Sneha spent weeks trying to find her partner the most amazing gift ever, but comes Raj's birthday and he said "I would’ve just preferred spending some alone time with you cooking dinner and watching a movie"
Many couples come with this problem in their relationship that they are trying so hard to make their partners happy, yet they cannot do it.
They have love and affection for each other. They have the intention and willingness. They are taking the action as well. Then, what's the missing link? The missing link is the Awareness that no two people are the same. When we understand this simple fact, we'll be able to give and receive love in a very different way. One way of understanding this in simple terms is with the help of the Love Languages.
What are Love Languages?
The five love languages are five different ways of giving, and receiving love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. We were all created differently and we all grew up with different experiences. Not everyone expresses love in the same way, and also, prefers to receive love in the same way. The concept of love languages was developed by Gary Chapman, Ph.D., in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, where he describes these five unique styles of communicating love, which we found from his experiences of marriage counseling, etc.
We all like all the ways of expressing and receiving love. Yet, we speak and enjoy things the most when we receive them in our Primary Love Language.
Knowing your primary love language and your partner's primary love language and speaking that language regularly has the power to create fulfilling relationships. This understanding of each other's needs and language enhance intimacy in our relationships and leads to our growth inside and outside.
What are these 5 Love Languages?
Words of Affirmation
"Words of affirmation" is about expressing affection through spoken words, praise, or appreciation. When this is someone's primary love language, they enjoy kind words and encouragement, uplifting quotes, love notes, and encouraging text messages. You can make this person's day by, praising them, motivating them, complimenting them, or appreciating them for what they do well. These people love verbal connection. They want to hear you say precisely what you appreciate or admire about them. For example: “I really love when you take out time to help me make dinner”; “You did an amazing job by reorganizing my books”; or just “I love you.” or "I miss you" These people love when someone puts words to what they feel.
Someone with this love language wants undivided attention. They feel loved if you are present and focused on them when you are together. This means putting down the cell phone, turning off the computer, making eye contact, and actively listening to them or simply spending a day with them doing activities and getting to know each other and about each other's lives. People with this love language take their time for other people and really appreciate it when others make effort to spend some quality time with them without any distractions.
Someone with this primary love language feels love through physical affection. Touch is very important to them. Touch doesn't always mean having more sex with their partner but just mere touch makes them feel more connected. They feel loved when their partner holds their hand, touches their arm, or hugs them while sleeping at night. They love cuddles and spending physically cozy time with their partners. They love it when their friend hugs them when they are sad or a good high five when they have done something well.
Acts of Service
Someone with this primary love language feels love when someone does an act of service for them. They can be really small service gestures and also big things one does. Selfless, thoughtful acts that make this person’s life easier, makes them feel deeply loved. These people believe that actions always speak louder than words. They really appreciate it when their partner helps them with a chore without having to be asked, when someone makes an effort to be with them when they are sad when someone shares their work when they need it. They tend to perform acts of service and kindness for others, too.
For someone who uses and responds to this love language, gift-giving indicates love and affection. They treasure not only the gift itself but also the time and effort the gift-giver put into it. It needs to be said that this love language is not reserved for the greedy or so-called “gold diggers.” or people who love expensive materialistic gifts.
People who enjoy receiving gifts as part of their primary love language do not necessarily expect large or expensive presents; it's more the effort and thoughtfulness behind the gift that matters the most to them. This is something that makes them feel valued and special.
When you take the time to pick out a gift specifically for them, according to their taste or what they needed, it tells them you really know them. People with this love language can often remember every little gift they have received from their loved ones because it makes such an impact on them.
How to use these Love Languages in your Relationships?
By learning your partner's Love Language and expressing to them in their Love Language
+ Asking them clearly if they can do things for you in your Love Language can create a healthy flow of wn-win in a relationship. In the beginning, it will take effort to communicate in a different Love Language. But small gestures/efforts of practicing speaking in their other person's love language already would mean a lot to them. We give and receive in our own love language. So, change the equation too, Giving in their Love Language and Receiving in your Love Language.
Important Things to consider
1) This is just a framework for understanding your relationship, yourself, and the other person. It necessarily doesn't represent exactly how everyone wants to express and receive love.
2) It is a journey of exploring the depths. So, there will be some factors that will be unique to you and your partner. Always consider that. Only understanding this would be an oversimplification. We are multidimensional beings and so is our relationship. Always evolving. This is only one part of it.
3) People have more than one love language. All of these languages are a part of our lives. So, for example, even though your partner's love language is receiving gifts, that doesn't mean that you can simply ignore them if they need an act of service from you at some times.
4) Understanding Love Languages is the BEGINNING, not an end. We are complex beings and it requires lifetimes of work to know who you really are. They do not solve the core problems in a relationship. It is only a tool to enhance.
5) Understanding Love Languages and even applying them will not solve all your relationship problems. This is a tool for creating a healthy relationship. This is not a tool for healing and when you see that healing is required, choose to work in that area too if you want a sustainable solution.
6) Love Languages can change over a period of time.
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