Have you ever thought, “I know he loves me, but he has a crappy way of showing it?”
I felt like that with my ex. He’d tell me he loved me. He’d often hug me. He even gave me the odd random present. But, if I needed help, I’d have to ask 100 times before he got the message.
It’s not like he didn’t care. He had this belief that people should try to solve their problems – even when they were as small as opening a pickled jar – on their own before asking for help.
We both never realised while we were together that my cries for help weren’t a form of laziness or lack of confidence (I’m asking you because I’m too lazy or don’t think I’m good enough to do it). They were cries for love.
My love language is acts of service. You can tell me you love me 100 times a day, hug me all the time and buy me plenty of presents, but if you see me struggling with something and don’t offer to help (or answer my cries for help), I’m not gonna feel loved.
My new relationship is completely different. I didn’t realise at first what attracted me to A. But, after reading the 5 Love Languages by Dr Gary Chapman, it clicked. If he sees me carrying heavy bags, he always offers to take them all off me. If I’m cooking, he shares some secret tricks to make the dish more tasty. And when we first started dating, he’d always pick me up, even if he lived on the other side of the city.
He speaks my love language. It’s irresistible.
The 5 Love Languages
According to Dr Gary Chapman, people express their love for one another in five different ways:
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Quality time
- Physical touch
We all have a primary love language. Our natural instinct is to express love to others in the same way we like to receive it.
That’s the problem. If your primary love language is gifts and your partner’s quality time, it’ll only be a matter of time before he accuses you of trying to buy him. You’re puzzled. You’re showing your love the only way you know how. How can he accuse you of such a horrible thing?
What your partner understands is quality time. What he needs from you is your whole attention. Turn the phone off, tune out the distractions and spend some time just talking for hours, hiking up a mountain or visiting the exhibition of one of his favourite artists. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as you’re doing it together alone.
If you want this relationship to work, you must learn to speak the language of quality time and your partner the language of gifts.
FYI, the five love languages don’t work just in your romantic relationships. They also apply to your relationships with your parents, children, friends, colleagues… every human interactions, basically. Because we all want to love and be loved.
1. Words Of Affirmation
“Thank you for recommending this restaurant. The food was amazing!”
“You always make me laugh. You have a wonderful sense of humour.”
“I love you.”
People who speak this love language need to hear you express their love for them. They like to be told they’re loved. They feel appreciated when you give them a compliment. They feel valued when you thank them.
If your partner speaks this love language, tell him you love him every day. When he mows the lawn, tell him how much you appreciate he cares so much about your garden. When he makes you laugh, tell him he’s funny. Don’t keep your thoughts to yourself. When they’re positive, share them freely.
It may seem like a small thing to you, but it means the world to him.
Gifts says “I was thinking of you.”
“I was walking down the street when I saw this teddy bear and I was reminded of you.”
“I know you like chocolate cake, so I made one for you.”
“You love collecting rare books. Here’s a new one to add to your collection.”
The cost of the gift doesn’t matter. The meaning behind it does.
If your partner speaks this love language, don’t just buy him random stuff. Pick (or make) something that’s a physical representation of your love and means something special for the both of you.
P.S. Giving experiences rather than material things counts, too.
3. Acts Of Service
When you do something that makes your partner’s life easier, you’re telling him “I love you.” These acts are done out of love, not out of obligation.
If your partner speaks this language, figure out how you could help him out. If he’s tired, offer to walk the dog that night. If he has too much on his plate, take some of the load off him and take charge of calling the plumber/fixing the cupboard/bringing the car to the mechanic.
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, simply ask him what you could do to help him out. When he tells you, do it.
4. Quality Time
Turn your phone, TV, and iPad off. This is 100% distraction-free, focused time on each other. A walk in the park to talk about what happened during your day. A conversation on the sofa in which you bare your hearts out. A dance class where it feels like you’re the only two people in the room.
What you do doesn’t matter. Quality time is being together and giving each other your full, undivided attention.
If your partner speaks this language, schedule some time together away from work, children and responsibilities every week. It’ll put the spark right back into your relationship.
5. Physical Touch
I’m not talking just about sex here. That’s important but what a person with this love language really craves is touch throughout the day. A long, comforting hug. A pat on the back. A high five.
Physical touch and intimacy are powerful ways to communicate emotional love.
The key is to figure out how he likes to be touched. Maybe he loves pats on the back but hates to be touched on the face. Once you figure it out, initiate contact often. Nothing will make him feel more loved.[clickToTweet tweet=”The key to a successful relationship is expressing love in a language your partner understands.” quote=”The key to a successful relationship is expressing love in a language your partner understands.”]
Are You Speaking The Same Love Language?
Speaking the same love language is the key to an amazing relationship.
I hope this brief overview helped you identify yours and your loved ones’. If you’re unsure or would like to know more about the love languages and how they affect your relationships, Dr Gary Chapman has written several books about it:
- The 5 Love Languages (the book that started it all)
- The 5 Love Languages For Men
- The 5 Love Languages For Children
- The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition
Once you begin to express love in ways that make your partner understands, your relationship will transform. You’ll become closer. Happier.
You’ll finally feel the love you always wanted – the love that was there all along.
Over to you, now. What’s your and your partner’s love language? If it’s not the same, what could you do to express your love in a way he understands? Share your thoughts in the comments below.