Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The 5 Love Languages : Knowing Yours & Speaking Your Partner's

Do you know your love language? A recent post on one of my favorite blogs reminded me of the Gary Chapman book, “The 5 Love Languages,” that I read in high school. Even though I could remember my love language, per the book’s test, I decided to take the quiz again to make sure—perhaps the way I feel most loved and appreciated had changed in the past decade.

So I took the 30-question survey and found that while some things change, many things stay the same—my love language being no exception.

My primary love language is Words of Affirmation, which was not really a surprise in high school but now that I know myself (and myself in relationships) even better, it’s definitely no surprise today. Hearing “I love you,” “I’m proud of you,” “I appreciate you,” etc., are definitely the things that mean the most to me. I enjoy a thoughtful gift, quality time together or my hubby doing the dishes, but I feel most loved when he tells me he loves me. And it really sends me over the moon if he tells me why. Perhaps it’s the writer in me, but loving words and frequent, intimate communication is what satisfies me emotionally and fills up my love tank. Even when GT and I fight (our “fights” are more serious discussions than screaming matches), I feel more connected to him and more positive about our relationship because we’ve expressed and talked about our feelings, good or bad.

As I did 10+ years ago, I also scored highly in Physical Touch, making it my secondary love language. For me, it’s non-sexual physical touch that is most meaningful. I get warm, fuzzy feelings when GT holds my hand, strokes my hair or gives me a kiss on the forehead, and when we cuddle on the couch while watching TV. Those simple actions make me feel safe and cared for. It’s nice to know someone wants to be around you and close to you, especially when the endgame isn’t getting you into bed. I think I made mistakes in past relationships because I longed to simply be held—and that led to giving too much away. Of course, sex is a happy part of my marriage, but a good morning kiss or a hug when I’m sad is just as beneficial to my relationship as a romp in the sack. (I’m a little embarrassed writing that knowing my mother reads this blog but, oh well! Keeping it real.)

Many couples can face conflict when each person speaks a different love language. It’s natural to show love the way that you feel loved, but that’s not always the best way to make your partner feel appreciated if they don’t share the same love language.

I kindly asked my husband to take “The 5 Love Languages” test (that guy, he’s a trouper, it took hardly any convincing!) and fortunately, and somewhat surprisingly, we share the same love language. We didn’t have the exact same results, but we both had top scores in Words of Affirmation, with Physical Touch as a close second. We are lucky in that the way we feel most loved is often how we show love, too. Nevertheless, it is helpful to be aware of that fact. As much as I desire loving words from my husband, he needs to hear kind, encouraging and positive words as well. And if I want to hold hands or cuddle, I shouldn’t be upset if he isn’t reading my mind—he actually may be waiting for me to make the first move!

Chapman explained the importance of knowing and understanding your love language best:

Knowing how you prefer to be loved is important for your relationship. It’s romantic to think your partner should just know how to love you—but it’s also a bit unrealistic, and can even be unfair to expect something from your partner if you’re not willing to tell him/her how you prefer to be loved and appreciated in your relationship.

Have you heard of “The 5 Love Languages” and do you know yours and/or your partner’s? If you take the quiz (for couples and for singles), I’d be interested to hear your results and reactions. Relationships can be hard and certainly take work, and I look at this as just another tool we can use to make sure we are being the best loving partners we can be.

(Top and bottom images from my wedding, taken by heidi-o-photo. Second image from my 5 Love Languages profile.)

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