We all love love. We express our positive romantic (or friendly) emotions about someone through the love we feel, but the ways we express our love varies. Years ago, Dr. Gary Chapman coined The 5 Love Languages and explained how we can better understand our partners by way of their love language.
We bicker, we beg each other to show us love in the way we particularly prefer to manifest it, and get completely let down when the other doesn't reciprocate. There's a better way to solve our problems: attempting to understand each other and accept the unique ways we show our affection (and wish to receive affection).
1. Words of Affirmation. If you operate in this form of love, you simply enjoy hearing words of affirmation given to you by your loved one. When you go to work all day long, come home and get started on dinner, it can be commonplace to feel as though you do a million things for your partner without recognition or deep appreciation. If you respond to words of affirmation, you best operate when your partner vocally thanks you for your contribution to the relationship and the home.
2. Acts of Service. Similar to words of affirmation, your reassurance of care is proven by acts of service from your loved one, cooking dinner perhaps included. "Actions speak louder than words" is oh-so-true in this instance, and cleaning the kitchen may be an action you crave from them. Helping pick up the house, walk the dog, etc. are all ways you feel appreciated by your sweetie.
3. Receiving Gifts. If you're swayed by receiving gifts, chances are you're a fan of material things. You want perhaps a personalized gift (like a photo album or memory book), or simply you're a big fan of diamonds! Either way, your significant other can please you by gifting you.
4. Quality Time. Instead of being reassured with gifts or kind actions, you may value quality time above all. You are just fine curling up and watching a movie or cooking a meal together, and you don't care about all the extra fluff.
5. Physical Touch. This is pretty self-explanatory--you crave being touched. Whether sexually/intimately or sweet and innocently, you receive love by physically interacting with your sweetheart. Gentle back rubs or massages after a long day are well received.
On the flip side, you will have a default language by which YOU share love to your partner (not just receive it), which may or may not bode well with your partner's expectations. Perhaps you crave the fashion of love with which you naturally give, or perhaps you are satisfied by quality time while you shower your lover with gifts.
It is vital that we acknowledge our partner's preferences, as well as notice our own, being able to communicate this to our partner and work through any conflicts that may arise. Once we become aware of these differences, we are better able to alter our behavior and thinking about how we show and receive love. I think this is a genius concept, and look forward to implementing it into my daily life with Jared. We'll see how it goes!
Are you planning on using these love languages to improve your relationship?