If you’ve been waiting forever to hear those magical words, “I love you,” but instead your partner keeps saying things like, “Guess what? I changed your spark plugs,” fret not. Sure, Mr. Fix-it loves you. He’s just speaking a different “love language,” a concept made famous by Dr. Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.
A love language is exactly what it sounds like: the way you communicate to show that you love someone. For some people, that indeed is saying, point-blank, “I love you.” But other people stumble over the L-word and show their love rather than say it. You need to know your own love language, as well as that of your partner, to be able to communicate effectively, notes Lesli Doares, host of the podcast Happily Ever After Is Just the Beginning. “When you speak in their love language, they can really ‘hear’ you and feel that they matter,” she said in an interview with The List.
Here’s how to figure out your love language — and the one your partner is “speaking.” It just may help your relationship last a lifetime.
The 5 different love languages
If your way of expressing love is to whisper sweet nothings in his or her ear — or if you tend to give out compliments — then your language is “words of affirmation,” per Dr. Chapman. The other love languages are all about showing rather than telling someone how you feel. Helping fix your car or bake a cake translates to “acts of service.” Huggers and kissers speak the language of “physical touch.” If you tend to give special gifts just because, you speak the love language of “receiving gifts.” Finally, there’s the “quality time” love language speakers — they just wanna hang out.
Once you understand what your language is and compare it to your partner’s language, you might start to understand patterns in disagreements you’re having. Suddenly, “You didn’t take out the garbage!” becomes, “You don’t love me!” to the acts of service speaker. And, “You hate my new haircut” means, “I need you to tell me you think I’m pretty” to the lover who needs words of affirmation.
“Shift the perception of why the person is not showing you the ‘right’ love to becoming curious about how to learn to better communicate your needs,” licensed psychologist Jennifer Rhodes told Elite Daily. She added, “When conflict arises, it is time to ask the question, ‘How do you feel most loved?’ and be prepared to listen.”
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