How Love Languages Can Help You Succeed in Relationships
Developed by Gary Chapman, the concept of love languages is designed to help us understand how we want to be loved so we can learn how to love each other better.
One main issue that many couples report having is feeling unloved by their partner even though their partner may not be consciously neglecting them. This problem arises because their partners were loving them in a different ‘love language.’ And when love doesn’t come in the same ‘love language’ as the one they understand, partners feel unloved.
But what are the different love languages, and can you learn to speak them all? Fortunately, the answer is yes. But first, find out which ones you and your partner speak. Here are the five different love languages you may speak.
1. Words of Affirmation
Many of us believe that showing your love is much more important and meaningful than just saying “I love you,” but not everyone feels the same way. Since communication is a cornerstone of a healthy, stable relationship, it makes sense that we need to remember to communicate appreciation and love for each other as well.
Words of affirmation can include anything that shows appreciation, like:
“You look great in those jeans.”
“I’m proud of you.”
“I love you so much.”
2. Acts of Service
On the flip side of the coin, showing your love can be more meaningful to some than all the words in the world. Acts of service can be anything that your partner would like you to do for them. Doing the dishes, washing laundry, maintaining the car, vacuuming, picking up groceries, cooking dinner, are all acts of service.
When you do something sweet for your partner just because you want to make their life easier, that is an expression of love. Most acts of service require forethought, effort, consideration, and throwing certain stereotypes and expectations out the window. If you can make your partner feel loved by doing the dishes and vacuuming the house, there is no such thing as "But that's not my job."
There’s no excuse to making your spouse feel unloved just because you have a different love language.
You can’t buy love, but buying gifts for your spouse as an expression and reminder of your love can sustain a committed relationship if gifting is your or your spouse’s love language. A gift can let your partner know that you were thinking of them. It doesn’t matter how much the gift costs. It’s not only the thought that counts, but how that thought is expressed through buying and giving the gift.
If you’re the kind of person who’s really bad at giving gifts, it’s time to learn how to if gifting is your spouse’s love language. There’s no excuse for making your spouse feel unloved just because you have a different love language. Luckily, gifting is one of the easiest love languages out of the five.
4. Quality Time
No, watching TV together doesn’t really count. There’s nothing wrong with a little Netflix, but when that’s the only time you spend together, you’re never giving each other your undivided attention.
After a long week at work and coming home often too tired to have a meaningful conversation, it's too easy to forget how to enjoy each other's company. So make sure to put aside some time sans devices to connect with each other and catch up. Take a nighttime stroll through the neighborhood, go on a date (not the movies) and just talk to each other. If quality time is your partner’s love language, the best gift you can give them is your time.
Physical touch doesn’t always mean intercourse. Something as simple as a hug, sitting close together, or a brief kiss before leaving for work will be enough for most.
5. Physical Touch
This may be tougher if you didn’t grow up in a touchy-feely family, but research has shown that babies who were held and kissed more were better developed emotionally than babies who were left alone for long periods of time. So physical touch is a powerful way to communicate love and affection between two people.
If physical touch is your partner’s primary love language, they will need to be touched, kissed, and held often to feel loved and secure with you. It is also how they communicate their emotional love to you. Physical touch doesn’t always mean intercourse. Something as simple as a hug, sitting close together, or a brief kiss before leaving for work will do the trick most of the time.
What’s Your Love Language?
If you’re not sure what your love language is, ask yourself this:
When do you feel most loved by your partner? Is it when your partner prioritizes spending time with you? Is it when your partner hugs you? When you receive a shiny new gift? Or when your partner looks you in the eyes and tells you how much they love you?
Make a list of things that make you feel loved and ask your partner to do the same. More likely than not, you’ll start to see a pattern emerge.
Poll: Your Love Language
What’s your primary love language?
© 2018 KV Lo