Understanding is one of the greatest gifts of love. However, even though many of us have heard of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages, in truth people often express love the way they’d like to receive it. But magic happens when we understand our partners’ love language and tailor a special dose of love especially for them, as Mental Health Counselor Marion Rodrigue from Groundwork Counselling reveals.
A “love language” is the preferred way we express and receive love. The 5 love languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.
Words of Affirmation are words of affection, praise, or compliments. For example, “I’m so lucky I married you” or “You look beautiful tonight”.
Quality Time means spending time together and giving your partner your undivided, uninterrupted attention. Quality time consists of talking together and being together without being distracted by cell phones, the TV and so on.
Receiving Gifts means giving your partner tokens of your love via little (or big) meaningful presents. This could be a sentimental card, flowers or buying your partner something you’ve heard him or her say was nice.
Acts of Service means doing things for your partner that you know he or she would appreciate: emptying the dishwasher, doing a load of laundry, cooking a favorite meal.
Physical Touch means holding, stroking, kissing, hugging, sitting closely, having sex and generally being physically affectionate with your partner to show your love.
Love languages are important because we don’t all express love in the same way. What is a deep meaningful way of showing love for one person, may have very little effect on his or her partner, because their love language is different.
In my opinion, the best relationships are made up of two people who understand each other’s language of love and make an effort to express love in their partner’s love language.
Our love language affects our relationship a great deal. Disappointment often sets in when your way of receiving love is different from your partners. We tend to give love the way we would like to receive it, which often leads to feeling like our needs aren’t being met.
We often give love the way we would like to receive it, which can lead to feelings of frustration and frequent misunderstandings. For instance, if my love language is Quality Time, but my partner’s love language is Receiving Gifts, he may shower me with presents, but spend very little time doing things with me, like having coffee together, going on little trips, and so on.
The gifts he gives me are intended to be thoughtful tokens of love, but to me that gesture would probably have very little impact. Because my partner doesn’t spend time with me, I might even think that he doesn’t really love me.
Finding out your partner’s love language is important and understanding your partner’s love language may take a little experimenting.
It’s important to pay close attention to how your partner expresses love toward you. Does she hold your hand and hug you often? Does he do little kind things for you like making you dinner? Does she compliment you a lot? Because people tend to give love the way they would like to receive it, your partner’s love language is more than likely the way he or she expresses love toward you.
Expressing love the way your partner likes to receive it makes your partner feel valued, understood and loved. Making the effort to show love in your partner’s love language is an act of love in itself.
It is very important to communicate to your partner how you want to be loved. Because your love language can be very different from your partner’s love language, we tend to expect different ways of loving from one another. Often, difficulties in the relationship arise because you and your partner simply don’t understand or speak the same love language.