The below list was originally compiled by David Ferguson and we have been using it in counseling with couples from the beginning. The list is not exhaustive, but it is a good start to understanding in more concrete detail what it looks like to love your spouse.
We all desire to be loved in each of these 10 ways, but based on our life stage, personality, and gender we all desire to be loved in some of these ways more than others.
Read through the list and circle the top 3 ways your spouse desires to be loved. Then, make a list of 3 ways you can express that type of love to them on a daily basis.
For example, if one of the ways your spouse desires to be loved is Respect, then make a list of 3 ways you can show him / her respect:
- Talk to him gently
- Ask for her opinion in decisions
- Express admiration for a particular strength they possess
(I’m in the process of writing a free ebook that will discuss this entire list, along with examples, in much more detail. If you’d like to receive this as soon as its available, enter your name and email address below)
Top 10 Ways to Love or Serve your Spouse – Mark 10:45
Acceptance: Receiving another person willingly and unconditionally especially when the other’s behavior has been imperfect. Being willing to continue loving another in spite of offenses or differences.
Romans 15:7 – Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
Affection: Expressing care and closeness through physical touch and actually saying “I love you.”
Mark 10:16 – And they were bringing children to him so that He might touch them . . . And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
Appreciation (Praise): Expressing gratefulness through thanks or praise. Recognizing effort or accomplishment.
Colossians 3:15b – . . . and be thankful . . .
Attention: Conveying appropriate interest, concern, and care; taking thought of another; entering another’s world.
1 Corinthians 12:25 – . . . but that the members may have the same care for one another . . .
Comfort: Responding to a hurting person with words, feelings, and touch; to hurt with and for another’s grief or pain; to give consolation with tenderness.
Romans 12:15b – . . . and mourn with those who mourn . . .
Encouragement: Urging another to persist and persevere toward a goal; stimulating toward love and good deeds.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build up one another . . .
Hebrews 10:24,25 – And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds . . . encouraging one another . . .
Instruction (Admonition): Modeling, equipping and training in how to live, or a gentle or friendly reproof.
2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness.
Respect: Valuing and regarding another highly; treating another as important; honoring another; conveying great worth.
Romans 12:10b – …Honor one another above yourselves.
Security (Peace): Harmony in relationships; freedom from fear or threat of harm.
Romans 12:16,18 – Be of the same mind toward one another . . . If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Support: Coming alongside and gently helping with a problem or struggle; providing appropriate assistance; to help carry a load.
Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.