If you’re trying to improve communication, it helps to speak the same language!
Learn how with the 5 Love Languages
Welcome to 2019!
Despite the predictions of Philip K. Dick’s Blade Runner, a lot of things are still the same.
Couples still struggle with communication! Some are practical problem-solvers who just want to get to the solution. Others just want to be heard and have their emotions validated. With Valentine’s Day just around the bend, these tips can save your relationship.
Dr. Gary Chapman in his book the 5 Love Languages, talks about the different languages people speak in expressing and receiving love. If this is not a book or concept that you’re familiar with, then you and your partner need to check it out!
It’s important to know what your partner’s primary love language is as well as your own. “It’s not that you need to ditch your primary love language and learn a whole new one. But knowing which ones mean the most to your partner and using that one a bit more will go a long way.”
The 5 Love Languages
The five languages (in no particular order) are:
Quality Time – This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.” In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.
Words of Praise – Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.
Acts of Service – Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.
Receiving Gifts – Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.
Physical Affection – This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.
*Taken from the 5 Love Languages website
You can take a free quiz here to determine your Love Language
In talking with your partner about your respective love languages, it’s important to go over a few things.
Celebrate Your Differences
I often see couples who have very different or completely opposite love languages. This isn’t always a bad thing. Often we are attracted to our partners differences which compliment and balance our own personality’s and ability’s. What’s important is to know what each persons definition of a particular love language is.
Operational Definitions are key!
For some, physical affection may include public displays of affection; whereas others may want no part of that.
One partners view on what constitutes quality time may differ greatly from the others. The idea is to know what each others definitions and preferred ways of expressing a particular love language are. The more clearly you paint the target, the easier it is for your partner to meet your need.
Just Keep Swimming
Try to avoid a score-keeping mentality! This often leads to resentment and Negative Sentiment Override (I’ll explain this more in a future post). Little changes over time add up to big differences in your relationship. If you’re practicing expressing your partners love language but they aren’t recognizing your efforts or reciprocating that can be extremely frustrating. It’s important to express that appropriately; but, it’s also important to keep using your partner’s love language as that is the one they recognize the most.
We’ll continue unpacking the tips referenced in this blog post – Relationship 911: 9 Ways To Save Your Relationship in the next post.
Up Next: Relationship 911 – Watch For The Apocalypse