One of the mistakes we make in relationships is that we assume others show love in the same way we do. And if they don’t, we wonder…
Where did the love go?
We know that good communication is absolutely essential for a happy and healthy relationship but while this is relatively easy to understand, it’s not so easy to put into practice.
Why? Because we all express love in different ways.
And according to Dr Gary Chapman (who helps millions of couples find the love they thought was lost), there are exactly 5 ways that we express our love. He calls these love languages. And just like with language, there are many different dialects or iterations within those 5 too (which explains the various articles that claim there are 100’s of ways to express your love!)
So if we think about how we learn languages. Most of us grow up learning the language of our parents and this becomes our primary language. Let’s say this is English. Now, further down the line we may learn a secondary language like German. Now even though we can speak both English and German, we’ll find it much easier to speak English and we’re way more comfortable speaking it over German.
If we then hang out with someone who speaks Chinese but we don’t speak Chinese then our conversation will be limited. And it will all be a bit awkward to try and talk to them (pointing, gesturing. mumbling - you get the gist).
If we wish to communicate with the person who speaks Chinese, we must learn to speak and understand Chinese.
In love it’s similar. We all have our own emotional love language. Now your love language and the one of your lover, friend or any kind of relationship in your life may be as different as English to Chinese. If that person only understands Chinese and you keep speaking to them in English then you’ll never understand how to love them.
So what can we do about it?
Well we can learn our lovers primary love language and adopt it as our secondary love language. All we need is curiosity, willingness and an open heart and mind to experiment with it.
In love, the languages are:
- Words of affirmation (compliments, words of encouragement, a gushy text, a heartfelt email)
- Quality time (giving someone your undivided attention)
- Receiving gifts (making someone a homemade card, giving presents like flowers or gig tickets)
- Acts of service (doing the washing up, walking the dog, life admin)
- Physical touch (having sex, kissing, holding hands, cuddles)
Any of these sound familiar?
If not, you can take the test and find out what your love language is here
Rarely do we have the same primary love language as the people we have relationships with. We tend to speak our language and then we get frustrated or confused when that person doesn’t understand us.
Let me give you an example…
If you absolutely LOVE to be showered in compliments and to receive gushy text messages from your loved one and that makes you feel like you’ve been showered in gold (which is how Project Love's Selina Barker likes her love to be delivered!) . Then your primary love language is “Words of Affirmation”. But, if the way your partner feels love is when you give them your undivided attention and spend quality time with them, their primary language is “Quality Time”. So in order for you to express your love, you need to give them this time, so phones and laptops away, TV off, just listening to them, empathising, asking questions and really engaging with them with no distractions.
So don’t assume the love language that others speak is the same as your own. And I’m talking about any relationship in your life, so not just romantic ones but also friendships, family relationships and even work relationships.
When you’re speaking their language, think of it like you’re filling up their emotional love tank.
So keep the love tank full and see what a difference it makes to your relationships!
Challenge – find out what your love language is and the one of your lover, friend, family member and try speaking their language for 30 days. Let us know how you get on, over on FB or Twitter - we bet it will transform your relationships!