Q. Do you know how you like to be loved? If you said YES, good for you, you have done your homework. If you said NO, then read on.
A. If you think about being in love, what does that really mean? What is it that you love about that person and how is that love expressed?
There is an amazing book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It is a read that is strongly suggested for anyone looking to define their language of love or couples who are struggling with mixed up love signals. It definitely should be read before couples marry.
So here are the 5 Love Languages:
1. Words of Affirmation – Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language,unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I Love You.” are important — hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward.
2. Physical Touch – A person whose primary language is physical touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, and thoughtful touches on the arm — they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care and love.
3. Acts of Service –Can doing the dishes and taking out the trash (without being reminded) really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.
4. Quality Time – In Quality Time, nothing says “I Love You” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, not looking at your phone–makes you feel truly special and loved. Whether it’s spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.
5. Receiving Gifts – Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are cared for and valued.
So now here is where problems can occur. When a person knows how they want to be loved (which I think most people do) and they tell their partner and the partner doesn’t provide love in that way, problem!!
Here is an example: Terri’s love language is gifts. Not expensive, break the bank gifts but to wake up and find sticky notes on the bathroom mirror saying, “I Love You,” and “I can’t wait to see you tonight,” would make her day. Her husband, Todd’s love language is physical touch. When Terri realized Todd was just not into gifts or loving gestures, she became frustrated with “asking” and pulled away from any physical affection. Todd never really thought about sticky notes because that was not something he needed. Their love languages were different but not unsolvable if they can see what is happening and make changes.
Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City
If you would like to send a question to Vicki, email us at [email protected]