Have you ever felt like your “wires” of communication are crossing with your partner? Do you feel disconnected from someone you care about who also cares about you? It may feel like something is “off,” as if your signals are crossing. It is possible that you are communicating in different love languages, a concept developed by Gary Chapman. A “love language” refers to how one expresses love to a partner and how one likes to receive love from the partner. Like other interpersonal aspects, these may differ based on personality differences.
Understanding your own love language, as well as your partner’s, helps with understanding, bridges connection, builds appreciation, and enhances thoughtfulness in expressing love. The result is a stronger, more fulfilling relationship. Knowing each other’s love languages can also prevent conflict due to expectations around expressions of love. While we may focus on how we want love expressed, it is also important to understand how the other person wants love to be extended.
What are the different love languages and how to communicate across them
Gary Chapman’s writings about love languages describe five unique love languages. You or your partner may exhibit one or more of these.
You may feel most loved by receiving gifts, and you may express love by giving gifts. People for whom giving and receiving gifts is their love language appreciate the process of gift giving, from the thoughtful consideration, the intention behind finding something that represents the relationship, and emotional benefits of getting gifts. The meaning behind the gift, rather than its monetary value, is important here.
You can express this to a partner through thoughtful gestures and gifts. If someone whose love language is that of receiving gifts, express your gratitude when you receive a gift from that person. The size of the gift does not matter; it is the meaning you show them they are a priority to you. If you go on a trip, bring a gift from your trip to show that you were thinking of them. Especially commemorate special days, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays with a gift of some sort.
Words of Affirmation
If you value verbal expressions of love and communicate these to a loved one, your love language is probably one called “Words of Affirmation.” As such, you may feel valued and understood, which enhances the sense of connection with and appreciation from another.
Ways to communicate love to someone whose love language is through words of affirmation are by encouraging, actively listening, empathizing, and affirming often. You can do this by sending a surprise note expressing any or all of these. You can also praise and acknowledge your partner for what they do. Thank them often for the things they do.
Spending time with your partner may be how you like to receive and give love. Time is precious, and when someone wants to give their time to you, it may make you feel loved, valued, and special. You may feel especially loved when someone shows they are fully present by making eye contact and actively listening. Quality time is a love language of someone wanting to be fully present with you.
You can express love to someone who values quality time by carving out special time together, whether it is going for a walk or going on a picnic together. Intentionally creating time to spend together, including get-aways means a lot. Find new experiences to share.
Acts of Service
Do you feel loved when your partner goes out of their way to do something for you to make things easier for you? It could be the smallest thing like making you a cup of tea or running an errand for you when you are busy. The love language of service resonates with people who believe that actions speak louder than words. While some people like to hear how much they mean to another, others want to be shown this, and they tend to show their love by doing something for their partner.
Doing chores together is a good way to express love to someone how leans to the “acts of service” love language. It is action, more than words, that shows love to them. They are more likely to trust you when you follow through with things you say you are going to do, especially when it involves helping them with something.
If you are more tactile and feel loved when your partner puts an arm around you, gives you a hug, or simply holds your hand, physical touch is your love language. Physical affection is a sign of love for people like this. This intimacy conveys a sense of warmth, caring, appreciation, and comfort.
For those whose love language is less verbal and more physical, express intimacy with hugs, kisses, and cuddling. For many this gives a sense of being grounded and secure in the relationship.
Knowing Your Partner’s Love Language
It is important to know your partner’s love language because you are more able to meet each other where you are at and ensure that you each feel loved, even if your love languages are different. It can be very frustrating when you express your love in a way that your partner might not feel because they expect it to be expressed in a different way. For example, they may want to hear verbal expressions of love, while you show your love through doing things for them.
The simplest and most direct way to find out a person’s love language is to ask them when and by what expression they feel loved and appreciated.
You can also notice how they seem to most consistently express love and when they seem to respond positively to your expressions of love.
Check in with your partner from time to time. Sometimes love language preferences are not black or white; they may vary. If one tends toward two or more love languages, one may be more prevalent at a particular time.
It is important to note that certain expressions of love may not be displayed openly in some cultures, such as publicly showing physical affection. While cross-cultural relationships often face other challenges, they may also deal with the challenges of different culturally acceptable ways to express love languages. Ask yourself what is my love language?
Training for Managing Promotions
Learning about love languages through training is another way you can understand your and your partner’s preferences for giving and receiving love and can adjust your expressions. The Karen Natasha Coaching training program offers workshops on tools and practices. See https://www.karenatashacoaching.com/ for more details.
What to do TODAY?
Karen Natasha Coaching helps many people access awareness about themselves. We help people shift their energy, so that they can move forward with assurance, confidence, and renewed energy to achieve their goals and bring their best selves to any situation. We can help you communicate better by understanding and managing love languages. Contact Karen Natasha Coaching for a consultation to experience how we can help.