Did you know you have a secret language that you use to “talk” to your partner? The same is true for your partner. The first step to healing your relationship is learning how to tune into each other’s secret language.
According to Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, there are 5 primary ways that couples express their love for one another. They are:
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
For many people, there are 1 or 2 of the above “love languages” that are more important to them than the rest. That is, they can easily identify particular things that their partner does that make them feel truly loved and cared for. For example, one person loves it when her partner buys her flowers, coffee, tickets to the theatre, trinkets, etc.. Her love language would be classified as “receiving gifts.” The other person in that relationship feels loved when his partner takes out the garbage, loads and unloads the dishwasher, vacuums, etc.. His love language would be classified as “acts of service.” In a good relationship, both partners know each other’s love language and express it on a regular basis.
Identifying a primary love language is part of building a healthy relationship. It doesn’t mean that other languages, like physical touch (e.g. hugs, kisses, holding hands) or words of affirmation (e.g. “You’re so caring,” “ You’re such a good cook,” “ You are so thoughtful”) are not also essential to a positive relationship. It’s just that for one partner (in the above example), getting gifts is the way she feels the most loved and for the other partner, it’s having tasks done around the house.
Take a moment and think about your love language. Which one is it? Does your partner know this about you? If the answer is yes, does your partner express his/her love for you using this language? Do you know your partner’s love language? Do you express your love of him/her using it? If not, why?
Often, when couples don’t know each other’s love language, they end up feeling unappreciated, dissatisfied, frustrated, and sometimes resentful. If one partner expresses his love by being physically affectionate, he often secretly expects that his partner will value his chosen love language. He believes that he is being loving towards his partner but while she enjoys the affection, she isn’t completely fulfilled by it. Her love language is actually quality time. She would prefer that her partner make time to be together, just the two of them, doing things they enjoy. So, she ends up feeling disappointed and dissatisfied much of time and he ends up feeling frustrated that his physical affection is not enough.
Unfortunately, even when couples can identify their partner’s primary love language, they still struggle with implementing it. Knowing how to be more loving doesn’t always translate into being able to do it. Relationships develop certain dynamics over time that can make giving and receiving love more difficult. It is important to understand these dynamics in order to learn how to improve your relationship.
Ask your partner what his/her love language is then try and express your love for him/her using this language. How hard/easy was it for you? How was it received?
If this was harder than you expected or raised some additional questions, please don’t hesitate to call me at 781-862-6772.