Emotional Wellness

What's your love language?

Have you ever been really confident that something you had planned for your significant other would be outstanding only to see it fall flat? I know I have. Early on in my relationship I spent a good amount of hours focused on picking out the perfect birthday gift, vacuuming, unloading the dishwasher, and folding laundry. While my fiancé would agree that these are all nice things, they were not exactly what he was looking for.

Seldom do partners share the same primary emotional love language, and oftentimes, relationships experience issues with miscommunication due to differences in the way each partner expresses and expects to receive love.

In his book, The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman documents this phenomenon of miscommunication that can occur when partners do not speak the same love languages. Specifically Dr. Chapman identifies the following as the 5 primary love languages that show up in our relationships.

1) Acts of Service: Actions rather than words are used to show and receive love.

  • Mow the lawn 
  • Get up with the baby 
  • Pay for dinner 
  • Warm up your partner’s car in the winter 

2) Receiving Gifts: Giving of thoughtful gifts is symbolic of love and affection. 

  • Purchase your partner’s favorite sweet treat 
  • Bring back a small souvenir from a business trip 
  • Sneak a small thoughtful gift into their lunch bag 
  • Make a collage of your favorite photos together 

3) Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided undistracted attention. 

  • Get out a board game or some playing cards 
  • Make date nights a weekly occurrence 
  • Take a walk together 
  • Go to bed at that same time 

4) Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection with praise, empathy, encouragement, or appreciation.  

  • Write your partner a love letter 
  • Tell your partner you love them and are thankful they are in your life 
  • Call their office phone when you know they won’t answer and leave an encouraging message 
  • Accept responsibility and tell your partner you are sorry when you made a mistake 

5) Physical Touch: Expressing affection through physical touch.  

  • Give your partner a massage 
  • Hold your partner’s hand 
  • Make time to be physically intimate 
  • Cuddle together in bed 

So, going back to my story of miscommunication, while I was expressing Receiving Gifts and Acts of Service, my fiancé was would have preferred more Quality Time and Physical Touch.

Now that you have learned a little about the 5 different love languages, you might be wondering which one you and your partner prefers. To find out take this short 30 question quiz  and then trade results with your partner. It may help with miscommunication and assist in fostering a deeper connection and more meaningful interactions with your significant other. 

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