How do I love thee? The Five Love Languages
Valentine’s day is around the corner and it’s got me thinking about love and how it is expressed. How do we show our partners that they are loved? How do we want to be shown we are loved? Just because I may like buying gifts for my husband since I love to see the joy on his face after having received the gift doesn’t mean it’s how he wants my love demonstrated right? It’s a nice gesture but it may not be what shows him most that he is loved.
I read the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman many years ago and it was an eye opener. It was like Mr. Chapman articulated what I had long felt about the way we communicate love to others. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t nearly as sophisticated as he was in defining what the specific love languages were, but I certainly knew how I wanted to be shown I was loved.
What I love most about the love languages is they can be used as tools to effectively communicate how you want to be loved, and can help you understand how to best love your partner. It removes the guesswork and confusion around how you relate with each other and can bring fulfilment to any relationship.
What are the five love languages?
- Words of affirmation
- People with this love language feel loved by hearing words that build them up. They not only want to hear that they are loved but also why they are loved. Insults can be really detrimental for people who want to be shown they’re loved by words of affirmation.
- Acts of service
- For people with this love language, doing things that save time and energy speaks volumes! The simple phrase “Let me help you with that” or “I can take care of that for you” goes a long way. For instance, offering to wash dishes or give the kids a bath makes the other person feel loved. Broken promises, laziness or things that create more work can be very hurtful for these individuals.
- Receiving gifts
- People who have this as their primary love language love the thoughtfulness and effort that goes into picking out or making a gift for them. They also love the idea that they are worth more than whatever was sacrificed to obtain the gift. Missed anniversaries/birthdays or the lack of everyday gestures will be very frustrating.
- Quality time
- Devoting undivided attention without distraction makes the heart of people with this language swell up with love. It lets them know they are important and special when their partner spends quality time with them. Distractions, failure to listen or postponed dates can be disastrous for people with this love language.
- Physical touch
- Nothing says I love you like physical touch to people with this love language, and this doesn’t always have to mean the bedroom. Holding hands, giving hugs, a pat on the back all help to make them feel loved and cared for. Neglect or abuse can be calamitous for these individuals.
Although a thriving relationship has a combination of all five, everyone has a primary love language. You’ll notice I’ve been using the word “primary” a lot. That’s because a lot of people don’t just have one love language. Often times it’s a combination of 2 or more and there’s nothing wrong with that. You just need to know which of them is your primary language or the one that makes you most feel loved and communicate that to your partner.
I’ve also discovered that your love primary love language may change depending on the season of life you’re in. For instance, my primary love language was receiving gifts early in my marriage. However, soon after having my first child, it changed to acts of service and still is to this day. Nothing says I love you more when Femi (my husband) helps around the house with the kids or with making dinner. It takes a load off my already full plate and I love it. Words of affirmation comes in a close second for me.
For my husband, physical touch is his primary love language and quality time is second. As you can see, our primary love languages are different. It would be problematic if we didn’t communicate this to each other early on in our relationship. It would also be very frustrating if we knew what our love languages were but didn’t make the effort to “speak” them to each other. We try to make sure we frequently check-in with each other to communicate how we’re both doing and to see if our primary love language has changed, just as I did once we started having kids.
Knowing and understanding your love language and that of your partner’s can be life changing. It can bring clarity and understanding, which in turn helps to focus your attention and energy on how to best love each other. I’ve personally found joy and satisfaction in my relationship because Femi and I make the effort to ensure we speak each other’s love language. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it!
So, what’s your primary love language? If you want to know what your love language is, then take this click here to take this assessment.
Written by simplyfunmi