All couples experience relationship issues, ups and downs in their relationships. Expecting otherwise might not be realistic, and most likely boring anyway. Are men really from Mars and women from Venus and do we speak different languages? Perhaps… The biggest communication problem couples experience is speaking different love languages or expressing love differently.
As Dr. Gary Chapman reveals in his book “The Five Love Languages”, people express love in different ways. According to him, there are five specific languages of Love: Quality time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.
Discovering your primary love language and understanding your partner’s language might be crucial for your relationship.
“If we are to develop an intimate relationship, we need to know each other’s desires. If we wish to love each other, we need to know what the other person wants.”
So here are the Five Primary Love Languages:
If this is the primary language of your partner, spending quality time with them and giving them your undivided attention is extremely important. Sitting on the couch and watching TV together is not spending quality time together nor giving them your undivided attention – the TV gets your attention instead. Undivided attention means spending time together, focusing on each other without distractions. For example taking a walk together, looking at each other and talking; or sitting in a restaurant and looking at each other, having a quality conversation and fun instead of looking around or staring at your phone. It is not about how much time you spend together but the quality of the time spent together and making the other person feel special. Togetherness has a lot to do with focused attention and doing fun things together.
Words of Affirmation
This love language is about expressing your love verbally, affirming each other. Verbal compliments, acknowledgment, and words of appreciation are powerful communicators of love.
Hearing words like “You look stunning in that dress, wow!” or “ I really appreciate you doing this for me!” will most likely make your partner very happy if that’s their primary love language.
When we communicate love verbally, we must use kind words. Sometimes the tone of your voice is more important than the words you use. The same sentence might be interpreted in different ways depending on the way you say it.
Gifts are symbols of love. You must be thinking of someone to give them a gift, something that will remind them of you and how thoughtful you are. If your partner’s love language is Gifts, there is nothing they would love more than receiving a well-thought gift on a special occasion or “just because”. Gifts don’t have to be expensive to express love. To people whose primary language is receiving Gifts, the cost of the gift will matter little as it is an expression of love and it can be bought or made.
Acts of Service
Acts of Service mean doing things you know your partner would like you to do. Your goal is to please them by doing something for them that would make them happy.
Such actions of service could be cooking a meal, washing the dishes, cleaning, changing the baby’s diaper, changing the cat’s litter box, washing or fixing their car, etc. Actions of service require thought, planning, action, effort, and if done with a positive attitude they can be powerful expressions of love.
Physical touch is a powerful way of communicating emotional love. Showing affection, holding hands, hugging, kissing, and lovemaking are all ways of showing emotional love to your partner. Notice we are not talking here only about sex, but also physical touch that has to do with expressing emotions such as affection and love. Individuals for whom physical touch is the primary love language, they yearn emotionally for their partner to reach out and express their love through touch-holding hands, placing your hand on their shoulder, giving them a hug and/or a kiss, etc.
“Physical touch can make or break a relationship.”
“If your spouse primary language is physical touch, nothing is more important than holding her as she cries.”
Miscommunication comes from people expressing love the way they would like to receive it. The important part to remember is to give love the way your partner wants to receive it.
“Most sexual problems in relationships have little to do with physical technique but everything to do with meeting emotional needs.”
So how do you discover your and your partner’s primary love language?
Some people will recognize their primary love language immediately after ready the above description. Others might have difficulty picking only one – that’s okay. Spend some time thinking about which one fits most and then list the other four in the other of importance.
Ask yourself “What does my partner do or fail to do that hurts me most deeply?” The opposite of what hurts you the most is probably your love language. Also, the way you express your love to your partner may be the indication of your primary love language.