Gary Chapman’s, The 5 Love Languages is one of the easiest and most simplified ways to see how you and your partner give and receive love. Most of us are rather clueless to this fact.
There are 5 different ways to love which means a ton of ways to see, feel, give, enjoy love. Knowing this can dramatically change how you view and improve your relationship.
Here they are:
Words of affirmation
Gifts Acts of service
Which one is yours?
In my couples communication/intimacy work, we find this out in the first session. Why? Because I KNOW they are not speaking into their partners love language well or they wouldn’t be in my office.
People will love on their partner as they want to be loved.
So if I want physical touch, I am going to want cuddling, hugging, kissing. This makes me feel wanted, desired, cherished. But if physical touch isn’t that important to you, you will feel pawed over and I’ll probably irritate you by being clingy.
Clients will reject what they are given if it isn’t the way they want love and complain about what they are not getting.
“I didn’t want flowers. I can buy myself flowers. But you never kiss me.”
The key is to ask your partner what their love language is and to offer it each day.
The second key is to know yours and ask for yours directly. I suggest to clients to say, “I want you to feel loved. I know gifts are important to you. So…..” Or, “I know you feel safer when I hold you. Come here. Let me love on you.”
It is important that your partner recognizes you are loving them as THEY desire. This is a huge gift of love.
Clients will often say, “If I have to tell you what I want, it’s not genuine, so it doesn’t mean as much.” Folks, you aren’t getting what you want, so of course you need to ask. And the fact that your partner cares enough to remember means so much more than if you both mutually love foot rubs. This becomes intentional loving vs. just having similar tastes and styles.
The two areas that I see that are the most common for divorce are:
Lack of physical touch (because no one else can fulfill this)
Words of affirmation (we want to hear if from our partner)
People divorce because they don’t feel wanted, desired, appreciated, or respected. Affairs happen sexually and emotionally. The love languages cultivate all aspects of love, but physical touch and affirmations tend to go much deeper. You can hire a gardener, you can buy yourself the flowers, you can go on a girls or guys day out, BUT being touched or spoken to in deep love from our one and only is what draws us to our partner. No one should be physical with your partner BUT you, so there is no substitute. And you want to hear, “I love you. I am so glad your mine!” from your partner, not just your Mom or dog! And interesting, the two that are the hardest to cultivate in someone who doesn’t have them activated IS physical touch and words of affirmation.. Because the person isn’t geared to have this desire or need, it’s really hard to get them to remember it. Or even to see it as important. And it tends to bother them, OR they would give it. I was molested. So physical touch was my lowest. It was my late husbands first. I asked myself several times a day, “ Have you touched him enough?” The answer was always no. And I would run out and kiss him. I also tried really hard to recognize every time he grabbed my butt, he was trying to love me. I wrestled there thinking he didn’t want me, just my body. Realizing he loved me in HIS love language was a huge eye opener for me. So I would receive it as his way of loving me and then ask for mine as well. We got good at creating both. Physical touch is a very important one as NO ONE else can offer it the same. And if this is one of yours, you really want to be mindful here. Affairs happen frequently simply because of this lack. And if this is not an area you can grow, it is highly problematic. I believe more than the others ones. For women, seeing your husband’s affections as love is vital. No one feels sexy when you feel mauled. When my husband died, his physical touch is what I missed most. Isn’t that a beautiful gift?
You can stretch yourself in your ability to give love by growing in all 5, but especially in your partners. You can help them learn to love yours. It’s a beautiful selfless treat. We can feel hurt by any gift that is missing, as we don’t feel as loved. But it seems that acts of service and gifts are easier to live without as much consistency. Gifts because we get them elsewhere. And acts of service because you can hire someone or do it yourself. Still important, but I don’t see divorces often in these areas. Physical and emotional are critical. Physical touch can be the dicey one. Talk about it, why it’s important to you, how you feel when touched, how you want to feel, why you want it with YOUR partner, and find ways to try and make it desirable for both of you. The fun thing is you can connect them or layer them. My husband was touch, mine is special moments so we’d cuddle under the stars. Or hold hands at the beach. If you join in both of yours at the same time it is wonderful.
sending love to you!