Do you crave passion, attention or maybe appreciation? Paula Dsouza helps you decipher your love language.
Love, although a universal term, is never expressed the same way. How we love and expect to be loved often differs from person to person. We all have our own language of love – the way in which we express how we feel about those closest to us, and in return feel loved by them. But ever so often we get caught up with the way we believe love should be expressed and end up falling short of our loved one’s expectations and vice-versa. It’s time to stop dwelling on perceptions and assumptions, and take a closer look at ourselves and our loved ones to better understand our unique love languages.
“Love languages are not just about communicating love, but also about understanding and respecting our partner’s individuality and needs,” writes Dr John Gottman, relationship researcher and author of ‘The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work’. And rightly so. Most experts agree that there are five distinct love languages. However, no one is necessarily isolated to having just one, people tend to lean towards two, sometimes three, or even all five love languages in different intensities. The key to keeping the spark alive in relationships is thus understanding which love language your partner most identifies with, and which one the least. By being able to do this, you will open up innumerable opportunities to make your significant other feel appreciated, and who wouldn’t want that?
Let’s take a look at the different languages of love.
Words Of Affirmation
What it is: These tend to be positive verbal or written cues and compliments which make people feel appreciated. The use of words is a key feature of this love language.
If this is your love language: You find yourself feeling a lot more confident and appreciated when your partner compliments you or tells you they love you. You enjoy hearing that they are proud of you, especially if they add the reasons why they are. Hearing them say how much you mean to them and having them put into words why they love you, instantly makes you light up.
If this is your partner’s love language: Check-in on them on a regular basis. Ask them how their day was and ask follow-up questions. Tell them how much they mean to you and what interests you about them. Write them letters. Compliment them on what they wear, on the way they present themselves, and simply how they are as people. Tell them you love them and mean it.
What it is: This is about being able to give and receive meaningful tokens. The most important part of this love language is the thought that goes into it. Therefore, this isn’t about going over the top or buying extravagant gifts. It’s about being able to understand what would mean the most to a person and having the ability to fulfill that wish in whatever capacity you can.
If this is your love language: You believe that you are the best at giving gifts. You put ample amounts of thought into who gets which gift, carefully curating its contents. You also enjoy getting gifts from people, especially those which have personal meaning. The smallest gifts from someone important, especially a partner, hold high sentimental value for you.
If this is your partner’s love language: Get them small things that remind you of them. Definitely surprise them, getting presents when they least expect it, would make their day! You could even gift them something that signifies an inside joke or holds sentimental meaning to your relationship. Give them their favourite flower or a handmade card just because you were thinking of them. Any thought paired with a gift is all they could wish for.
What it is: The feeling of connectedness and intimacy that builds through physical contact and touch which can be both sexual and non-sexual in nature.
If this is your love language: You find yourself feeling low when you haven’t been given any physical attention from your partner. You love PDA and hugging is second nature. You enjoy holding hands with your significant other and consider yourself to be a very touchy-feely person. Passion is something you never really shy away from and are very often expressive of how you feel.
If this is your partner’s love language: Stay in bed a little longer to cuddle with them. Make being sexually active a priority, they will surely appreciate it. Randomly kissing, caressing or even holding them would make this kind of a person feel incredibly loved. Being physical about how you appreciate your partner will make them feel happy and wanted.
Acts Of Service
What it is: This is regarding actions that are often chivalrous and thoughtful. Sometimes this could involve getting presents, however, it isn’t to be confused with ‘gifting’. In this case, it’s more about the act of going out to purchase something instead of the thought behind the present.
If this is your love language: Showing up for your partner when they have had a bad day is something you would do without hesitation. Going the extra mile for people you care about is almost a daily occurrence. Being helped or helping without being asked to do so is something you deem to be admirable.
If this is your partner’s love language: Surprise your partner by cooking them a meal or taking them out to dinner, especially if it isn’t a special occasion. Make them a coffee in the morning or pick one up for them before you meet up. Help them out with chores when they feel incredibly stressed. Take them on drives or help them out with studying a concept they don’t fully comprehend. Get them some flowers, or even better, grow them flowers!
What it is: This essentially means giving your partner time and undivided attention. This could be enjoying each other’s company either in silence, or by having a long, meaningful conversation over a date… whatever you consider ‘quality’ to be.
If this is your love language: You tend to appreciate it when your partner makes time for you on a busy day. You love to sit with your partner even if it is in silence simply because you enjoy being in their company. You make time to do things with your partner, even if it is the smallest of things like picking up groceries. You feel unappreciated when your partner doesn’t make the effort to meet you at least once or twice a week.
If this is your partner’s love language: Make it a point to not use your phone too much when you are around your partner. Pay attention to what they say and be patient with them. Plan date nights often. Spend time talking about your relationship and how each of your days went. Do chores with them or take a nap together. Try and be as present as possible in every situation when you are with your partner.
Summing up: Don’t be afraid to speak up!
“When we speak our partner’s love language, we are speaking directly to their heart and filling their emotional love tank,” says Dr Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy and author of ‘Hold Me Tight’. And if you’re unable to identify what their love language is, don’t be afraid to ask them how they would like to be loved, sometimes it’s the best thing you can do.
Similarly, don’t be afraid to voice your feelings to your partner – no one is psychic. What’s most important is that you are loving and being loved the way you want to be. And that’s the most meaningful of all — when you choose to love with quality over insubstantial quantity.