Relationships are hard.
Many couples seek therapy in the hope that they can salvage their relationship before irrevocable harm is done. Some arrive in therapy exhausted and emotionally battered.
It is not uncommon to hear couples in therapy voice their dissatisfaction with each other. One spouse may say, “He doesn’t love me anymore,” while the other spouse may counter with, “I don’t know what else to do. Nothing I do is good enough.”
The disconnect is often rooted in the fact that not everyone communicates or receives love in the same way.
In his book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts,” Gary Chapman, Ph.D. describes five unique styles of communicating love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, or physical touch.
Each of us have one style that we prefer over the others. Discovering you and your partner’s primary love language can open new pathways of communicating and understanding – leaving each of you feeling heard and supported.
Recognizing your love language can help beyond romantic relationships. It can also lead to more fulfilling relationships with friends, co-workers, siblings, and even our parents.
Here is an overview of the five love languages:
Words of Affirmation: If this is your love language, the adage “actions speak louder than words” doesn’t apply to you. Instead, you thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up such as “I’m so thankful you’re in my life,” “You were amazing today,” or “Everything is better when you're here.” Finding a little note in your jacket or receiving an unexpected text will make your spirits soar.
Quality Time: This is all about showing your love and affection to your partner by giving them your undivided attention. Active listening and eye contact are crucial. You enjoy your partner setting time aside for you to create meaningful connection. This can take the form of spending time together talking (without any distractions such as a cellphone ringing) or doing recreational activities together. Weekend getaways are always a winner.
Receiving Gifts: Giving gifts isn’t about the amount of money spent. Rather, the time and effort put into the process. It’s about selecting a present that perfectly matches the moment (a birthday or anniversary) or no particular moment at all (an everyday gesture) and the emotional impact the present will have on the receiver.
Acts of Service: If this is your love language, you appreciate when your partner goes out of their way to make things easier for you. It’s the ultimate “show, don’t tell.” They fix your wobbly chair. They run to the grocery store when you’re out of your favorite coffee creamer. They pick you up at the airport. To your partner, you’re special and worth the effort.
Physical Touch: This love language is all about expressing love through body language and physical presence. Of course, physical intimacy is a component. But it’s more than that. It’s also holding hands, kissing, and hugging. It can be a pat on the back. Placing a hand on your partner’s shoulder or the small of their back. These physical gestures communicate warmth, safety, and love to you.
If you and your partner are not content with the state of your relationship, reach out today to make an appointment with one of our therapists at Turning Point Mental Health Center.