Love Languages and Why They are Important
Could your relationship benefit from a new perspective?
I first discovered love languages a couple years ago and since then, my perspective on family, friendships, and relationships has drastically changed. For the better, too. I took the quiz and received my results. It took less than five minutes. My top five, in order, were:
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Receiving Gifts
These results did not surprise me, but they did help me realize something. It is just as important to understand your partner's love languages as it is to understand your own, especially if your love languages are different from each other's.
These love languages give you insight into what means the most to you and your partner, and also what can hurt you the most. For example, quality time dominates my love language by far. This means that when my partner gives me his full, undivided attention to go for a tech-free walk, watch a movie, bake something, or even just go to Barnes and Noble and look at all the books, is when I feel the most loved. These types of actions are what makes me feel appreciated.
On the other hand, cancelled plans, distractions such as taking phone calls when we are on a date, or inactive listening when I am talking are all things that hurt me the most. I feel unappreciated when these things occur. In a relationship, it is important to know these languages for your partner so you can make them feel loved and appreciated when they need it most. It will also give you insight into why certain things may have upset them and you will have an idea of the best way to fix it.
One of the most common issues with love languages is projection. When our dominating love languages are lacking in attention, one of the common signs is projecting your love language onto your partner, in hopes they will reciprocate and fulfill your need for attention in that area. This commonly causes problems in partners that have differing love languages.
For example, say Partner A has 'Receiving Gifts' as their dominating love language and Partner B values 'Words of Affirmation'. But these partners have no knowledge of love languages at all and are having a rough time making each other feel appreciated. Partner A will begin buying gifts for Partner B, mistakingly assuming that this will make Partner B feel loved and appreciated. At the same time, Partner B spends time sending wordy texts of appreciation and spewing thoughtful sentiments in person hoping it will make Partner A feel better, even though it is actually what they want to hear. During this cycle that continues on and on, each partner hopes that the other will reciprocate their actions resulting in Partner A receiving gifts and Partner B hearing Words of Affirmation. This assumption that what works for you will also work for your partner is a common issue in relationships.
But WAIT! It can be fixed!Take the quiz with your partner. Pay close attention to their top two or three love languages, and make a change in your relationship. Take time each week to devote attention to your partner's love language. Also, make sure to consider their love language when conflicts arise.
If you are especially interested in learning more about the 5 love languages and how you can apply them to your relationships, check out the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.