Have you ever felt in spite of everything you do for your partner, they’re still on your case, unsatisfied? According to Dr Chapman, there is a distinct reason for that; you’re not speaking your partner’s language. More specifically, you’re not speaking their ‘love language.’
In his book, the ‘The Five Love Languages,’ he outlines his theory that each of us has a primary and secondary way we prefer our partners to show appreciation towards us. These are: words of affirmation (compliments), acts of service, the giving of gifts, quality time and physical touch. The reason, he says, that most relationships breakdown, is due to the lack of understanding around the needs of your partner.
We’re all unique by design, physically, mentally and emotionally. So given that, it stands to reason we wouldn’t all receive or respond to love the same. The mistake we fall into is in believing others want to be loved in the same way we would. This can be the case sometimes. But when it isn’t, and there is a lack of mindfulness around serving the other person, dysfunction arises. The relationship stutters and becomes frayed at the seams.
Here is a rundown of the five love languages, and how you can apply them to your own relationships:
Words of Affirmation: Do you like receiving compliments, reassurance and validation for your efforts? If so, you’ve probably found all it takes are a few choice words to curry favour and get into your good books. Compliments go a long way, but only if they’re sincere, and match with the dynamic and tone of your relationship.
Quality Time: This is actually one need masquerading as another. Quality time really refers to attention – your undivided attention. If this is your partners love language, you’ll have probably heard them say more than once, ‘I just want it to be the two of us.’ This is the classic signal that says, ‘what I really value is you and being able to connect without interference.’ Cancelled plans or the failure to listen are especially hurtful to this type.
Receiving Gifts: We all like to receive gifts, but this type of person loves to receive gifts above all else, and not because they’re materialistic, but because it shows you’ve gone to the time and effort to think about what they like. The underlying tenant of this love language isn’t the gift itself, but the thoughtfulness attached, or the ‘sponsoring thought.’ It shows you understand your partner. It’s not about the cost or the gift; it’s the thought that counts.
Acts of Service: Anything that eases the burden of responsibility is the driving force of this love language. Again, it is rooted in thoughtfulness. For instance, recognising that your partner might be struggling with their chores because they’re working irregular hours. So on your day off while they’re out, you make sure everything is taken care of when they arrive home. Not only that, but you also prepare a meal, knowing how exhausted they are after work. If this is your partner’s language, broken commitments and laziness can be interpreted as a lack of love.
Physical Touch: This isn’t to be confused with just having sex. Physical touch can be anything from holding hands, cuddling, kissing to a simple hand on the shoulder moment. If physical presence is important to your partner, then being away from them for long periods could be very challenging. Any form of infidelity would also be especially hard for them to take, and possibly spell the end of the relationship.