If you find yourself not completely understanding or communicating well with your partner, you may begin to wonder what you can do to better connect with each other. If you are questioning the depth and strength of your love, or you are feeling uncared for, this can cause a disconnection between you and your partner. This disconnection may be occurring because you two are not speaking the same love language. This is a way of defining your way of communicating and expressing your love, and the way that you would prefer to receive love. This is a way of communicating that has been developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Love Languages. He outlines five different ways to “speak” and understand emotional love.
Chapman describes those five love languages as:
Words of Affirmation - Saying thoughtful things more regularly such as 'I love you', 'You look great', 'I love how that looks on you'.
Quality Time - Spending time together, with and/or without the kids, doing things you love together such as board games, watching movies, or hiking.
Receiving Gifts - Bringing home small gifts such as flowers, a favorite snack, or a new game.
Acts of Service - Doing little things to help out such as folding the laundry, washing the dishes or cooking a meal.
Physical Touch - Giving your partner a massage, extra hugs, placing an arm around the other when sitting next to each other, or simply holding hands.
If your partner’s love languages differ from yours, your partner might expect the same expressions of love from you that they like. In this predicament, it’s important to have a calm, in-depth discussion about the ways in which you both like to express and receive love. The way you have learned to express love probably stems from your childhood and the way your parents and/or those that raised you showed you love. If your parents regularly hugged you or told you all the time how much they love you, you learned how to express love with physical touch and words of affirmation. If your parents were always there to drive you places and cheer you on at athletic/scholastic events, you learned how to express love with acts of service and quality time. If your partner did not learn how to express love the same way as you, your expression of love may not be received or even acknowledged as love.
If you are having trouble with different expressions of love, try having an honest conversation with open-ended questions about what kinds ways you would like to receive love from your partner, and how they would like to you to express their love for them. Learning each other's love languages will make you more open to each other and able to show each other just how much you care for each other. With practice and patience to put those expressions of love into action, you will both find yourselves feeling loved by each other and stronger than ever in your relationship.