The key to true love and a happy relationship may rest on how well you understand five important love languages.

According to a study by Oxford University, Australian men make the worst husbands in the world. Why? Apparently they loathe helping out with the housework. As the proprietor of a pretty decent Aussie Husband, I want to defend our men and suggest that this study was asking the wrong questions, because cleaning the house is not the only reason to love a man.

I’m going to pop on my marriage celebrant hat here and recommend a book I instruct all my clients to read to ensure the marriage lasts longer than the best man’s speech. It’s a New York Times bestseller and I was given it when I was getting married the first time more than 12 years ago, but I didn’t read it. I made sure I did the second time.

The 5 Love Languages is written by an American Christian marriage counsellor and if love makes the world go round then this book quite possibly could save the world. The theory is simple. The book’s author, Gary Chapman, believes there are five love languages and the key to a happy marriage is to work out which one your partner responds to and act on that love language. The languages are Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Working out your partner’s love language is simple; just watch and listen.

If your partner often complains that “we don’t spend any time together” they are more than likely needing Quality Time. You may feel you do spend plenty of time together, but it may not be enough for the partner who feels truly loved only when you are joined at the hip.
“You never help around the house” might not be just the voice of a nagging wife; your wife most probably needs Acts of Service. You may buy her flowers, tell her she looks pretty or want to cuddle her 10 times a day, but if all she wants is the washing hung up and to be made a cup of tea, you are not speaking her language.

When your partner opens another gift you bought that she doesn’t like and looks disheartened she (or he) could be Gifts. Gifts aren’t about being materialistic; they can be small, large or even picked out of your next-door neighbour’s garden because it’s about the thought behind the gift. It says you were thinking of me, you know me and bought me the perfect gift which means you love me.
If your partner is a touchy feely type person and doesn’t shy away from public displays of affection (think the Premier’s wife, Lisa Newman, oh and me) then chances are Physical Touch is their language.

Finally Words of Affirmation, that’s a personal one for me. I’ve discovered that’s my husband’s language. When we fought, if I said something hurtful, he would take it to heart and carry those words for days, actually sometimes years! But when I tell him how wonderful he is he beams for days.

So gentlemen, listen up! It may take a few more cuddles than usual, a thoughtful gift, an onslaught of compliments or a surprise long lunch date to prove you are the best husband in the world. And if your wife has been giving signals her language is Acts of Service, then simply picking up that vacuum cleaner and Hoovering away happily is a small price to pay for love.