How do you show love? How do you want to be loved? Communication can become a huge problem in relationships if you and your partner speak different love languages. Here’s how you can nurture your relationship even if you express love differently.
What are love languages?
American author Gary Chapman developed The Five Love Languages which refers to the various ways couples communicate and express their love for each other to their partners. The 5 Love Languages, according to Chapman, include –
1. Words of Affirmation
Using pleasing words or written notes to express love, like “I’m so lucky to have you,” “I love you,” etc.
2. Acts of Service
Doing things that your partner will like and appreciate, like helping with household chores, cooking dinner etc.
3. Receiving Gifts
Small and thoughtful tokens of affection and love that shows your partner how well you know and appreciate them. These don’t have to be expensive. The effort and intention matters most.
4. Quality Time
Spending more time with your partner and paying them your undivided attention shows them that you value them more than anything else.
5. Physical Touch
Hugging, holding hands, kissing, massaging and cuddling are an intimate way of expressing love. Physical contact, sexual or non-sexual, can convey a lot of uncorrupted emotions effectively.
Understanding your and your partner’s love languages helps you realize how you want to receive love and how you should express love to strengthen your bonding. It helps to build a more intimate emotional connection in romantic relationships.
What happens when you speak different love languages
What if your love language is physical touch while your partner feels loved through words of affirmation? What happens when both of you express love in dramatically different ways? Although opposite may attract, speaking different love languages can often lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding in romantic relationships. But there is no reason to worry if you and your partner express love differently. Not all of us speak the same language of affection. We are all unique and express love and want to receive love in our own unique way.
According to an article in The Atlantic, “If you sit down and read Chapman’s book, it’s clear that the love language you’re meant to think about isn’t your own, but your partner’s.” And that is exactly where the problem lies. Most of us express love the way we want to be shown love. So, if your love language is quality time, then you will expect your partner to spend more time with you and show your love by giving them your valuable time. However, if your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, then it can lead to some degree of confusion. “So what do you do when you and your partner are speaking different love languages? Communication is the key.” writes Mary E. Pritchard, PhD, HHC, Psychology professor at Boise State University. The truth is, you can still have a healthy, loving relationship even if you speak different love languages. All you need to do is put in the right amount of effort to identify each other’s preferred love language and understand your partner’s needs from the relationship.
“Ask your partner how they tend to feel most loved,” explains relationship expert Gal Szekely, MA, MFT. When you know what your partner needs and how they want to be loved, you can give them exactly that. Licensed psychologist Jennifer B. Rhodes says “Shift the perception of why the person is not showing you the ‘right’ love to becoming curious about how to learn to better communicate your needs.” So as long as you and your partner are honest with each other about your needs from the relationship, it wouldn’t matter if you speak the same love language or not. By asking your partner what they need and expect from you, you will encourage them to ask you about your needs and expectations. This way, both of you will understand each other better and meet one another’s needs.