Guy: “Hey baby. Here, I’ve bought you an expensive shiny glittery object – apparently it’s a limited edition!”
Guy: “Wow, you could at least show SOME appreciation.”
Girl: (Thinking) I wish he’d spent that amount of time to earn it, with me instead…
These two were not talking the same love language. Have you had similar conversations?
According to Gary Chapman’s: “The 5 Love Languages”, there are five different ways we show and receive love.
We may have elements of all, but there will be more of a primary and secondary way amongst the five. Understanding your and your partner’s love language could greatly benefit your relationship and your way of showing affection, love and communication.
The girl’s love language in the example above was Quality Time. To her, a gift was not the best way for her to feel connected and loved. It was to spend time with her partner. Undivided attention, shows you are prioritising your time to spend together, that you’re there to be with, talk to and understand. This doesn’t mean being together whilst watching TV or going out to a restaurant and being on your phones!
- Conversing and active listening (not just hearing)
- Romantic dinner dates
- Taking walks together
- Reading together
- Spontaneous coffee / lunch meet-ups
- A holiday for two
The guy’s love language in the above example was Receiving Gifts, so that’s how he thought best to show it. He may have busted his balls to earn the money, spent time researching the product and went out of his way to buy it. But what that represents, might not be as meaningful for the person receiving it. If you know the person’s love language is to receive a gift, make it mean something to them. Whether it’s sentimental, something that’s practical or to make them feel good.
- Listen out for hints and mentions and keep them noted down
- Their favourite chocolates or flowers
- A gift from a business trip
- Books about any topics or issues you may have just discussed
Acts of Service
In other words – helping someone to make their life easier. Being thoughtful as well as practical in offering acts, that will be of service to them. These acts can show you are putting them as a priority, you are part of a team and by taking some pressure off them, actions speak louder than words.
- Cooking dinner and laying the table
- Cleaning / taking the bins out
- Doing the food shop / picking up milk
- Running one-off tasks or day to day admin
Words of Affirmation
“I love you”. It doesn’t get more obvious and important than that – to those who put words above anything else. If you are not saying those words, actions will not take its place. And to make it even more heart-felt – tell them what makes you love them. These can be delivered by a variety of ways at anytime to show that they are in your thoughts and you are purposefully taking the time to acknowledge them and reaffirm to them how special they are to you.
- Love notes inside their book
- Encouragement for them sticking to their goals
- A quick informal toast before dinner to say how much you appreciate their efforts
- Stickies with a message as they open the cereal cupboard
- Texts or Emojis
- Compliments on their appearance
As a way of showing emotional connection, some people find Physical Touch the most important. We place a great deal of connection between love and touch as babies and it’s been shown to develop healthier lives because of it. In adulthood, with a partner, the brief moment it takes to make physical contact, is actually initiated with a thought and indicates to your partner a level of security and affirmation they may be craving.
- Touching whilst watching TV
- Sexual intimacy
- Holding Hands
- Hi & Bye kisses
- Walking past them in the house with a gentle touch
- Back or feet rubs
I’ll conclude with a simple real life example of a recent client, where understanding these five love languages, has changed the way he looks at what it means to give and receive love and affection.
His relationship with his wife has changed. He would buy his wife physical gifts to show his affection, as that is what he would like for himself. But all his wife really just wanted, was his time.
We worked out together that he connected the amount of money spent, with the amount of love he wanted to show – a massive realisation.
For years he would feel like his affection wasn’t really being appreciated, but now understands there’s different ways of showing which would be more meaningful.
What is your partner’s love language and do they know yours?
If you haven’t been, you can now connect better with your partner’s Primary love language, and perhaps understand yours better too. If you can include their Secondary love language for bonus points, then send me a message with how it’s changed your relationship.
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