To communicate effectively, just speaking the same language isn’t enough.
You’re probably familiar with the concept of “love languages” from the 1992 book “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,” by Gary Chapman.
Those five love languages are:
- words of affirmation
- quality time
- giving gifts
- acts of service
- physical touch.
And couples can run into trouble if they do not understand the love language of each other.
Maybe you express love simply by saying “I love you,” and wonder why your partner never says it back. In the meanwhile, your partner might consider mere words hollow, and be brooding as he or she spends an afternoon fixing a broken appliance and wondering why you don’t reciprocate with similar service: two people expressing their love without the other even realizing they’re both doing so!
You probably use all the love languages to some degree, but you probably tend to focus on just one or two. I consider it a gift of love to bake the kind of crusty European bread my husband misses from home. In return, he gives me daily massages.
Go down the list again. Which ones do you do? How about your partner? Is it possible the love of your life has been expressing more affection than you were giving him or her credit for? Mowing the yard, bringing you a cookie, rubbing your feet, fetching a cold glass of iced tea on a hot day without you even asking for it and agreeing to spend hours doing something you love but he doesn’t necessarily care for (shopping?) are all declarations of love!
And how do you show your love back? Yes, making love is probably on everybody’s list! But sex isn’t the only kind of loving touch. Massages, holding hands, playing footsie under the table in secret, cuddling up to each other all night — all of these count, too.
Dramatic declarations of love are great, as are gifts of chocolate and jewelry. But don’t insist your partner speak exactly the same love language you do. Be willing to translate his or her gifts of watching the kinds of movies you like or helping you paint your toes. And if your partner will do things like deal with mousetraps or pop a zit you can’t reach? Now that is true love.