Maybe you’re dealing with a seriously rough patch in your relationship – your arguments with your partner are ongoing without any end in sight. Or maybe you’re unhappily single because you clash with just about every person you meet. If you’re vigorously shaking your head yes to either of these scenarios, it might be worth looking into your love language.
The concept of your ‘love language’ was coined by marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman via his New York Times Bestseller, The Five Love Languages. Through his 30 years of counseling, Dr. Chapman discovered a pattern that more or less sums up five different ways that partners communicate. Being mindful of the different ways in which you and your partner (or potential partner) express emotional love should alleviate the tension and cloudiness that make up your relationship woes. In turn, it will also teach you a lot about yourself.
According to Dr. Chapman, here are five ways that human beings express and understand emotional love:
1. Receiving gifts
I’m not saying that you need to be spending each paycheck lavishing your partner. I’m also not saying that these types of people are materialistic. But even the simplest of gestures (such as a card or flowers) goes a long way in feeling appreciated for those who speak this love language.
2. Words of affirmation
Compliments and “I love you’s” will really help you get closer to this speaker. In turn, negative remarks will hurt them deeply—so choose your words wisely and don’t say something you’ll end up regretting.
3. Quality time
People who speak the love language of quality time need plenty of undivided time and attention from their partner in order to feel loved (goodbye long distance relationships). If you’re postponing dinner dates because “something came up” or you’d rather watch the Knicks game with your buddies, well, good luck with that.
4. Acts of service
Actions speak louder than words for people who speak this love language. If you’re fixing that annoying leak in her bathroom that she’s been meaning to call a plumber about, improving your bad habits that she’s called you out on or tidying up her place because she’s too exhausted—you’re planting some beautiful seeds for your relationship. And yes, she will take notice.
5. Physical touch
We’re not just talking about in the bedroom (although that could really help). But whether it’s hand-holding, a shoulder massage after a long day or PDA—your mate will feel affection and comfort through physical touch.
When you know your partner’s love language, the easier it is to empathize about where they’re coming from and how to cater to his or her needs and vice versa. And if you’re struggling with finding Mr. or Ms. Right, you can hopefully find some clarity in the types of people who will be better suited for you.