Couples who understand and know how to speak each other’s love language have discovered the secret to a happy relationship. Effective communication between couples is the glue that keeps the relationship cemented and strong. And communication is much more than spoken words. Communication can take several forms: verbal, non-verbal, and emotional.
What makes you feel loved and appreciated, may not be the same for your partner. You may like to hear words of encouragement and praise while your partner just wants you to fold the laundry and take out the trash.
Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages
Dr. Gary Chapman has had plenty of experience working with couples as a pastor and marriage counselor. Based on his experience counseling couples he concluded that a couple’s emotional love language can be as different as the spoken language. Imagine if your spouse spoke Spanish and you spoke German. How would you communicate effectively? Dr. Chapman realized that couples felt unloved and misunderstood because they spoke different emotional languages. That’s why he wrote The Five Love Languages: How to Express a Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.
A Love Language is an Emotional Communication Preference
Dr. Chapman believes that all of us have a preference in the way we express and receive love, and being attuned to your partner’s preference will show your appreciation for him or her.
We all Need to Feel Loved and Appreciated
All human beings need to feel appreciated because it gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. Being appreciated reinforces our sense of connection and positive attachment. In order for us to be happy and fulfilled, we need to feel loved and cared for. We are hardwired for this. Interestingly enough, we also have the need to reciprocate, to love and care for others. It is no wonder that everyone craves to be in a loving relationship and epitomizes it as a goal for finding true love and happiness.
So how can you ensure that your significant other feels appreciated and loved? You need to understand and know how to speak each other’s love language.
The Five Types of Love Languages
Words of Affirmation–They say that actions speak louder than words, but if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation you’ll have to make sure to tell him or her just how you feel about them and how much you love and appreciate them. Words have power over a person whose love language consists of words of affirmation. They want to hear the words “I love you” but they also want to hear why you love them. Give compliments freely and express your admiration and appreciation with words. Conversely, negative words will hurt deeply. Insults, cursing, and a derisive tone can really sadden and offend a person whose love language is primarily fulfilled through words of affirmation.
Quality Time–A person whose love language is quality time thrives on knowing that their partner wants to spend time with them. This doesn’t mean just being in the same room but actually engaging in conversation and giving them your full attention. People whose love language is quality time actually need quality time as proof of devotion and love. Your partner will probably like spending time with you such as going shopping, running errands, or doing chores together. Your spouse is not needy or clingy. That’s just their love language. A person whose love language is fulfilled by quality time needs that connection of proximity and engagement to feel loved and appreciated. Make time for them to show them how much you care about them by giving the gift of your time.
Receiving Gifts–If your spouse’s love language is receiving gifts then he or she will feel appreciated by romantic gestures and tangible expressions of your love. The will know that you were thinking about them, that they were the object of your thoughts and attention. This is one of the easiest love languages to fulfill since your spouse will be thrilled with small or big gifts alike. A single flower or bouquet of roses, some candy, a piece of jewelry can go a long way to show a person whose love language is receiving gifts that they are loved.
Acts of Service–We’ve always heard that a random act of kindness can brighten anyone’s day. Well even more so for the partner whose love language is acts of service. If your partner or spouse has a “honey-do” list and you continually neglect to complete any chore on the list, she or he will take this as a sign that you do not value them. A person whose love language is determined by what the spouse or partner does for them will feel most loved and validated by acts of service. Their emotional needs will be met by the little things you do for them.
Physical Touch–Touch is a powerful method of communication. Babies thrive when they’re touched by their mothers. Scientists have found that a hug can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress levels. So it is of little wonder that persons who understand love through physical touch may require physical intimacy to feel loved and appreciated. A person whose love language is physical intimacy will feel loved through sex, kissing, hugging, cuddling, holding hands, and any other form of physical touch.
Understanding Each Other’s Love Language Can Strengthen Your Bond
Couples in strained relationships complain that they do not feel heard by their partner. When communication breaks down couples don’t feel validated, seen, or understood. At the root of the problem is a fundamental lack of understanding of each other’s love language.
Let’s take, for example, a wife whose love language is acts of service. She plans special meals for her husband, irons his shirts, keeps a clean house. She does this because she loves her husband and demonstrates her love through these acts of service. His love language, however, is physical touch. So he is probably oblivious to the fact that his wife is doing all these acts of service to show him how much she loves him. He doesn’t see it. He wants physical touch, sex, hugging, cuddling.
Now let’s think about this: he doesn’t appreciate the acts of service she does for him (Her Love Language) and now she feels unappreciated and resentful. He wants physical contact (His Love Language) but she does not want to have sexual intimacy with him because she feels unloved. And now HE feels unloved and unappreciated. And so it begins…their relationship starts to deteriorate and develop cracks in the foundation.
Speaking Your Partner’s Love Language is Essential to Maintaining a Happy Marriage
Understanding and speaking your partner’s love language is essential if couples want to build a healthy relationship based on mutual affection, respect, and understanding. You can avoid misunderstandings and resentments and discover the secret to a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship. All this by learning to communicate through the emotional language of love.