How To Show Your Partner Love In Their Love Language
7 minutes read
Not feeling loved by your significant other? Chances are yours and your partner’s respective ‘love language‘ styles are different. As a result, you both feel unwanted, and unappreciated in the relationship.
“It’s crucial to know your partner’s love language as the way that you received or gave love in your family as a child, may not be how your partner feels loved. If you don’t know your partner’s love language, you may inadvertently show them love the way that you feel loved,” US based Psychologist Dr Justine Grosso, who specialises in intimate relationships, self-love and trauma, tells Beauty Daily.
Adding: “Not knowing your partner’s love language may inadvertently set you up for difficulty feeling connected and secure in your relationship.”
Figuring out your and your partner’s love language may help bridge those gaps to form a better relationship. Beauty Daily consulted with top relationship experts on how you can use the five languages of love so you can effectively show love to your partner in their love language.
What happens if your love language isn’t met?
“Assuming that the way you feel loved is how your partner feels loved can strain your relationship. Making assumptions about your partner, in general, can also have this effect,” says Dr Grosso.
Quite interestingly, one of the leading reasons why couples split up is poor communication.
Dr Grosso says:” We often create narratives about our partner’s motives which can be completely inaccurate and contribute to conflict cycles and disconnection in relationships. Instead, try to lead with curiosity rather than assuming you know their intentions and thoughts. Ground yourself and calmly “check the facts” about the narrative you’ve constructed in your head with your partner.”
Marriage therapist Gary Chapman, Ph.D., has learned during his couple therapy sessions that patients who had conflicts and were at the edge of ending their relationships, were in fact loving their partner in a certain ‘love language‘. When they felt love was not coming back in the same language, they felt unloved as a consequence.
Miscommunication is the root cause. “A common mistake is having no awareness of love languages at all. When we don’t know our language or our partners, this can create friction between us. We often try to love people from our own love language, rather than from theirs.” explains Tasha Bailey, Creative & Trauma Psychotherapist and Self-Love Advocate.
“When our partner doesn’t express their love in the way that we expect, we can often assume that the love isn’t there. This isn’t necessarily true. It is possible that the love is there, but we can’t recognise it because we are not able to understand the language, they’re expressing it with.” she adds.
What are the five love languages?
Chaplin created the concept of love languages and authored the best-selling book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.
The premise of the book is quite simple: different people with different personalities give and receive love in different ways. By discovering and learning how to recognise these preferences in yourself and in your significant other, you can learn to identify the root of your conflicts, connect more profoundly, and begin to grow closer.
To understand the power of learning to speak your partner’s language, you first must know what the five love languages are:
1. Acts of service
Love is ‘actions speak louder than words’
People whose love language is acts of service believe in doing anything that they could to ease the burden of responsibilities on their partner’s behalf. Can taking out the trash to the bin or doing the weekly laundry really be an expression of love? Yes!
It could be fixing something faulty in the house, or cooking splendid meals day and night, vacuuming without being asked. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.
2. Giving and receiving gifts
Love is felt through thoughtful and heartfelt gifts
Let’s get this out of the way: people who like giving and receiving gifts are not materialistic. They just love the visual representation of love. It’s the thought that counts, which comes by giving and receiving gifts. It can be sending flowers or ordering your partner’s favourite food, buying something cute at a store or getting sweets on their way out of the supermarket that would make their loved one extra happy.
3. Quality time
Love is all about undivided attention and being 100% present
People whose love language is quality time appreciate uninterrupted quality time above anything else. So that means putting the phone away when having dinner, when watching Netflix, or when out strolling. These people also love to talk and, when doing so, make sure to make eye contact, listen carefully and be present.
4. Words of affirmation
Love felt through constant verbal reassurance
People whose love language is words of affirmation love receiving love notes or a simple good morning or good night text messages. They also value words of encouragement, unsolicited compliments and feel valued and loved with constant ‘I love yous’ – even more so if they’re told the reasons why they’re loved.
5. Physical touch
A sense of security, love belongingness through the power of hug
This one sounds sexual, but physical touch isn’t limited to the bedroom. People whose love language is physical touch are not necessarily very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. It can also be a back rubbed when they’re sad or sick, a midday power hug, holding hands, cheek kisses and so on.
“Our love languages can change, and we can learn that there are new things which also make us feel special, so it’s important to talk about it. The key is to talk about the love between you and what’s working /not working rather than directing the blame specifically to your partner,” says Bailey.
Is there a Love Language Test to Find Out Which You and Your Partner Are?
There’s a love language quiz you can take to find out your and your partner’s love language.
Is it important to know your partner’s love language?
“Learning and making efforts to interact with your partner’s love language allows multiple streams of communication within the relationship. When we know how our partner’s preferred ways of receiving and giving love, the intimacy within our connection with them deepens and vice-versa. This is because we are truly being heard and our needs are being thoroughly considered and attended to, says Bailey.
Is it possible not to have a love language?
However, if despite trying you still find yourself in recurrent patterns of conflict in your relationship, Dr Grosso suggests looking at how your childhood and past relationships may contribute to unhealthy habits that you are bringing into your current relationship.
“Our earliest relationships form templates (mental maps) about how to be in relationships, and if past relationships were neglectful, invalidating, or abusive, it is worth becoming more conscious of whether how you handle conflict is productive or furthering the conflict cycle,” she explains.
Expert-advice for strengthening a relationship via love languages
Bailey suggests going on a date where you both complete the love language test and then discuss your discoveries. It could be talking points while on a dinner date or on a picnic brunch.
“Some questions to ask each other are: how did I form this love language? What does it feel like when I’m loved in this way? What are my favourite ways of expressing/receiving this love language? You might even want to take notes so that you learn from each other.
It can also be a clever idea to review this frequently, whether it’s once a year or every few months. Having an open discussion about the love within your relationship and how you express love to each other can be fruitful.”
A final tip: Bailey says: “Specifically, ask for what you need in real time. If your partner missed the mark, tell them that you appreciate what they did do, but you would also love xyz… If you have a birthday coming up, be explicit in explaining how you would like them to show up for you. They will never know how to meet your love language until you tell them.”
It’s never too late to start loving better.