“Recent research has indicated that the average individual listens for only seventeen seconds before interrupting and interjecting his own ideas.” -Gary Chapman
Years ago I was introduced to a book that changed my life and view of relationships forever.
It was “Men are from Mars, Women and from Venus” by John Gray.
It blew my mind and even though the information in it was so simple and almost common sense, really made me look at the female energy completely differently.
Years later I was introduced to another life-changing book, this time by a guy called Gary Chapman who wrote about what is now widely known as “The Five Love Languages.”
The premise of this book is also very simple, but like Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, profound in every sense.
It basically states that everyone needs to feel loved.
This is a basic intrinsic human need.
And in order to experience love at the most intimate level, it’s vital to know how you enjoy being loved, but also how to properly love others.
In this post, I simply want to show you how to use love languages to strengthen your relationship.
I work with coaching clients all the time who come to me for relationship “advice” and support.
And I have to say that 9 times out of 10, poor communication of affection and love due to ignorance is the major culprit.
Even in my own marriage and relationships with my kids, I know when I’m operating inside or outside their love languages.
How do I know?
Well, results tell me.
When you “speak” someone’s language they understand and respond a healthy and constructive way.
But, when you don’t, you end up with frustration and poor results.
There is a basic breakdown of five different love languages to make it easier for us to identify how to express ourselves to our loved ones.
Once you’ve figured out what your partner’s love language is you’ll be able to show them how you feel in a way that is fulfilling to them.
This is a simple but powerful premise.
For example, let’s say that your partner likes to hear the words “I love you” often.
Even though they know that you love them, just hearing the phrase can brighten their day.
But perhaps you thought that you should express your love by buying little gifts.
Your loved one likely appreciates the gesture whenever you show your love, but at the same time, it’s not their personal preference of how they like to receive love.
This would be like speaking in Italian to someone who speaks Spanish.
Some sounds might be familiar but overall, you’d be communication past each other.
Do this long enough and communication becomes a hindrance.
The Love Languages Explained:
Like the example above, some people just like to hear gestures of love such as “I love you” and “I appreciate everything that you do.” For this type of person, you’ll want to provide constant encouragement, never letting things go unsaid.
Try verbalising your appreciations in some way each day.
Don’t assume your partner knows what you’re thinking and feeling – speak up!
Time Well Spent
One of the love languages has to do with spending quality time with your partner.
This doesn’t mean just casual conversation; it means the times where your partner is your main focus.
If your partner enjoys quality time, here are some things to consider:
Choose a certain time each day or week where you’re completely dedicated to your partner. This means that you need to shut off the TV, put down the phone, and take some away from the kids.
Think of activities you can do together to really connect.
Make sure you have a good relationship with yourself; it’s the only way you can truly connect with your partner.
The Gift Giver
Another love language is one where your partner may enjoy giving and receiving gifts.
This isn’t because they’re greedy; it means they’re visual people who enjoy seeing proof of your deepening relationship.
If you’re with this type of partner, try these tips:
- Even if you’re a big saver, make the effort to spend at least a little money or make some homemade or handmade gifts.
- Leave loving cards and notes for them.
- Don’t give gifts every day, but give gifts that are meaningful.
Acts of Service
We can’t forget acts of service when it comes to a language of communication between partners.
Since there are many things that need to get done around the house, it often causes problems when you try to figure out who’s doing what.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Everyone has different acts of service or chores that they deem important.
- Figure out which ones your partner doesn’t enjoy and do them.
- Chores involve thinking ahead, which your partner will certainly appreciate.
The physical affection love language can get complicated.
Expressing your love physically doesn’t only mean lovemaking.
It involves simple touches too.
Each partner will usually have some kind of opinion when it comes to this language:
- Figure out which kinds of touches your partner enjoys, it may be a gentle rub of their shoulders or some cuddling while watching television.
- This is equally important, figure out which touches irritate your partner.
- Get to know your partner’s moods so you know when to express physical affection.
Your partner will likely speak a certain combination of these love languages.
As your relationship deepens, you’ll get to know your partner better and better.
It may even help to outright discuss the topic of love languages with your partner to better understand each other.
If you completely in the dark about any of these, there is a way to help you get started.
Since the love languages have become a very popular thing, many online tools have been created to help you assess your specific love language and also that of your partner’s ( and children’s).
You can click on this link and fill out the quick online test to discover your love language (and typical combination).
You can also get your partner to fill out theirs, as this would make a great topic of conversation at the next date night 🙂
I did mine and here are my scores:
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
- Words of Affirmation
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
Please leave your questions and comments below and I will personally respond to them.
Remember, live and love fully.
PS. Get my eguide (plus worksheet) on “The Art of Loving Communication” here.