The Languages of Love
Have you ever found yourself saying to your partner “you never show me you love me” or, “you don’t even acknowledge when I tell you I love you?” You may be experiencing a difference in your languages of love. Just like English, Spanish, Mandarin, love is a language that we all speak. Think of your language of love as one dialect and your partner may have a completely different language of love that they are speaking. When this happens, the two of you often times do not recognize when the other is saying “I love you.” And, you probably feel frustrated when your efforts go unnoticed.
How to know which language of love you are:
True or False…
Using your Words:
- Would you prefer your partner tell you that you look nice that day or give you a hug?
- When your partner tells you they’re proud of you it means more than if they brought you coffee in the morning.
- Hearing “I love you” every day is more special than getting Saturday mornings with your partner.
- You’d rather your partner say how much they appreciate you than to buy you a bracelet.
Using your Touch
- Do you enjoy a hug from your partner in the morning before you leave your home more than hearing the words “I love you?”
- Would you rather cuddle on the couch with your partner over finding out they are out getting your dry cleaning for you and will be home a little later than usual.
- Do you value getting a trinket from your partner to let you know they’re thinking about you less than having sex with them?
- Cuddling while having a picnic sounds more appealing than having a nice dinner sitting across from one another.
Using your Time
- You rather your partner hang out with you while you cook dinner over doing some chores around the home while you cook dinner?
- Going on a short vacation with your partner is better than getting that watch you’ve been eying from your partner.
- You’d rather your partner sit with you while you get ready in the morning than hear them tell you to have a nice day.
- Going for a long hike with your partner is more important than having sex.
Using your Money
- Having your partner treat you to ice cream is better than holding hands on the way to ice cream.
- Your partner surprises you with a gift from their trip they were just on is better makes it that you haven’t seen them in 2-weeks okay.
- Your partner paying for your car to get fixed over the phone is better than them taking your car to get fixed with your credit card.
- Getting something that is tangible such as jewelry is better than hearing how much your partner appreciates you.
If you had more True’s than False’s in a group, you are more likely that language of love.
Using Your Words
Most of the time we think the language of love is as simple as saying “I love you.” However, sharing love can be so much more than just those three words. Your language of love can be affirmations, really building your partner up so that they see themselves the way you see them. Telling them they look good that day, or how well they did getting the kids to sleep. Letting them know how much you appreciate them for the small things, as well as the big things. These little “pick me ups” should be done on a daily basis in order to build your partner up and, simultaneously, feel good that you’re able to give to your partner.
The harder language of love in the realm of using your words is vulnerability and validity. Too often, we get stuck in patterns of defensiveness and criticism. By using your words, you can validate your partner’s experience, even if you don’t agree. This, perhaps, is the biggest “I love you” is when you can set your own agenda aside in order to truly listen to your partner and hear their experience.
On the flipside of validating your partner, you can be vulnerable with your partner. Share those not-so-easy-to-share fears, doubts, insecurities, etc. you have of yourself. By doing so, you are allowing your partner to see you as human, and maybe even opening the door for them to connect with you by sharing in those same feelings.
Using Your Body
For many, skin hunger is a very real issue. They crave human touch. Research shows that human touch can be a stress reliever, lowering cortisol levels. If you partner, or child, are feeling upset try hugging them. You will find that the longer you hold them, the more they will calm down. Aside from needing the touch physically for stability, many people need touch for emotional stability.
Too often we get stuck in ruts where we give the quick kisses goodbye with little to no meaning behind them. You can say, “I love you” with a passionate kiss. Knowing your partner likes their back rubbed and waking them up with a back rub or scratch can say so much without ever using your words. Making time for a hug while you’re cooking dinner, or holding hands on your nightly walk can go a long way for people.
Using Your Time
Everyone struggles to balance his or her busy schedules. If it’s not work, it’s a social commitment or your child’s soccer game. In the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day schedule, it feels really good to know that you are a priority in someone’s life. Taking 5-minutes just to chat and hang out with your partner can go a long way. Prioritizing your Saturday around your partner and spending time with them can be so special.
Make sure that your time spent with one another isn’t just being in the same place at the same time. Interact with one another. Put your phones down, close your computers, shut the television off and connect. Go to that new restaurant you’ve wanted to try out, or that exercise class that your partner loves but you haven’t been able to get to with them. Have an experience with one another, even if that means laughing on the couch.
Using Your Money
If you see something that makes you think of your partner, get it for them. Being showered with gifts feels nice for a lot of people and will say a lot, including “I love you.” Many people place a high value on money. By spending money and giving gifts to a person, they see that as you valuing them.
You don’t necessarily have to buy a person gifts, you could take them out to dinner or plan a vacation. You can surprise them by paying for their new tires on their car. Something somewhat untraditional and seemingly unromantic but still says, “I love you.” Spending money on a person let’s them know you can take care of them and support them. Spending money can make a person feel secure.
Using Your Favors
Again referencing our busy schedules, it’s nice to catch a break. You can be your partner’s break. If you know they are coming home late from work and haven’t had a break in their day, meet them at the door with their favorite meal and the house cleaned. Or maybe you just went on a great trip to the beach but they now have sand all over their car. You could wash it for them. Finding little ways to make your partner’s life a little easier is showing you love them.
Once you have answered the above questions, you should have an idea of which languages of love you tend to speak. Be direct with asking your partner to speak your language. Reading this article together can help with your assertiveness. At the same time, understand what your partner’s languages are and look to recognize when they may be speaking their language to you. Use the examples above for each language of love in order to give and share love with your partner on a daily basis. By doing so, you can only grow your relationship stronger.
Adopted from Gary Chapman’s, The 5 Love Languages