What happens when you speak Hindi with someone who doesn’t speak it? Confused, they shrug their shoulders and walk away. Now apply this to love.
The first few months into dating this girl, I realized our relationship wasn’t gelling well. It seemed off. I was too busy with my career and didn’t have the time to be there with my partner. So I gifted her things that I thought she would enjoy. She would thank me, but it didn’t seem genuine and there was no excitement. That’s when I realized we weren’t speaking the same language.
I researched aspects of love and came across the 5 love languages by author Gary Chapman, Ph.D. who described these in his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Love language describes how we give and receive love from others. This changed my perspective that people receive love in the same way I expressed it. I dove deeper into the 5 love languages, which are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. Each individual has at least one language that they prefer above the other.
Here’s a deeper look into each:
Words of Affirmation – The value lies in support through words. Utilizing supportive language, verbal acknowledgments of affections, including frequent “I Love You”, encouragement, compliments, and frequent communication helps our partner feel understood and appreciated.
Acts of Service – The value lies in making life easier. Acts of service are the “little” things that add up to make the whole relationship like making coffee in the morning or doing the laundry during a tough week for your partner.
Receiving Gifts – The value lies in attention to detail. Giving your partner gifts tells them you were thinking about them; this isn’t about the monetary value in the gift. It’s about the thoughtfulness behind choosing a gift that reflects the relationship and the emotional benefits gained from the gift.
Quality Time – The value lies in the attention your partner receives. Spending meaningful time with your partner allows them to feel adored and special. Quality time involves your full presence in the moment, which means active listening, eye contact, and appropriate responses.
Physical Touch – The value lies in physical intimacy. By being close to and caressed by your partner, we are affirmed of their love and emotional connection. This language is rooted in feeling deep affection and love by their parents when they were held, kissed, or touched.
This exercise gave me the insight that each of us differs in the ways we receive love. To create stronger relationships, learn to give love in the ways that our partner can best receive it, and ask our partner to love us in ways we can best receive it. By being mindful of this, we can improve our relationships significantly, remove friction and speak the language that’s understood by our partner.
Dating tips for people for each type of love language:
Words of Affirmation: Words are extremely important so choose wisely. They leave a lasting impression. Use positive, constructive criticisms. When you notice good things, communicate them and do it often.
Acts of Service: Show your love through your actions. It’s not always about the chores. So understand what this means for your partner and serve them accordingly.
Receiving Gifts: Celebrate special occasions. Additionally, random gifts “just because” is a great way to go above and beyond the regular.
Quality Time: Carve out time in your schedule for time together. It can be cooking food together, going on walks without distractions, or engaging in activities that you both enjoy.
Physical Touch: This language doesn’t require planning. In fact, what I’ve found is random acts of touch are a great way to build a relationship. It’s as easy as rubbing your feet together while relaxing on the couch or giving them a surprise hug and kiss while they’re working at their desk.
How do I know which language do I receive love through?
Pay attention to which one you enjoy the most genuinely and naturally.
You may notice that physical touch changes your mood instantly as compared to receiving gifts. Or you notice that you feel loved the most when your partner eases your responsibilities by doing chores for you. Or maybe you value action over talk so creating memories with each other (Quality Time) takes priority over words of affirmation.
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