One reason why couples sometimes seek relationship counseling is because each member of the couple feels like they aren’t truly loved. For instance, a woman might be frustrated that her husband doesn’t hug her and brush against her arms as they cook together, while her partner might wish that she would be more verbally positive about his contributions around the house and at work.
Marriage counseling has often revealed that couples sometimes are each trying to express love to each other, but they are missing each other’s signals. It is as if they are speaking different languages. Gary Chapman, in his award-winning book The Five Love Languages, identified that there are at least five ways that people express and receive love:
- Words of Affirmation – Telling someone they look great or that they have done an amazing job. It can also involve just reminding them out loud how much you care.
- Acts of Service – Taking out the trash, putting the kids to bed, or making plans for the weekend can all be ways to serve each other. These things involve doing something that neither of you want to do in order to show how much your partner matters to you.
- Receiving Gifts – Physical items with a lot of thought behind them can be the way to convey affection: even things like a flower you saw and picked in the garden can be really special to someone with this love language.
- Quality Time – Putting down that cell phone and having a conversation or doing an activity together that doesn’t have either of you distracted is a good example for quality time. Sometimes nothing has to be happening, but good company is still valuable to someone with this language.
- Physical Touch – While many people immediately think of sex, which can definitely be a part of this language, it can also include everything from holding hands to hugging.
When seeking to improve a marriage, it makes sense to learn your partner’s top languages, not only which ones make you feel most loved or which one you tend to use to communicate.
If, for instance, you love your alone time but your partner needs quality time to feel loved, these languages give you a good reason to set aside special time for dates and speaking to each other one-on-one.
Working to convey how much you care in the way your partner most understands can put you on a path to relationship success. Want more information on making your marriage the best it can be? Contact us today.