The Five Love Languages
I wish I’d known about the 5 Love Languages before I got married.
When I was married, and after my daughter was born I started seeing a therapist. One of the reasons was because I was unhappy in my marriage. My therapist told me about a book The Five Love Languages* by Gary Chapman. I read the book and was astonished. This book affected me on so many levels and I was kinda pissed that I hadn't heard about this book a few years earlier. I was excited to finally understand my own love needs and it explained why I was so unhappy in my marriage. My needs were not being met. I felt that there was too much bitterness and resentment between me and my then-husband that it wasn’t going to help.
The author explains that it's critical to know your own and your partner's love language in order to keep emotional love alive in your relationship. The love languages he refers to are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
After reading the book, and observing myself on a deeper level, I discovered that I am an acts of service, quality time, physical touch kinda girl. My ex-husband was a words of affirmation kinda guy. Let me explain.
Acts of Service: Actions speak louder than words so in order for me to feel loved, I need my partner to do things like help clean the house, help chauffeur the kids, help with the laundry, etc. – willingly and without being asked. I need him to be aware of the family's schedule, and be an active participant in all of the duties required to create a calm, loving environment. I need a partner who will do what needs to be done for the people he loves.
My ex-husband felt it was my job as the woman (and SAHM) to do all the cleaning, shopping, butt wiping, cooking, child-rearing, etc. but I needed him to help with all of these things as an act of love. He went to work and felt that was all he needed to do to show his love. And when he came home, any minor act of service was because he was feeling charitable at that moment. And after he performed this minor act of service, I was expected to praise him for the next three days because he put his dish in the dishwasher...for me.
Quality Time: In order to feel loved I need my partner and to be intentional about spending time alone together, engaging in conversation, laughing, and being vulnerable and supportive. Yes we are all busy and when you throw kids in to the mix, it gets even busier. That's why it's so important to me for my partner to have a heightened awareness of "connecting" whenever possible and making it a point to show me that he wants to (and enjoys) spending time connecting with me on this level. This could mean a planned date-night every week where we only focus on each other and nurturing our relationship.
My ex-husband had many hobbies and continued to expand his interests throughout our marriage. This left little time for nurturing our relationship by spending time alone and connecting. Whenever I would ask for a date-night, he would roll his eyes in annoyance. Because his love language is words of affirmation, he devoted his time to several different groups doing acts of service (for other people) in order to gain the words of affirmation he needed in order to feel loved.
Physical Touch: I am the type of person that needs physical touch. That can be in any form. Sitting next to each other on the couch while arms, or legs, or hands are touching. It can be just holding hands, a kiss, a hug, whenever or wherever. It can be whenever the other person feels the need to reach out and touch the other person to show them affection; which to me equals love.
My ex-husband was not a "touchy-feely" type of person. In fact, I remember when we were dating and we were standing in line at Blockbuster video, I reached out to give him a hug and peck on the lips and his body stiffened as he began to sweat. I lost my footing and stumble to regain my composure as I recoiled with embarrassment. I realized he was extremely uncomfortable with public displays of affection. This aversion to affection also bled over to when we were at home. When we were married I thought he would eventually become comfortable with my advances but it was evident that he would never warm up to the idea.
As I wrap up this post, I would like you to know that it's important for both people to understand and appreciate their partner's love language. It doesn't mean you have to have the same love language as your partner, although it really helps if you do. It just means that you need to learn how to speak your partner's love language in order to have a loving and fulfilling relationship.
Did you know about the five love languages? If so, has it helped you in your life?
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