5. Receiving gifts
Gift-giving has traditionally been a symbol of love and affection. If this is their love language, then receiving gifts will make them feel appreciated. It’s not about giving expensive gifts. It’s about the thought, time and effort you put in to find the perfect gift for them. It shows that you really know them. Chapman adds “The receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness and effort behind the gift.”
How to understand your partner’s love language
“Learning to love in the way someone wants to be loved is far more the definition of love than just loving in any way,” says Jay Shetty. Knowing your partner’s love language can not only help you create a lasting and more satisfying relationship, but also express your own love effectively.
Based on Chapman’s 5 love languages, Jay Shetty has outlined the following 6 helpful steps to enable you to find your partner’s love language:
Step 1: Understand your own love language
Before you can figure out your partner’s love language, you need to know your own language of love first. Which among the 5 love languages do you use to express love and affection? If you want to learn about how you express and want to receive love, then Chapman suggests asking yourself these questions:
- Which love language makes you feel the happiness of receiving?
- The lack of which love language is the most painful to you?
Step 2: Understand your partner’s love language
Once you know how you want to be loved, shift your focus towards your partner. One simple way to get started is to motivate your partner to ask themselves the two questions mentioned in Step 1. Once they know the answer to the questions, analyze how you can love them and express it effectively.
Shetty believes when we are unable to know what our individual love languages are in a relationship, we try to communicate love by default. However, it can often leave both partners unsatisfied. In his book, Chapman explains with the example of communicating with someone who doesn’t speak English. No matter how hard you try, as long as you keep speaking English, they just won’t understand. Shetty says “That’s how it feels to not receive love in your love language. It’s confusing. It lacks clarity. It’s underwhelming. It’s uninspiring, quite frankly, and you don’t know how to engage with it. That’s why so many couples today are disengaged in their relationships. They’re being spoken to in the wrong language.”
Step 3: Understand your parents’ love language
The relationship we share with our parents and the attachment styles we develop with our primary caregivers in our childhood determine how we love and want to be loved as adults. How you were loved or weren’t loved by your parents will greatly influence what you expect in your romantic relationship and from your partner. Shetty adds “So many of our love languages are based on how our parents loved us or didn’t love us. What our parents gave us either has become our priority or what they didn’t give us has become our priority.”
He believes that we are either trying to recreate the experience created by our parents or desperately trying to fill the emotional emptiness they left behind in us through our romantic partners. This is why it is crucial that we take a good look at ourselves and figure out how our parents influence our relationships and what we expect from our current partners.
Step 4: Make it meaningful
Understanding and analyzing the 5 love languages to navigate smoothly through your relationship is not enough. When you do it without purpose and meaning, without emotions, it becomes an exercise. It becomes a strategy to keep your relationship going. But that’s not what you want, do you? A thoughtless kiss, fake words of affirmation, a cold hug will mean nothing when you lack a loving intention. Jay Shetty explains “When it becomes like that, where it becomes a technique, it loses the essence.”
It is only when we give meaning to our actions and behaviors to express our love, then it starts to make an impact. Shetty adds “It’s really important that each and every one of us take this step to go deeper on each of these affirmations. It’s so easy to just try and practice them superficially, but even that will not create the bond that we all truly want in our relationships.”