Recently, I had a couple in my office. The wife was feeling “not cared for” and the husband was feeling “underappreciated”. She said, “He never tells me that he loves me and he never holds my hand”. He said. “I make her coffee every single day and bring it to her before she can get out of bed, so how could she think I didn’t love her?” This is a great example of people who have two different love languages and get frustrated with one another, feeling as if they aren’t having their needs met. Maybe you can relate to this situation? Not quite sure how to help your partner know how best to love you?
It turns out that we all speak our own love language and it is critically important to know what that language is. Gary Chapman’s classic book The 5 Love Languages is a quick and easy read that I recommend to couples. In the book, he describes five different ways we show and receive our love, or the five love languages. I believe that when we self-reflect and become more aware about ourselves and the way that we best receive love we can become more attuned to our needs and learn how to verbalize those need. And then learn that the needs of our partner may be very different than our own needs. And that’s ok! At the end of the article is a link to a quiz so you can find out what your primary love language is!
Here is a a quick summary of each of the five languages.
1) Words of Affirmation. If this is your primary love language then you appreciate hearing compliments and receiving encouraging and kind words. Words of affirmation such as “you look beautiful” and “I love your sense of humor” fill your love tank.
2) Physical Touch. If this is your primary love language then you appreciate when your partner holds your hand, pats you on the back, or hugs you to express their love.
3) Quality Time. If this is your primary love language then you love to receive your partner’s undivided attention. The cell phone is put away, the TV is turned off, and your partner is looking at you and listening to you or just spending dedicated time with you.
4) Gifts. The person who primarily speaks this language is not necessarily focused on material things, but on the thoughtfulness behind the gift that means so much. For this person, a gift shows you how much you are cared for and it represents a message that you are treasured.
5) Acts of Service. If this is your love language the best gift you can receive is when you hear, “let me do that for you”. This can include helping around the house, running errands, putting gas in your car, making your breakfast are all expressions of this love language.
Click here for the quiz. Ask your partner to do the quiz as well. By discovering both of your love languages this may stimulate some great conversation. It is important not only to know your own love language, but your partner’s as well. Most of us tend to give love to our partner in ways that align with our own language but this may cause problems if your partner has a different love language than yours. For example, if your primary love language is Acts of Service and that is the primary way you share your love with your partner, then they may feel unfulfilled in the relationship if they have a different love language than yours. Because of this, your partner could be feeling like their love tank is getting low. To avoid this, you want to learn your partner’s language and speak to them in that language so you may be able to fill their fill their metaphorical love tank.
If you would like to learn more about how to be more conscientious of your partner’s needs or about how to feel more fulfilled in your relationships, please feel free to give me a call. Dr Lee LeGrice 817-307-8725.