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What Is Marriage Language: Does It Make Your Relationship Better?

Dr. Lisa Lawless

Dr. Lisa Lawless, CEO of Holistic Wisdom
Clinical Psychotherapist: Relationship & Sexual Health Expert

Finger puppets with marriage language (private language)

What Is Marriage Language?

Even if you have not stumbled across those cute couple's videos referred to as 'marriage language' on TikTok, chances are you are familiar with this form of bonding and possibly use them in your own relationship.

So, what is it? It's those sweet and often hilarious nicknames or inside jokes that lovebirds use to describe thoughts, things, and experiences with one another. They're not just adorable and unique; in psychology, they are known as a form of private language, and can indicate your level of happiness in a relationship.

In the TikTok 'marriage language' trend, one partner will show the other pictures and ask them to say what it is. Couples often burst into laughter as they use their private language to describe it.

10 Examples Of Marriage Language

Ever eavesdropped on a couple and thought, "Wait, what did they just say?" Most of us have those secret lovey-dovey lingo moments so let's explore some examples:

1) Nicknames

Cute nicknames in 'marriage language' are quite unique and quirky and typically do not make sense to outsiders. Instead of calling each other traditional nicknames such as "honey" or "sweetie," a couple might call each other "Chicken Feets" or "Wombat" based on a shared experience or joke.

2) Inside Jokes

References to shared experiences in the form of inside jokes that only the two of you understand are another way couples bond. For example, one of you may bring up the infamous 'happy fire incident,' and the next thing you know, you're both laughing while the rest of the room is left scratching their heads. It's those shared secret memories that make romantic bonds so magical.

3) Modified Words Or Phrases

Repurposing everyday words to create your own secret language is another way partners use 'marriage language.' For example, using a phrase like "Let's get out frustrations" as a code phrase for "Let's drive faster" is a bond with your partner in crime by remixing words. When you use these, you activate an emotional adhesive between you.

4) Shared Symbols

Objects, gestures, or other symbols like that quirky hand signal or that secret look you give each other have special meanings for couples. These special symbols act as tokens of your unique love story. So when you squeeze your partner's hand three times it may mean you are saying "I love you."

5) Song References

Referencing a song played on your first date or during another golden memory with special meaning can be another way couples connect. Singing a particular line from the song or referencing it with a phrase is like a shared secret between you two that keeps the two of you rocking to your unique romantic rhythm.

6) Shared Memories

Thinking back to those 'Remember when...' moments with special significance is a wonderful way to connect instantly. For instance, when one of you says, "This is crazier than our bike ride down the mountain in Jamaica," serves as a reference point that only the two of you will remember and bonds you around a special memory.

7) Code Words For Feelings or Situations

Words or phrases that create a secret language just for the two of you to quickly convey feelings or state of mind is another illustration of 'marriage language.' An example of this is saying, "I need to be tucked in," and instantly, your partner knows you're headed for a nap, and you want a kiss and hug before you do.

8) Personalized Greetings Or Sign-offs

Unique and quirky ways of saying hello or goodbye that resonate with shared experiences or jokes are another illustration of shared language. Thus, instead of saying, "Good morning, I love you," a partner might say, "You're like Christmas morn!"

9) Recontextualized Quotes

You know that magic moment when you stumble across a line from your all-time favorite movie or book and think, "Oh my gosh, this is SO us!"? Using quotes from movies, books, or other media is another way that couples share affection.

By taking an iconic quote and giving it a cheeky little twist to make it all about your current vibe makes it uniquely yours. So when your partner tells you about someone who was rude to them, and you say, "Whose car are we taking?" referencing a line from the movie "The Town," it can bring forth laughter and bonding.

10) Shared Routines Or Rituals

Ever notice those quirky little love rituals you have? Routine behavior that a couple does together, which might seem odd or funny to others but hold significance, is another way to have your own private language. For example, squeezing their butt every time you pass one another in the hall makes a couple's bond unique.

Private Language Indicates Happier Couples

Private language or using idioms can be found in relationships regardless of gender or sexual orientation and can be a sign that couples are satisfied in the relationship and happy with one another when used often.

A study in 1993 by Carol J.S. Bruess and Judy C. Pearson published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that couples who use private language and do so often are typically happier in their relationships.

Relationships with private language foster a collective identity, signifying their unique connection. This love language isn't just fun—it's a powerful bonding agent, like a relationship's secret sauce.

It increases bonding, allowing you to instantly reference moments from your past. This not only deepens your emotional connection but sprinkles in a dash of shared laughter. Essentially, it's like building a cozy emotional nest where you both feel safe, valued, and understood.

It Can Diffuse Tension & Avoid Heated Arguments

In the complex dance of relationships, these tender moments of exchange remind us of our deep connection. It can even help to lighten tension and resolve conflicts; like sprinkling a bit of magic dust on stress, couples can instantly feel more united and at ease.

It can diffuse a heated argument with a gentle reminder of love and belonging. Like taking a brief pause and catching our breath, it allows us to remember that, even amidst disagreements, there is an underlying bond and loving connection.

In Closing

Private language is not just for giggles; it's science-backed bonding! Whether it's your adorably bizarre nickname for your significant other or that inside joke from your third date that still makes you laugh, these private exchanges remind us of the good times.

So next time you and your partner share a goofy word or a private laugh, embrace it. Keep sprinkling your relationship with these personal touches, and remember, it's the little things that make a big difference in relationship longevity and happiness.

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