Editor’s Note: This is part 3 of a series on Sex and Intimacy. Click here to read from the beginning.
Have you ever said “I know he loves me, he just has a lousy way of showing it?”
There is a bit of truth to that statement. When we show love to our partners in ways they don’t understand, it can cause friction.
“Why doesn’t she touch me like she did when we were dating?”
“He never helps me around the house.”
“I can’t remember the last time I got a present.”
“She never compliments me anymore.”
“Why can’t we spend some time alone together?”
In all 5 cases, the partners may really love each other; they just have different ways of showing it. And by not recognizing this, they are diminishing the intimacy in their relationship.
Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate that I read several years ago. Basically, we give love as we want to receive love, and if your partner has a different “love language” neither of you may appreciate the signs. Below we’ll briefly discuss all 5 languages. Can you spot yours? Probably. What about your mate?
Words of Affirmation
People who freely give compliments crave them for themselves. They also want your verbal support when working on a project, dealing with a problem at work, or just showing appreciation for the things they do around the house.
If this is your partner’s language, you can increase your intimacy by not keeping all your thoughts to yourself. If you like her meatloaf, even if you’ve been having it for years, tell her. Tell her every time. When he finishes a day of yard work, tell him how good it looks and how happy you are that he cares so much about your home. Verbally encourage each other in problem solving and issues at work.
These may sound like small things, but to a person who speaks this love language, they are huge.
This is cell-phone-free, tv-free, 100% focused time on each other: a conversation over dinner while looking each other in the eyes, or a walk in the neighborhood after dinner to discuss the events of the day. Many couples find that shared activities like sports, social activities, or hobbies bring them closer together.
If your mate desires quality time, it is important not to shirk this. Watching tv while having a conversation is not quality time, and he or she will know it. Spend a few minutes every day, or schedule specific activities every week to satisfy your partner’s love language needs.
This doesn’t mean your partner is a gold-digger. What it does mean is that she needs visible signs of your love. This can come in the form of buying her favorite sweets or getting him that DVD he’s been wanting. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it actually doesn’t have to be an item. The gift you can give is yourself, or an experience. The symbol of the gift is what is important: “He loves me so much that he bought/made/arranged X.”
If this is your partner’s love language, you don’t have to break the bank. But you should recognize how important it is and think of small and large ways to show your love through symbols to your mate.
Acts of Service
When we perform acts that make our mate’s lives easier we show them love, whether it is walking the dog in the rain or taking the car in for an oil change. These are acts done out of love, not obligation or resentment.
When your mate speaks this language, it is important to know which acts of service are most important to them. For instance, I like the kitchen to be cleaned every night after dinner. Since I do the majority of cooking, my husband cleans up afterward. I love being able to relax while he takes care of this, and it makes me feel loved and appreciated for cooking the meal. On the flip side, it doesn’t matter to me that he never makes the bed. I like doing it, and it doesn’t really signify any appreciation for me if he does it.
When your partner speaks this language, he craves more than just sex, though sex is very important to him. He also wants to be touched by you throughout the day.
It is important to find out which touches your mate likes and wants and which ones are bothersome (I hate being touched on the face, for instance). Even if you both share this love language, you may differ wildly in how you want to be touched, so pay attention to your partner’s responses.
Are You Speaking the Same Love Language?
It may be easy for you to spot your love language, and if you think about your daily life you can probably spot your partner’s, too. But if you are having trouble, the The Five Love Languages 30-second test can help.
Once your recognize the differences (or similarities) in your styles, you can begin expressing your love in ways to make your mate happier. When you do this and share with them your love language, you will transform your relationship even if nothing else in your life changes. You’ll finally be getting the love you want – the love that has always been there, by the way – in a language you can understand. And so will your partner.
Do you speak your partner’s love language? Have you been speaking a different language? What is the result?
Coming Up Next Week:
- Is your tank full?
- How much sex is normal?
- How sexy do you feel?