds are you when you go out and meet your boys, your friends, you’re hugging them all the time. Your hands are around them, because they’re your friends. They’re the guys you hang out with, you spend time with, right? You’re just a very handsy person. And most men aren’t. They’re not like that. Right? Yes, you want more sex, but that’s not your love languages. Sex will allow you to feel more connected, I’m with you there. You know women need connection. To have sex, I always say men need sex to have connection oftentimes.

But one thing to do is, is how do you show respect for people? How do you show consideration for people? I do things. Like, I get here to the office early when the staff and the team are coming and I make sure the heat’s on hours before them, I make sure coffee is on. I do all those things that — and they don’t even notice it. But I do it because that’s just who I am and I’m showing love/respect. And that’s a way you can do it. You can look at birthdays, you can look at your friends and how are you showing love and respect for people you care about? Maybe you buy them gifts. Gifts is one of them. But when it’s not an obligatory gift, like a birthday gift or a present, by the way, my birthday is coming up here soon, Tim.  [crosstalk]

Tim Matthews 13:05

I know.

Doug Holt  13:05

And you can always make sure, what is it that you actually do to do it. Now conversely, what does your wife do? You know, what I always ask the guys, because the guys always tell me what they think their wife is, and they’re rarely on as well until we start investigating. Now one thing you do is what does your wife do for your kids, constantly doing for your kids? What does your wife do for girlfriends? Is she always wanting to go out for walks with them, go on trips with them? Or does she buy a necklace for them when she sees them in the store? Or is she constantly texting them how amazing they are? She’s that girlfriend that’s always pumping up the crew.

What is it that they’re doing and start taking note of that? Right? What is it? How do people actually… There are differences. There can be a difference between the way you receive love and the way you show love. But in my experience, Tim, that’s pretty rare.

Tim Matthews  13:55

Hmm. It is. What would you say the number one is for most men?

Doug Holt  14:02

Acts of service.

Tim Matthews 14:04

Really, would you?

Doug Holt 14:05

I do. I think acts of service and words of affirmation, those are the two.

Tim Matthews 14:09

Yeah, I’d definitely say words of affirmation is up there for most guys.

Dough Holt  19:13

Yeah. So I believe that there’s a — you know, you have a couple. You don’t have just one love language. So I like to, when I do this advance with men, I rank them in order, right. Because yours isn’t acts of service at all.

Tim Matthews 14:26


Doug Holt 14:27

That’s not your thing.

Tim Matthews 14:29

I have to try really hard when I’m around you, come back from it exhausted. I’m like shit, Amelia. That trip to The Ranch was hard.

Doug Holt 14:38

Well then I noticed that though, right? Because I know that’s not you.

Tim Matthews 14:41

You do.

Doug Holt 14:42

So I noticed that when you’re doing it, you’re putting in an extra effort to show me love and appreciation which means a lot to me, right? And so then I just tell you how much it means to me because yours [inaudible 00:15:52] that everybody’s happy when it comes down to it. But that’s it, right? You and I are in a partnership, right, we’re in a business partnership, we’re best buds. So at the same time, it’s important to me to make sure, you know, it’s important to me how you feel and what your life’s like, and your relationship with Amelia, and your family.

So yeah, I want you to feel good, why wouldn’t I? And so knowing your “love language” so to speak, allows me to provide that for you, someone I care about. And this also goes back to my wife, when I do quality time when I tell her like, hey, we’re, as you know, Tim, by the time this airs, we’ll be in Hawaii. And I’m taking the family to the island of Kauai. And so my wife knows right then and there, she’s going to have my undivided attention. She’s going to have quality, not quantity, quality time with me. And so she’s excited now for that trip because she knows she’s getting her love tank filled.

Tim Matthews 16:00

Hmm. Beautiful. It’s quite interesting. I’ve not considered love languages for a little while. And it’s got me thinking about other people in my life as well, and what their love language might be. And I love what you say about well, how do they give love? It’s a really quick and easy way to figure out what someone’s love language is when — if you watch how they do treat other people, essentially what they do to show them that they’re important to them.

Doug Holt  16:28

Yeah. So yeah, it’s just a real easy example. When you look at staff, Colton brings me a coffee almost every time I see him, right. Something that’s important to him, but it’s a gift. So I just kind of noticed that. Colton, for everybody who don’t know, he’s our AV guy, he’s our videographer, if you will. Whereas Darcy, she’s more of a quality time sharing, words of affirmation, quality time type person when it comes down to it. Darcy also has been with me for 13 years, for those that are listening. So you just look at it and you just take note.

And I’m not perfect at it at all. Like, I’ll mess up, right? And I’ll get pissed when people don’t do things that I think they should be doing because mine’s acts of service. Like, why the heck aren’t they doing the things they need to? Meanwhile, some people could get upset of like, why is Doug being harsh? Or why isn’t Doug just chilling and kicking it with us on the couch or the deck while we stare at nothing? Which is what my perception is, right? Like, I’m like, why are we just sitting here on the deck when we can go out in this world and go do some epic stuff. So you can miss each other very easily.

So there’s another thing you can do, guys, you want to find out what your wife’s love languages. So practical tip, look at the way that she has shown appreciation to you. But also toward your children, that’s an easy one, or towards her parents or her friends. What’s the constant there? If she’s hosting parties, what does she do? Is she the one that always brings amazing dishes? Is she the one that comes there and is complimenting about the house all the time? Is she the one that just wants to spend quality time with people? Or is she the one that as soon as she walks in the door, she’s hugging everybody, whether she knows them or not? You know, just watch what she’s doing and observe.

Now, once you’ve done that, you got to figure out yours too. And it could be physical touch. For some people, it is. We have guys in the movement, it is physical touch. Soon as you see them, they’re giving you a bear hug, right? They’re hands on your shoulder the whole time they’re talking to you. You know,  they want to be touched and touch people. That’s just who they are. But most guys, in my experience, that’s not the case. And so you can also go on, there’s a ton of websites that do this. I think John Gray wrote the book if I’m not mistaken. Tim, correct me if I’m wrong, if you know off the top of your head, The Five Love Languages. But you can take a quiz, there’s an app. So you can take the quiz and send it to your partner, send it to your wife and find out what hers is.

Now I personally prefer to try to discover it myself and test it and see if it works. Right? Because I like that because it’s kind of like when we teach the thing called the Hidden Motives Technique to the men. It’s one of the most powerful tools we teach men that join our flagship program, The Activation Method. And its hidden motives because the other person doesn’t have to do anything, and they feel amazing. Right? And so this is another quiver in your arrows I guess, or arrow in your quiver I should say of what you can be utilizing so you can get that deeper understanding, connection, and satisfaction in your relationship.

Tim Matthews 19:25

Ohh. I’m just on the website here. Yeah, Gary Chapman is the author. What’s your apology language? That’s an interesting one, isn’t it? What’s your apology language? [crosstalk] That makes me wonder what that’s about.

Doug Holt 19:43

Yeah. Yeah, I got to imagine it’s really similar honestly. But maybe it is a [crosstalk] little bit different.

Tim Matthews 19:48

You think so, right?

Doug Holt 19:50

I think about when I apologize to people, obviously, I use words because we’ve taught them in Hidden Motives and other techniques that just work. However, before that, my way of apologizing to people was doing things for them. Right, fixing things for them or doing those. So it’s also when you look at this, if you’re in conflict, so if I’m in conflict with my wife and I want to resolve it, I use a combination of the Hidden Motives Technique, and sitting down and saying, hey, can I have five minutes of your time? And sitting down at the couch and being super present with her, that to her is quality time. And using the Hidden Motives Technique gives me the advantage of having that tool in my tool belt, so to speak. And so usually with my wife, knowing those two things, I can’t lose. Things go very smooth with an apology, usually. I am married to my wife.

Tim Matthews 20:52

Yeah, it’s interesting some of the questions on this apology language. It’s hard for me to decipher, like it doesn’t seem that similar actually. It’s a lot about taking ownership of the disagreement versus… Anyway, there’s two kinds of angles it looks like. But yeah, going back to the love languages piece, this made a huge difference for Amelia and I when I learned about this years ago, because yeah, to your point, Amelia is, is quality time as well, similar to Erin’s.

And it used to be really difficult for me to do that, because if that quality time didn’t revolve around doing something, then I used to find it hard to really… I was going to use the word execute the quality time, which is part of the issue I had with just being in the quality time anyway because I needed to achieve something or do something or whatever. But being able to settle into it made a massive difference. And the more that I made an effort with hers, and we both took the quiz as well. So we could understand what each others was. And the more that I made the effort with hers, the better she felt as well, and the more I naturally wanted to make an effort with mine too.

Doug Holt 22:07

Yeah. And so I think this is critically important for all the men to look at, guys. Again, if you’re married to somebody who speaks a foreign language, you want to learn that language. Right? I guarantee all the men listening to this, we have a lot of women listen to this too, so for both of you. But men in particular, that’s who I’m going to speak to you today. If I stick you in a house with your dream woman, which we’re going to say is your wife, or at least it was at one point, and she speaks a total foreign language, let’s just call it, excuse me, French, just to switch things up.

She speaks French, you don’t speak a lick of it. And you love this woman, you care about her, and you want to have sex with her, you want to be intimate, I can guarantee you that you are spending hours a day studying French. I guarantee every guy here is listening to French audio tapes, or I guess audio tapes aren’t a thing anymore. But listening to French books on audible or French everything trying to learn French. So one, he can connect with his wife, two, he can have passionate sex with his wife; all of these things are important. This is a similar type of thing. You know, it doesn’t take as long to learn, but it does take practice.

So one of the things, I want to give you guys three action steps to take out of here, and I’ll pass the mic back to you, Tim before we close. One is take the love language quiz. And if you want to, take it with your partner and share your results. It’s an easy way to have a conversation now, especially if you guys are in a rough spot in your marriage. You know, you’re looking for things to talk about, common ground, if you will. Take The Five Love Languages quiz, realize what yours is. Maybe even take one for your wife first to see what you would answer for. But then have her take it and then compare notes. And you know, talk to her about this podcast episode. Hey, I learned this thing and I realized, hey, you’re speaking French, and I’m speaking Spanish. And that’s why we might be missing each other. What’s your love language? Let’s find out. So take that test.

Second thing is really commit, and I do mean commit to regularly expressing that love language. So for me, I have to really remember for my wife, it’s just sitting on the couch. Even if it’s watching a Netflix show, if I think it’s a waste of time or whatever, it doesn’t matter. She wants to know, like she wants to know that I’m doing that, and spending time with her. And the third thing, Tim, the third thing I want to give the guys is use this love language as your new framework for giving feedback. And really in any arguments or disputes with your partner, with your wife, I don’t why I keep saying partner. Use this as feedback for her, use this as feedback for what you can use it to resolve the conflict and move past it.

So if I’m going to use Tim as my partner, Tim, you’re now my wife. If it’s words of affirmation and Tim and I are in disagreement, I might want to use words of affirmation to bring Tim’s walls down, so to speak, and then make Tim feel comfortable, not from a place of manipulation, but from a place of being heard. And I think that’s a critical, critical differentiation.

Tim Matthews 25:18

Yeah, I think you’ve given some good action points there. I think the only thing I’d add is and you mentioned this before, just start to observe people. Start to observe people you care about, be it in your relationship, be it even your kids depending on their age, people at work, your friend. Just start to observe how they’re showing you or others how they care for them. And you’d be amazed what you can start to pick up on what people’s love languages are.

Again, those five love languages, you’ve got physical touch, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, and gifts. Now, which of those five do they fall into? And you could always do a little bit of an experiment. What if you started them talking their love language, and just weave in little things in to your everyday interactions with them in the way that they give it, and you start to do that for them. And does that change the dynamic of your relationship with them at all? Does that change their mood towards you all? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Could be a cool game to play.

Doug Holt 26:21

What a great suggestion. I love that. I love how you use a game to play, right, guys. Make this fun, right? Life is to be fun, like be the CFO, the Chief Fun Officer of your house. And as you’re learning a new language, the reason kids — one reason kids can learn faster than adults is because kids make it fun. Right? They make it fun. So keep it fun with your partner as well. Tim, great job, man. I always love the insights that you give, and it’s fun having you back in the saddle. I can’t wait till you get back in the States where you can be back here behind me recording these live together. I’m really excited about that.

Tim Matthews 26:55

Me too.

Doug Holt 26:57

A quick shout out to Animal and Grace Mountain for providing today’s coffee. Thanks, buddy. For us, Grace Mountain makes amazing coffee, amazing honey. My shipments are always well received. So gentlemen, as we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. What are you going to do? What is your love language? What is your wife’s, and what is your kids? What’s the love language of your kids? Imagine being able to provide your kids a foundation of being seen and heard just simply because you’ve taken the time to apply what we’ve talked about today to our lives. Even if you just use this for your children, you are going to be ahead of 99% of the fathers out there.

Use this with your wife and you’re going to be ahead of 99% of the husbands out there. Gentlemen, that’s what we want for you, and that’s why we have almost, gosh, 800 episodes now, Tim, coming out of this podcast. We’re really giving away all of our best stuff to you guys for free. However, if you want this boiled down into an easy to follow methodology that thousands of other men just like you have followed, go over to thepowerfulman.com.

You can go over there and actually schedule. Go to thepowerfulman.com/applynow. Get on with one of our advisors, you’ve talked to a lot of them in the previous episodes, and they can actually get on there and help you, and help you decide if this is the right fit for you. Fast track it, right. Time is of the essence. Fast track your learning and growth and we’ll see you next time on the TPM show.