If you aren’t familiar with the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, it’s an interesting read that can give a lot of insight about how we are wired to communicate love. (The information can be applied to both romantic relationships and platonic ones as well).
I have a feeling that the majority of couples don’t speak the same language as their primary love language, and if they are lucky, they MIGHT communicate in the same secondary love language.
The 5 languages are:
Out of the 5, my husband and I share zero in common. It’s almost comical how opposite we are. His top two are Quality Time and Physical Touch. Mine are Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service. Oh, and he enjoys showing love by giving gifts.
The truth is, our marriage isn’t sunshine and rainbows. We both love each other immensely. And we both have different needs when it comes to how the other demonstrates love. I thrive on the “you are doing amazing!” and “wow, thank you’s” He thrives on park days and hugs. He isn’t one to dish out the compliments, and I thoroughly enjoy my alone-time to think.
So how in the world do we not only make it work, but actually thrive?
There are a couple keys to success that we have found:
Communication. If he can’t authentically tell me he needs time together and physical connection, or I can’t share that I really need to hear that he notices my efforts, that’s the first place to start.
Do your best to recognize their requests as affection and desire. If my husband wants my attention it’s because he loves me. I can choose to be annoyed that I was focused on something else (and sometimes I make that choice), or I can choose to accept his demonstration for what it is – he needs me to show him love. It’s time for me to speak his language. And when I start “fishing” for compliments, it’s time for him to step up his game on paying attention to my efforts and offer his words.
Share the common ground – for us, it’s often family goals that are the common ground. If we are working on something together, it’s an opportunity for us to spend time together (his language), and for him to say “well done” (my language).
Another common ground thing we found was dance lessons. It incorporated a little bit of everything for us – the drive to the studio was a little bit longer, so that meant some quality time for us, dancing is certainly physical touch, and it was a bit of effort to make it happen, especially in my husband’s work schedule, so I knew that doing it was an act of service. We would joke and laugh together, but he would make sure to say something about how I looked, or mastering a new move. We may not be that great at dancing, but it sure sparked more joy in our marriage.
Practice “speaking” the languages that aren’t your primary/secondary. The better we are at communicating in other love languages, the more capable we will be to pick up on clues that our loved ones are leaving us that they care.
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