I’m sure you have heard about the 5 Love Languages. If not, it’s a book that breaks down the ways we feel the most loved. Usually all of them feel pretty nice, but there’s usually one powerhouse that helps us feel truly loved. When you get the full experience of receiving that one love language that really speaks to you, it feels like fireworks going off in your brain.
As a refresher, the Love Languages are:
- Words of affirmation
- Physical touch
- Quality time
- Acts of service
I see couples fight a lot about their love languages. They might say things like, “Why is it so hard to leave me a love note? You know how badly I need that!” or “I’ve asked you to plan a date for us for months, you never make it a priority.”
The other partner feels attacked, and naturally gets defensive. They start listing all the other things they do for their partner. “But I do the grocery shopping every week!” or “I just bought you a purse you wanted!”
Did you catch what happened there? The other partner starts listing different love languages they are fulfilling, not the one their partner primarily asks for.
So here is a challenge for you, reading this. Think hard about what your partner seems to ask for the most and be happiest to receive. Do you have a sense of what their love language might be? Ok, great.
Now, a harder challenge – ask yourself why giving them that love language is a struggle for you. Is it that you don’t feel great at putting words to feelings? Is it that after a long day of hundreds of obligations physical touch is the last thing on the list? Is it that quality time just doesn’t mean as much to you so it doesn’t occur to you to plan things? Is it that you feel you’re at a deficit, and haven’t felt loved in a long time?
It’s completely understandable that we’re not all built to easily give our partners what they need. I think we can give ourselves those excuses, though, and not challenge ourselves to orient towards our partner’s needs. If you’ve been giving yourself an out, and then find yourself surprised when your partner blows up again about not receiving their love language, try this. Do a searching self-inventory about why your partner’s need is a challenge for you. Then share with your partner in a good moment. This might sound like,
“Hey, I know quality time is really important to you. I know I struggle to give you that. I feel like I get stuck on feeling the pressure to come up with some exciting idea for us. I’m not great at the idea stuff. Could we talk about a way to do this together? Like if I plan the day and time, and we talk together about ideas of what we could do?”
“I know physical touch means a lot to you. Since having the baby, I’m on a totally new planet trying to figure out how to feel like a sexual person again. Can we set aside some time where we will be cuddling and being romantic, even if we’re not sure where it will lead? Will that be ok with you if it doesn’t lead to sex?”
I think we fear that we can’t give our partner what they need so much that we just go silent on the topic. Then they don’t think we’re thinking about it AT ALL or that we’re even aware of their need. Voicing your awareness and explaining your thought process can go a long way to helping bridge the gap.