I was recently facilitating one of my favourite Couples workshops, “Sex, Love, and Diapers”, and I had my couples separated into genders and asked each group to use “Sex and Love” in a sentence…
The women’s sentence was poetic: “If you feel loved and valued by your partner, then you can begin exploring intimacy and sex.”
The men’s sentence was less poetic, “I love sex.”
We, as humans, want to be loved, valued, and understood. What if you could always do or say the perfect thing to make someone feel special and loved? Now stop rolling your eyes dudes… it IS possible - you and your partner CAN connect better if you know and speak each other’s LOVE LANGUAGE.
Back in 1992, Gary Chapman, a brilliant marriage counsellor, realized all of his clients had a love language, a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. Dr. Chapman categorized the love languages to be…
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
The five love languages can help you better understand yourself and your partner and perhaps breathe new life into your relationships. Can picking up the vacuum be seen as an expression of love? You bet, if your partner values “Acts of Service” and you can help ease the burden of responsibility. However, actions don’t need to be louder that words if your partner values “Words of Affirmation”, as unsolicited loving words and compliments can fill the sails of your partner.
Don’t mistake “Receiving Gifts” as all about THINGS – it’s the thoughtfulness and effort behind the gift that makes you feel ‘known’, important and loved. But a thoughtful loving gift may fall on deaf ears if the receiver would really prefer is to just spend an afternoon with you. For the “Quality Time” speakers, nothing says “I love you” like your undivided attention. Turn off all distractions and be present with your partner –active listening and eye contact are crucial as well as not breaking commitments to spend time.
And finally, "Physical touch" – gear down big rig, this isn’t all about the sexy bedroom time. Hugs, holding hands, cuddles, and thoughtful touches on the face and arm can all fill the boots of someone that expresses love through touch.
Here is the kicker - Dr. Chapman discovered that people tend to be drawn to those that speak a DIFFERENT language than their own! Yikes, what a recipe for disaster! How can you make this work? You speak one language while your partner speaks a totally different one. First of all, you need to discover your own language and that of your partner and then maximize the love. For example, watching “Modern Family” on TV could satisfy both “Quality Time” and “Physical Touch” if you cuddle up on the couch, first reconnect about your day and then sit back and laugh at the hilarious show.
While it is safe to assume that we would all welcome love from any of the languages, but most people definitely have a primary love language, their default ‘go-to’ language. So what’s yours? Since you may be speaking what you need, you can discover your own love language by asking yourself these questions: How do I express love to others? What do I complain about the most? What do I request most often? Try to really think about your daily interactions and how you show love – the clues are all around you!
When the initial tingle and excitement of a relationship is starting to fade, many couples find that their "love tanks" are empty. They may have been expressing love for their spouse, but in reality they may have been speaking a different love language. The best way to fill your spouse's love tank is to express love in their love language. Speaking in your partner's love language probably won't be natural for you. Dr. Chapman says, "We're not talking comfort. We're talking love. Love is something we do for someone else. So often couples love one another but they aren't connecting. They are sincere, but sincerity isn't enough."
The love languages are not just for moms and dads. Think about your children and how they express love – what might their love language be? "Quality Time" and "Physical touch" tend to be tops for children. How can you better connect with them by speaking their language? What may be the love language of your other family members?
I share the love languages theory in my Couples workshops and the results are astounding! “This makes so much sense!”, “Oh, that’s why he always does that!??”, “So that’s why family dinner is so important to her!” are just a few of the comments I often hear. And speaking of the bedroom, I had one dad ask if I could guarantee him more sex if he used the love languages – I told him, “Not with me, but try speaking your wife’s language and let me know how it goes…
If you are interested in knowing your love language, email me at [email protected] and I will send you a little test to help you discover your own love language and perhaps the love languages of those significant to you! Better connections are a few clicks away!
Remember, love is a beautiful choice that requires a delicate balance of giving and receiving. Deepen the affection in your relationships by learning the other person's love language and speak it regularly. So now you know, with a little research and intention, you really can always do or say the perfect thing to make someone feel special and loved… Be bold and carry on! Please report back on your findings!!!
Until next time…