I have been dating my boyfriend for 10 months now, however some would say its been more like 2 years, but more on that later. Communication is something him and I both struggle with in general and with each other. Starting the deep conversations is the main struggle.
Growing up my mom always told me I had a love language of physical touch because I loved hugs (and still do) and I never really knew what she meant until I read the singles edition of Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages. The original book is geared toward married couples and at that point in time my boyfriend and I hadn't started dating yet, but I wanted to understand it better from a singles perspective before applying it to a dating perspective and hopefully someday in a marriage perspective.
What is your love language?
If you haven't heard of love languages before, you're not the first. It's not a well-known topic, but it's more known now-a-days than a few years ago. Gary Chapman wrote a few books on the Five Love Languages - for everyone, not just married and dating couples.
This topic helps those couple who can't seem to feel loved by their spouse, it's possible you are "speaking" each other's love language. You will be surprised how much love with be passed back and forth once you take the time to discover your love language and your spouse's.
Discovering your partners love language will help you not only understand your spouse better, but it will also help you know how to make your spouse feel loved (and how you show and receive love). According to Chapman's list, the five love languages are:
- Physical Touch - example: kisses, hugs, back rub, "petting", etc.
- Receiving Gifts - example: bring her a bouquet of flowers just because, or buy him a new watch because you know he needs a new one.
- Words of Affirmation - example: thank your spouse for something small (or big) they did that day i.e putting away the dishes clean dishes from the dishwasher or vacuuming the floor - or - compliment them on something they are wearing or a personality trait you admire.
- Quality Time - example: being together doing anything or nothing; or be with your spouse while they're doing something they like to do but you may or may not necessarily like it, but you're spending time together.
- Acts of Service - example: Do something for your spouse because you know it will make them smile and feel appreciated. i.e. For married couples: make your wife breakfast in bed or brew her some coffee before she gets out of bed. For dating couples: Open doors for your girlfriend or hold her bags (chivalry is not dead, boys!). Ladies, don't make your boyfriend feel like he has to do everything, help your boyfriend with their projects - guys like their projects (also get in some quality time, too)
My challenge for you is: take some time to think about what your top 2 love languages are for how you show your love, your top 2 for how to like to receive love (what makes you feel loved), and your top 2 guesses of what you think your spouse's love languages are (what makes them feel loved). The discuss with your partner. Ask them what their top 2 love languages are and see if you were correct in your guess. I bet you're not too far off, or got at least one if not both of them correct.
It is also normal for ALL of them make you feel loved or 4 out of 5 of them performed make you feel loved. That's the case for me, personally. Mine are ranked 1 being the "feels the most loved" and 5 being the "I can tell you're trying":
- Physical touch
- Receiving gifts
- Acts of service
- Quality Time
- Words of affirmation
Like I said above, I believe in actions speak louder than words - hence the words of affirmation being at the bottom, not that I don't appreciate it but I don't get the same feeling of affection as I would when he gives me a hug. This varies from person to person. This list could be the complete opposite for you. Wrapping this all up into a conclusion, knowing these facts about each other will help you understand your spouse a little more and also bring you two closer because you now know one another's love language and you can "speaker" it to each other - growing your relationship in a way that brings love rather than frustration. For more information check out Gary Chapman's book: The Five Love Languages.