I’m going to share something with you that has only recently come to light in my life. When you hear it, you’re probably going to be as shocked as I was because it is so basic and so obvious BUT has caused so much hurt and broken hearts.
Here it goes…
We are all unique in our preferences to giving and receiving love.
Yup, that’s it!
Yet, we can often find ourselves in arguments or feeling hurt over expectations that we’re putting on others to give or receive love based on our own operating system. This is usually derived from poor communication and a lack of confidence or security to openly express our needs to our partner. Then, layer on a whole bunch of other factors like cultural differences, your mood, their mood, hormones and the weather (yes, it can have an impact!) and you’ve got yourself a whole complex enchilada and nobody knows what they want.
Luckily, Dr Gary Chapman made some sense of all this and has shared it all in his relationship book called The Five Love Languages. It might be 27 years old but it continues to act as a foundation for relationships and marriages, bringing lovers together and very often re-igniting their passion.
Here they are:
Words of Affirmation
Taking a moment to verbally appreciate, acknowledge or compliment your partner. Words of affirmation give them security and comfort in how you feel about them and the relationship. Examples are things like: “You look beautiful in that outfit”, “Thank you for doing that for me” and even “I love you”.
Acts of Service
Anything that you can do for your partner that makes their life a little bit easier or gifts them some time. Acts of service include doing the groceries, making the coffee in the morning, cleaning up the house or picking up their parcel from the depot. They show that you’re attentive to their needs and are reliable to support them. They also show that you’re interested in making a home with them as a team.
These gestures, no matter how big or small, are representations that say “hey, I was thinking about you today”. They make the receiver feel cared for, loved and special. In this case, actions speak louder than words.
Undivided attention. No TV, no phones, no distractions. Just you and them. You can do this at home over dinner, by taking a walk or exploring a new city together. Even great sex counts as quality time and will make your partner feel loved. One last thing to mention is attentive listening and communication.
This also includes non-sexual touch, like holding hands or hands on knees type of thing. Or that little squeeze on their shoulder. Physical presence makes them feel a sense of security and comfort. It’s reassuring.
Perhaps reading through these love languages you felt a stronger connection to one more than the others? Did you see in yourself a difference between how you might give and receive love? If you’re interested, there’s a free test you can do here: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/
So simple, so obvious, but so underutilized.
I’ll leave you with this:
- Learn your love language
- Practice crystal clear communication