Everyone wants to feel loved. But how can you know if you’re communicating your love in a way that the other person will truly understand and appreciate? Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of The 5 Love Languages®: The Secret to Love That Lasts. He describes five “love languages” and why they are so important:
1. Physical Touch: This person feels loved when he is touched or cuddled with. He likes getting a back rub, being sexually intimate, or would like his partner to hold him.
2. Words of Affirmation: This person feels most loved when she is complimented or told, “I love you.” She thrives on loving verbal communication with her partner.
3. Quality Time: This person feels most loved when his partner spends time with him. He likes going out to dinner, or simply sitting on the couch together watching a movie.
4. Acts of Service: This person feels most loved when she is provided for or offered help, especially if she is feeling stressed out. She loves when her spouse runs errands or does chores without her having to ask him or her to do it. Actions speak much louder than words.
5. Gifts: This person feels most loved when he is given tokens of appreciation from his partner.
Chapman suggests that while all of us enjoy being showed love in all five love languages, most of us have one or two “primary” languages. It’s important to realize that you and your partner may not have the same primary love language. This could lead to miscommunication between partners. Here’s why: we tend to show our love most often in the same way that we like to be shown love by our partner. So, if your primary love language is physical touch, it’s most natural for you to show love by kissing and hugging your partner—even if his or her preferred love language is something else, like gifts. This means that your partner may not recognize your hugs and kisses as a show of love. This can explain why some exasperated partners can listen in shock while their partners say to them, “I feel like you don’t love me anymore.”
Learning to speak to your partner in his or her preferred love language more often is key for improving the quality of your relationship.
Jasbina Ahluwalia is the Founder-President of Intersections Match by Jasbina, the only premier dating coaching firm for Indian singles in the US, Canada and the UK. Jasbina@Intersectionsmatch.com