What makes you feel loved and appreciated? When your partner does things around the house and you feel you are a team? Or when your partner tells you how proud they are of your accomplishment? Or when the two of you spend uninterrupted time together?
Or do you feel closer to your partner when you receive impromptu gifts or when your partner notices you are tired and they offer to give you a massage?
How about your partner? Do you know their Love Language?
Do you try to be physically present? Do you buy gifts? Do you do practical things around the house? Or do you take time to sit and listen to your partner and praise your partner for their accomplishment?
Knowing your own and your partner's Love Language can make all the difference in your relationship.
Even though this article focuses on romantic love relationships, Love Languages are not exclusive to love partners. Everyone has a certain way of feeling loved and appreciated. When we are attuned to the Love Language of our partner or people we love (a friend, a family member, a child) we show them that we care, that we took the time to find out who they are and what they like. We are sending the message that this person matters to us.
Last night as we sat down for a meal with friends, one of the guests found a beautifully polished black stone on his seat: 'This will be for my daughter, she loves these types of things!' he exclaimed. You would have thought he'd found a treasure. To him it was: his daughter will appreciate the gift.
So, how will you know you are getting it right?
According to Gary Chapman "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate' understanding and speaking your partner's love language can greatly improve your relationship.
Let's have a look at ways Love can be expressed.
Words of Affirmation
This love language involves expressing love and appreciation through spoken or written words.
Have you noticed that compliments, kind and encouraging words, and verbal appreciation are important to your partner? Rather than nagging and repeatedly asking your partner to do something, tell them (no cheekiness or passive-aggressive tone) how you appreciate their support around the house, with the kids, with the car or the garden. It will work wonders!
How about you? What would you like to hear your spouse say to you?
People with this love language value spending meaningful and undivided attention with their loved ones. It's not just about being physically present but also actively engaging in activities or conversations that create a deeper connection.
Do you often hear your partner complain that you are 'never there for me', that you work such long hours, that you don't seem to care about me.' In reality you are probably busy earning a living so that you can have great holidays together or you can buy better gifts.
It's all about quality not quantity. Notice how you spend time together. Are you looking at each other? Are you paying attention when you are talking, or are you on your phone or half watching something on the TV. Focused attention and quality conversations will help you both feel connected.
What can you do to improve quality time? Be curious, ask your spouse what they want to do (don't assume you know). Discuss and plan together a weekend away or the next holiday. Focus on spending relaxing time together. Take a walk together, and discuss your day.
How about you? If quality time together is your love language, tell your partner 'I love spending time with you. I miss you when you are not here.' You are more likely to be heard.
This love language is about giving and receiving physical symbols of love. Gifts can be small or extravagant, and the thought and effort put into choosing them are what matters most to those who speak this Love Language. The gifts are a reminder of love. Gifts do not have to be expensive. Symbols of love can be as natural as a leaf or a feather, or a stone that you particularly like. 'Let nature be our guide' - Gary Chapman.
Is choosing a gifts for your partner stressful? Ask for some ideas. Maybe you can't afford the type of gifts your partner wants. Be courageous and speak up to avoid resentment.
How about you? Are gifts important to you? How do you convey your message?
Acts of Service
This love language involves expressing love through helpful actions. Whether it's doing household chores, running errands, or providing support in practical ways, these acts of service can show care and consideration. To some people they might not be great proof of love, but they would be missed if they were to stop.
In his book, Gary Chapman relates how he discovered the importance of Acts of Service in an Asian Community. In some families, it's natural that mum stays at home and does everything, but it doesn’t mean mum would not like to be supported?
My own father was rather introverted and was not a talker. When I was a child, I wished he had complimented us a bit more or he had spent more time with us or even bought us gifts. Maybe my mother did too! Like many men of his generation, he showed his love and care by 'doing things' around the house and the garden. He took care of all the maintenance a house requires. We did not always see it as an expression of his love, but today that he is no longer with us, my mother really misses the 56 years of 'acts of service' she used to enjoy.
Today's partners are more likely to expect to be a team (each knows their role) and Acts of Service might not be seen as expressions of love. So don't be too surprised if your help around the house is not profusely appreciated.
How about you? Do you relate? Does your partner appreciate when you 'help' around the house? Do you help around the house?
Physical touch is the Love Language of those who feel most loved through physical contact. Hugs, holding hands, cuddling, and other forms of touch are vital in expressing affection and creating intimacy.
If your partner's love language is touch it will be important to hold her hand or hold her in your arms when she is upset. There are many opportunities during the day that you spend together to hold and touch each other's hand, shoulder, rub each other's back, sit close to each other and reach for your partner.
How about you? Is Physical Touch and Affection important to you? Do you feel close to your partner when you are holding hands or sit close to each other? Think of ways you can honour your needs without overwhelming your partner. It is an opportunity to have an honest dialogue and listen to what is possible for your partner.
One size doesn't fit all
So we can conclude that when it comes to expressing and receiving love, we can be very different. What is a great expression of love for one partner is not necessarily true for the other partner.
Honest, transparent, calm communication is crucial. When we understand how our partner receives love, we can express love in ways that are meaningful and resonate deeply with one another.
Discovering your love language and that of your partner can be done through observation and open communication. Pay attention to how you naturally express love and what makes you feel most loved and appreciated. Discussing these preferences with your partner can foster a deeper understanding and create a stronger emotional connection in your relationship.
It's hard to 'guess' what our loved ones' Love Language is. First they might not have identified it in so many words themselves, and second they might have more than one.
Why not have fun together and complete the Love Language Quiz to find out what are your and your partner's Love Language is.
February sees a frenzy of chocolate, teddy bears, cards and roses. Today, I noticed how the aisles of the shops are already displaying bright red St. Valentine's gifts. There is nothing wrong with chocolate and flowers, but knowing your partner's love language can make all the difference in our relationship.
Ask yourself: what would your partner really like to receive? You will send the message that your partner is important and you know them well.
Knowing your own and your partner's love language can make all the difference in your relationship. Speaking each other's love language can improve communication, connection, and overall relationship satisfaction. Find out what your partner’s love language is and express your love in a way that is meaningful to them.
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