When it comes to showing love and feeling loved, why does it always feel like we are speaking different languages? Maybe because we are! According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five languages of love:
- gift giving,
- quality time,
- words of affirmation,
- acts of service, and
- physical touch.
What this means, is that different people have different ideas of what love looks like. And what makes each person feel most loved and fulfilled is also different.
So, if two people have the exact same love languages, they may be in luck and find themselves incredibly content. If two people have completely different love languages, however, they may run into some conflict.
Let’s say my love languages are quality time and physical touch, and my partner’s love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service. If I find my partner is not invested in spending quality time or engaging in any intimate touching with me, I may feel unloved, neglected, and unfulfilled. My partner, on the other hand, may feel neglected or unfulfilled by me, who may not put an emphasis on acts of service and words of affirmation.
This is a common issue with communication. We look for what’s familiar, comfortable, and appealing for us. And when it doesn’t exist, we assume the worst. Just because I’m not being given what I need in the moment, doesn’t necessarily mean that my partner doesn’t love me.
The trick here is to pay attention to a few things. Here are some ways that you can better understand your partner’s love languages:
- pay attention to what they appreciate the most,
- notice what they do the most, and
- keep tabs on what they complain about.
The better we become at identifying our own love language, the better we get at communicating our needs. The better we become at communicating our needs, the more likely it is that our partners will be able to give us what we need… the way we need it.
Similarly, the more we pay attention to our partner’s love language, the less likely we are to make the mistake of trying to respond to their complaints and requests through the lens of our own love.