Love is complex, unique, and very special to each person.
There are many different meanings associated with the feeling of love, and the word can be used to describe our feelings about many different things.
So understandably, there can be confusion about how each person expresses their love.
When you are in a relationship it is essential to understand two things:
- The ways your partner feels and receives the love you give.
- How they express love in their own way.
One person’s idea of sharing love can be completely different from the way their partner expresses love and it can be extremely frustrating when you’re reciprocating in different ways.
Your love language is often determined from watching your parents’ interactions and how they expressed their unique love language to their children.
These relationships (or sometimes, lack of) are likely to shape your whole idea of what love is and what it should feel like.
So Gary Chapman came up with a book, and a quiz about the 5 Love Languages so it would be easier to understand the specific needs of you and your partner:
Words of Affirmation
To the people who speak this language, validation and unsolicited compliments will speak higher than any other forms of affection.
Actions may sometimes speak louder than words, but to lovers like this, meaningful words will make the true impact.
If you are a person who needs to hear things in order to feel them, make sure that you communicate this to your partner.
Open communication will help you both better express your feelings and will also help you work through issues in the future.
If your partner needs to hear meaningful words (and you should be able to tell by their reaction when you say different things), make sure that you are putting in the effort to tell them just how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate little things about them.
People who identify with this language can also be sensitive to hurtful insults and verbal abuse, so make sure to think before you speak.
Time is of the essence, but the essence of love is presence to these kinds of lovers.
Love is felt through devoted attention and the act of putting time aside specifically for being focused on one-another. What happens during that time can sometimes be flexible — you can go shopping, go to movies, go on a date, even with another couple, make dinner in the kitchen together, or even clean out the garage!
If this is your language, try and decide on a slot for uninterrupted time together, that way it doesn’t create a stress on your partner to try and create the perfect situation. After a few times, they will catch on to how you want to spend your time together anyway.
If you are with someone who appreciates quality time above all, do your best to make sure that during the time you are spending together, you are focused and present during your interaction. To someone who values this type of time, it is very obvious when you would rather be doing something else or be someplace different. Appreciate the time you can spend together, and the rest of the time will be much more enjoyable as well!
Hug me! Kiss me! Hold me! To this type of lover, the closer you are physically, the more the electricity buzzes!
There is no such thing as personal space and boundaries when love is mainly communicated through touch. A hand on the arm while you are talking, or a small kiss on the cheek (especially in public) will send this person to the moon!
These lovers want to maintain close proximity, especially in private. They can crawl all over you like monkeys and it never gets weird!
If this is you, make sure you start slow and watch for signs of discomfort. Again, especially in public, it can be exhilarating to share your physical love for each other, but sometimes it can feel inappropriate out in the real world.
This language is different from the others because it also involves the rest of the world around you. If you are with someone who communicates love in this way, make sure to set boundaries so that you are comfortable as well.
Acts of Service
To this lover, it is. It doesn’t matter if you have to work 5 blocks away from each other, the fact that you are doing it together, and in a way you are doing them a favor by doing it with them, that makes all the difference.
Whatever you can do to lessen the amount of work and responsibilities from this person, it will make them feel valued and mean the world to them. It’s hard for them to hear, “You’re the best! I love you!” when doing all the dishes while you sit comfortably.
They do things for you, because to them, that shows how much they care.
Although, it may not seem very altruistic to expect the same in return, it happens to be their language of love.
Just offering to help with something out of the goodness of your heart and out of love, not out of owed action or obligation, truly feels like love.
For just about as long as humankind has existed, gifts have represented love and appreciation. It is no secret that people feel appreciated when you have something for them.
Now, whether that be a material or a meaningful gift, that is dependent on the situation — but both are valued. These kinds of lovers respond best when you have some kind of gift waiting and specially picked out to fit their needs.
If you are a person who feels loved when you are presented with gifts, try dropping little clues to your partner as to what would bring you joy.
Picking out a gift can feel stressful and can make a person resentful that they have to provide a material object to display their affection, but if you relieve the pressure of trying to pick something, it can give your partner so much more satisfaction that they were able to provide something you really wanted or needed.
If you are with a lover who likes to receive gifts, try different types of gifts so that it doesn’t always mean you have to spend money to show your partner love.
A simple flower picked from the walk back to your car, or a picture that reminded you of a happy time for you both, or some kind of small memento will typically do the job. Gift lovers tend to be extremely sentimental.
Although we all may speak and understand love differently, it is totally possible to make your significant other, friend, or family member happy just by trying to express a different tone of love.
It may not feel totally right to you, but to them, your needs don’t totally make sense either.
We were all raised in different types of families with differing customs and values.
Which “Love Language” works for you and your partner? Leave a comment below.
And if you haven’t taken the 5 Love Languages Quiz with your partner, try to listen and watch for signs of what makes them the happiest, and just keep doing that!