One of the most common blocks to feeling truly loved in our relationships isn’t that our partners don’t care about us. It’s that sometimes we just don’t communicate love in the same way. Knowing how you most like to be loved, and how the people closest to you like to be loved, can make or break a relationship.
For example, when you are trying to tell your partner that you love them by, say, taking care of stuff around the house, she might appreciate it, but won’t necessarily feel loved by it unless that’s one of the ways she “hears” love. Similarly, if you reach out to hold his hand, he might like that, but if what he really needs to to be told you love him, he might not understand what offering your hand means to you.
In the book, The Five Love Languages, author Gary Chapman outlines the five most common ways that we hear and receive love. Which one rings truest to you?
- Words of Affirmation – Feeling especially loved when people express gratitude for me and for the things I do; acknowledgment, appreciation, saying (or writing) “I love you.”
- Quality Time – Feeling especially loved when a person gives me undivided attention and spends time alone with me; listening, sharing experiences, being together.
- Receiving Gifts –Feeling especially loved by someone who brings me gifts and other tangible expressions of love; not necessarily expensive, tokens of love.
- Acts of Service – Feeling especially loved when someone pitches in to help me; could be by running errands, doing chores, attending to details.
- Physical Touch – Feeling especially loved when a person expresses feelings for me through physical contact; not necessarily sex, cuddling, holding hands, touching your leg or shoulder.
Most of us like and appreciate four or five of these ways of communicating love, but usually there is one that stands out above all the others to make you feel especially loved and taken care of.
What’s your primary way of showing love? What’s your primary way of receiving love? What language(s) does your significant other “speak”? It may be helpful to think of what it would be like if your partner only did one of these. What would have you feel the most loved and cared for?
When you know how people best feel loved, it’s easy to show them in ways that feel great. If you’re stuck and can’t tell what language you “speak,” you can take the quiz to find out your love language.