As Valentine’s Day approaches, I find myself reflecting on the desire to let our partner know we care, to show them love, and the frustrating difficulty we can have doing so. We can put out our best effort and still be heartbreakingly disappointed when our partner does not respond the way we expected. What we often don’t realize is that our partner may not receive love or affection in the same way we prefer to express it. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, explains this difference in what he has coined “love languages,” and highlights the importance in being able to speak your partner’s love language. He lays them out as follows:
1. Words of Affirmation : Verbal compliments and appreciations
2. Quality Time : Spending undivided and undistracted time together
3. Receiving Gifts : Tangible, visible symbols of thoughtfulness
4. Acts of Service : Utilizing action to demonstrate love
5. Physical Touch : Needing touch to feel loved and valued
Chapman goes on to discuss that we all have a primary love language and a secondary love language, and that similar to spoken language, love languages all have multiple dialectics through which to express affection. This is where we get to be creative with how we show our partner love! There is no “right way” to love our partner within their love language. What’s important is holding a curiosity for how your partner receives love. If their primary love language is physical touch, do they prefer cuddling before bed, or quick hugs throughout the day? Get to know the way your partner receives love and strive to implement their language as a new practice in your relationship!
The more we can love our partners in the way they receive love, rather than they way we receive love, the less likely it is that we will be disappointed when we express our love.
Take this short quiz to identify your primary and secondary love languages and share your results with your partner! : http://www.5lovelanguages.com
*These love languages are applicable in all relationships in our lives, not simply romantic ones.