A couple walked into my office, both complaining that they did not feel loved or appreciated by their partner. When talking to each of them, it was clear to me that they each did care for the other, so why were they both feeling so unloved? It's often the case that we learn to express our love in a particular way, and expect to receive love that
way too. For example, a person may have grown up in a household where love was expressed verbally, and they feel loved when they are told so. If they aren't affirmed verbally, they may end up feeling unloved. Another person may have grown up in a home where love was expressed through physical affection, so they give and receive love that way, and without it, feel unloved. So what happens when two people get together with two different love languages? Unless they learn to “speak” each other's language, they may end up feeling unloved, even though their partner is doing everything they think the other person needs. It may be the case that they are giving to their partner exactly what they, themselves want, but not what the other person wants to feel loved!
In his book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Chapman outlines five different ways a person may give and receive love. Learning your own and your partner's language can help you improve your relationship. Once you know what your language is, you can communicate that to your partner to help them know what to do to make you feel loved. Once you know your partner's language, you'll know what to do to help them feel loved by you. Please note, you don't have to understand why the person feels loved through their language, you just have to do it! It may not make sense to you why they need what they need, especially if your language is different, but the most important thing is to just do it! If it makes them feel loved, they will feel good, and it will affect your relationship.
So do you know what your love language is? Do you know what your partner's is?
Chapman identifies the five love languages as the following:
1. Words of Affirmation - Providing encouraging words to your partner verbally, by giving them compliments or praise, even writing a letter or poem to express you appreciation and love for them.
2. Quality Time – Providing your undivided attention to your partner and having meaningful communication, or doing activities together that are important to your partner.
3. Receiving Gifts – Providing thoughtful and meaningful symbols of your love, this may or may not involve money.
4. Acts of Service – Providing your thoughts, efforts, time and energy to actively complete household chores or other meaningful services.
5. Physical Touch – Providing your physical presence through touch, whether hand-holding, embracing, kissing, intercourse or even gentle touches during the day.
Think about moments when you feel loved. What language is being used to affirm you? What do you do for your partner to make them feel loved? If you are still not certain what your love language is, you can take a quiz to discover it by visiting The Five Love Languages website at: http://www.5lovelanguages.com
Take the quiz, and have your partner take the quiz too. Find out your languages, and use them! It just may make all the difference in the world.