Understanding this crucial ingredient of what matters and is most important to you – and also what’s most important to other significant people in your life is one of the keys to creating and maintaining a successful relationship.
Gary Chapman’s book and website ‘The Five Love Languages’ is an excellent resource which helps to explain the different needs that each of us requires in a relationship. Chapman describes five different types of needs that individuals will have in a relationship – and each person will have a unique make-up of those needs and what matters most to them.
The five needs are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
These are our core ‘love languages’. We will all have a preference for one or more of these languages. It’s almost as if we have a ‘love tank’ inside of us that needs to be kept at a certain level for us to feel whole when we’re in a relationship with another, especially when this is an intimate partnership.
Through his insights, Chapman guides couples in how to sustain a lasting, loving connection by helping people to identify, understand and speak to their partner’s primary love language, as well as recognising their own.
He explains that often conflicts arise when we don’t understand that the ways in which we most appreciate receiving love and showing love can be very different than our partner’s – yet not realising these fundamental differences can cause frustration and withdrawal within a relationship, as each person is not getting their basic needs met.
For example, if you are someone who appreciates deep conversation and you feel frustrated because you partner is less communicative, you may feel that he doesn’t love you. Yet if his way of expressing his love for you is through ‘acts of service’ – eg. making you things, cooking for you etc., then it’s just that you haven’t identified each other’s love languages and what you most need to feel loved and cherished.
Once you understand this, then you can identify how each of you likes to give and receive love and what you can do for each other in order to meet these needs. It may still mean that your partner is not the world’s greatest talker, but at least if they recognise that words and communication are important to you and make up your ‘primary love language’ then they can make some efforts to meet you on that level to keep your love tank filled up.
If their love language is quality time, you can likewise reciprocate by carving out more time together as a couple to enjoy shared experiences together.
By learning the five love languages, you can each discover your own unique love languages and learn practical steps of how you can demonstrate this in ways that will ensure that you both feel truly loved and appreciated.
On the 5 Love Languages Website, there is a free online test or a pdf of the love languages quiz that you and your partner can take to assess your own love language and a version of the test that you can take this if you are single and not in a relationship.
There’s also a test that you can take to assess what your child’s primary love language is. By understanding what makes them tick and the ways that they prefer to receive love, this will help you to nurture the parent-child bond and learn how to adapt your parenting style to ensure that you’re building the best possible connection between you if you’re aware of your child’s core needs.
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