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Incorporating Love Languages into Your Relationship
You've likely heard of the five love languages if you've ever come across a dating help site, gone to marriage counseling, or listened to podcasts from a dating expert.
On a side note, perhaps I should start a dating podcast. That might be interesting. I definitely get a lot of traffic on my dating hubs.
Anyway, the five love languages are how we communicate our love for our partner and others. Not everyone expresses their love in the same way. We were taught different ways to express our love growing up. Also, people don't feel loved in the same way, so it's important to express your love in different ways. Love helps your partner feel supported and appreciated.
My recommendation: try expressing your love for your partner with all five love languages. Get really good at predicting their needs. If you can ace all five, your bond will likely be strong.
So what are the five love languages?
- Words of Affirmation
- Spending Time Together
- Acts of Service
Who came up with the idea of love languages? Gary Chapman. He has written books upon books around this concept. If you want to learn more, buy his books or go to a library and check them out.
Words of Affirmation
People like to be complimented and reassured. The way you talk to your partner can make or break your marriage. Divorce doesn't normally happen overnight; it builds overtime. You want to say more positive things to your partner than negative things. Of course, you'll have rough days. You'll fall short of your ideals. You may even have a fight, not a physical one, from time to time. You want to minimize all of that and learn how to love your partner as yourself, be a voice of reason and comfort, and help build confidence.
Lawyers say after years and years of nagging, disapproval, and disgust people file for divorce. Generally, people don't have one bad day that blew up to the point of divorce. Sure, there are explosive days like that where everything becomes unhinged, but that's not normal overall. Marriages and relationships come undone slowly by words: words are the ingredients you season into your relationship.
So what can you do to be better at words of affirmation?
- Don't be shy: say I love you way more than you give disapproval.
- Show gratitude: thank yous can go a long way. Anything your partner did to support you, to make a difference, say thank you. Have good manners. Just because you're married doesn't mean you should drop the ball on manners, that's how you take your partner for granted.
- Look for new ways to compliment your partner. Compliment them in ways that help them to feel seen and understood.
- Compliment them when they look great, compliment them when they say something smart, compliment them when they've impressed you.
Your word choice is the core of your marriage. What you say and how you respond will determine whether the two of you have longevity. It's a good idea to leave behind positive notes for your partner to read, buy them cards and fill them with notes, make lists of the things they do that make your heart swoon.
Spending Time Together
Time contributed to a skill, an activity, and your relationship are all investments. It's easy to get bogged down by a career or raising kids and forget to give time to your spouse. Here's the thing though: you should prioritize your spouse. Kids watch their parents to learn how to treat others. The way you model your marriage is what your kids will absorb for their adulthood.
Your career: at any moment you could get laid off or replaced simply because of the changing of times. It's risky to put all your eggs in one basket, whether that's your career or something else.
Spend time with your partner and come up with unique experiences to help strengthen your bond. You should still go on dates even if you've been married for 20 years. You should go on vacations together and adventures just to see sunsets in gorgeous vistas.
Time = investment. If you're not spending time with your partner, you're not really investing in them. You want to take your relationship off the couch and into more exciting locations.
Work together. Design your home together. Build up common activities you both enjoy. A relationship is very obviously about togetherness, so you need a common core of things you do together.
Don't get too absorbed in creating a gigantic network of friends or becoming so reclusive that you spend all of your time in a room, alone, with the door locked. You should have friends and alone time, but don't over do it to the point that you don't spend time with your partner.
Gifts are a way that you can creatively show that you understand your partner. Don't limit gift-giving to the holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. People like surprise gifts too.
We all work hard for our money, so when someone uses that money to brighten your day, it can be taken as a major compliment. The nice thing about a marriage is your collection of gifts grows; you can be in a fortress of little nods to you and your partner.
You want to get gifts that are practical, gifts that are heartfelt and nostalgic, and gifts that show you put some effort and investment into them.
Flowers can brighten up someone's day, especially if they're a nice, lovely bouquet. Who doesn't love a box of chocolates? Who doesn't like looking around their room and seeing gifts they've collected that shows their partner really understands and supports them?
My suggestion: make a list where you can come up with gift ideas. Listen to what your partner is saying and also think about things that would make life easier. Writing out a list can help you organize your thoughts and also remember what they say.
Also, if you make a list it can help you plan for the cost. Most people plan out when they're going to buy an engagement ring. They save up their money to buy that sparkly rock. It takes time, thinking, and saving up to buy it. Part of the appeal isn't just the ring itself and the commitment, it's that someone took the time to buy it, invest in it, and find something aesthetically pleasing.
If you want to buy your partner jewelry or something nice, then you need to think ahead and get organized with your money. It's a major compliment if someone wants to invest in you that way.
*Beware: some people try to buy your love with gifts. If they don't know how to give love in any other way than gifts and expensive things, your bond might be artificial or weak.
Acts of Service
It's really easy to miss that someone loves you when they take out the trash. I think when you're more mature, you realize that someone does in fact love you when they're willing to help with all the tasks we're obligated to complete.
It takes a lot of energy to take care of a home, to get all the errands done, and check off the lists. When someone is willing to put the energy into getting that stuff done, it means they love you. If they can't be bothered to do anything, then they're sedentary and kind of dormant in the relationship.
So what can acts of service look like? Here are a few examples:
- Filling up your car with gas while you clean, read a book, or do something else.
- Doing the dishes on a consistent basis.
- Taking care of those pesky property taxes for you.
- Cooking a nice meal for you.
- Helping you find a better insurance company.
- Helping you figure out what to do with your aging parents.
- Making sure to take good notes or videos from events your kids are in that you miss because of work.
- Cleaning up the cat vomit, so you don't have to do that.
- Calling in repair services, so you don't have to call them yourself.
- Setting up doctors' appointments and getting them into your schedule.
Acts of service can be really hard to see as acts of love for people. You have to stop and think about the fact that what they're doing is somewhat tedious and they're doing it because they care about you, they want to add energy into the bond you share, and because they want things to be a little better and brighter in your world.
Probably the number one thing that rocks about being a couple rather than single is that you have more support and you have another brain and two hands to get stuff done around the house. Being single and independent can be great, and at times lonely, but it definitely is harder to get stuff done as a party of one. You can scale up your life with another person, and conquer more of the chores and tasks. In a healthy relationship, you should feel supported and at ease knowing more stuff is getting done.
*Don't marry someone if they can't lift a figure and won't help you out. This is someone who will take advantage of you, and will put up a fight if you ask for help. In a couple, two people work together. There isn't one person who helps a helpless person.
Touch isn't just about what you do behind closed doors. It's about building intimacy. You should still hold hands, hug, and give kisses even when you've been married for 30 years. Some people live for this stuff and put it as their #1 love language. Touch makes people feel affirmed. It feels good. Who doesn't like a massage?
Touch is personal and makes people feel wanted and seen. We usually can tell who is falling for each other by those little touches from hand holding, shoulder touches, and a kiss on the cheek. You should feel comfortable sitting next to each other, you should cuddle up, and you definitely shouldn't be squirming and resisting touch at all costs.
Take some dance classes if you need to re-spark this area. Touch = intimacy.
- Greet each other with a kiss on the cheek and say goodbye with a hug.
- Run your hand through his or her hair.
- Start up a thumb war.
- Give those shoulders a squeeze, again who doesn't love a massage? Especially with someone who you feel comfortable with.
- Tap their feet for amusement.
- Exercise together.
- Link arms.
- Find new ways to give hugs.
- Kiss the hand.
© 2021 Andrea Lawrence
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on April 08, 2021:
Thank you for your words. Love is a very strange thing indeed.
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on April 08, 2021:
Gratitude is a powerful love language. These are wise words.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 07, 2021:
Love is such a word that people want to have love and some choose to not allow that in their lives. Languages of love is interesting from your point of view.
Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on April 06, 2021:
Very nicely written.I also believe gratitude can also be a love language as it is one of the simplest ways to establish a positive connection with another human being and feeling good about it.Thanks for sharing
Ann Carr from SW England on April 06, 2021:
Interesting languages, all very important of course. Good advice to go with them.