There is a book by Gary Chapman, it is called, The Five Love Languages, and it comes highly recommended by me and anyone I’ve spoken to who has read it. Basically, we all give and receive love in different ways and we all have a primary language. Understanding your love language and that of those around you can transform not just romantic relationships but friendships, parent-child relationships, work relationships, anyone you interact with.
The languages are;
Quality Time; spending meaningful time with someone
Words of Affirmation; kind words of appreciation, praise and affection
Acts of service; doing favours for someone
Receiving gifts; gifting something to someone to show you care
Physical tough; expressing your care through being an affectionate person
We all use each of these but there is one that stands out for you and without it you feel like someone does not care. Usually what you are complaining to your partner they do not do enough of is in line with your love language. It also tends to play out when someone you care about is complaining that you are not showing them you love them but, in your eyes, you are doing everything you can. You may have been speaking different languages.
There is an online quiz you can do to find out yours, it is consistently found very useful to get more insight into your life and your relationships. I’ll give you an example, my primary language is quality time, I don’t even have to be doing anything specific with someone but if we are together, I feel like our relationship is doing well. I have a friend whose primary language is physical touch, naturally I’m not a very affectionate person but for her I will be because I know that’s how she feels like I care, so I am always sure to give her a huge hug when I see her.
Here’s an example you may see in a household, One partners Love Language is acts of service, so to show their spouse they care, they do the washing, they cook the meals, they keep the house nice and tidy, to them, they are showing their partner they care by doing all of these things to take care of them. The other partners language is words of affirmation. So when they see the house looking nice and clean they tell their partner how much they appreciate it, how much they appreciate them, while at the same time sitting down on the couch and watching television without doing anything around the house. To them, they’ve expressed to their partner how much they care by using their words, but to their partner those words fell really short without any act of service to follow them. And without words of affirmation being returned the other partner also sees the acts of service fall short in a way of feeling like they are cared for. It’s not to say neither weren’t grateful, it’s just to say, when you do not speak your partners language, your efforts will not hit the right spot for them and disappointment may start to grow. Have you seen something like this play out in any of your relationships?
When the people in your life are speaking your language to you it fills you up. When you are filled up with all of this feeling of love you are more likely to want to share it. When you are not feeling like the people around you are showing you they care, your love tank is empty and you do not have the high motivation to share love. This can create snowball affects.
Think about if you knew exactly how to show someone you cared about them, would that make a difference for you? How can learning more about your partner change things? How can learning about your friends, your children or your parents change things for you? Have you had moments where you feel like nobody in your family are showing you they care? Perhaps in their world they have but they were just speaking a different language to you.
What can you do this week to improve the relationships in your life? If they were improved, what kind of difference would that make for you? When you can open up the communications about what each other’s languages are and how you like to give and receive each of the languages, you may just see something grow for you. Can you start conversations with people this week on how they like to express love? At what times do they feel like someone really cares for them? How can you help improve people’s days by working these languages into your life from now?