Even though researchers proved false the old statistic about half of all marriages ending in divorce, the fact remains that many people feel unfulfilled in their romantic relationships. Sometimes, irreconcilable differences do arise, but other times, love life conflicts stem from miscommunication.
Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, asserts that feeling unloved occurs when romantic partners speak different love languages. By learning about their partner’s style, people can find greater satisfaction in their relationships. What happens when partners speak completely different languages — is their relationship doomed or can they overcome getting lost in translation?
Take the Time to Learn About Love Languages
The first step to improving the communication between partners involves discovering what love languages they speak. Those wishing to learn which love languages they prefer using can find a bounty of free online tests available — they’re actually pretty fun!
The quiz weighs different ways people show they care in order of importance. Once a person discovers which type of actions make them feel most loved, they can communicate this with their boo.
The five love languages are:
- Quality time. People who value this language most appreciate spending time with their partner. They adore things like picnics in the park where they have uninterrupted time with the one they love. Prioritizing work and going out with friends over spending time together makes them feel unloved.
- Acts of service. People who score high in this language love nothing better than when their partner lends them a helping hand. They give mad bonus points when their sweetie tackles a task they particularly despise, such as laundry. Laziness, to them, equates to selfishness. Lounging on the couch all the time while they vacuum is a good way to go back to swiping on Tinder.
- Words of affirmation. Stevie Wonder sang about those who appreciate this language in “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” People who value words of affirmation live for praise, compliments or simple reassurances they are loved. Keeping mum and refusing to discuss emotions makes these folks feel neglected.
- Physical touch. Peeps who favor physical contact make the perfect mates to curl up with and cuddle. They adore it when their partner holds their hand in public, and greetings that don’t include a big hug baffle them. The touch need not necessarily involve s**, but relationships with those who shun physical demonstrations of emotion leave them hollow.
- Receiving gifts. OK, for real, who doesn’t like getting presents? Folks who value receiving gifts may not expect to find a ribbon-wrapped Beemer in the driveway on Christmas morning, but sending flowers to their office for no reason lights up their smile. Tokens of affection need not cost a dime, but still, the ‘Scroogier’ partners of the world may struggle when their partner speaks this language.
Have a Heart-to-Heart
Knowledge is half the battle, but it won’t win the war unless someone communicates what they’ve learned with the one they love. Pick a time to talk when both parties are relaxed and unhurried, maybe during dinner.
Try not to make the convo sound dire — the words “we need to talk” cause cold sweats and stomach butterflies. Frame the discussion in a positive way. After all, this chat is taking place because people want their relationship to work. Let them know this!
Share what was learned about your love language. People can even take the quiz together and compare results. This helps keep things lighthearted and upbeat.
Then, share some specific things your partner can do to invoke love. Those who value acts of service, for example, might appreciate the way their partner runs the recycling to the sorting center. Those who react best to quality time may cherish their standing Friday night movie date.
Keep the Momentum Going Forward
Sharing what makes someone tick romantically can make a relationship stronger, but making it last requires more commitment. When a person grows resentful or feels their partner doesn’t care, they should ask themselves if perhaps they’re showing affection in different ways.
Everyone has their own love language, which means that maybe they don’t say “I love you” out loud very often, but they make sure to change the oil in their loved one’s car every three months. When someone does something that’s intended to make another feel loved, show them some appreciation! Thank them for doing or saying thoughtful things, and be sure to reciprocate by doing something that makes them feel cherished.
Healthy Communication, Healthy Relationships
Everyone knows one couple that’s so different in nearly every way; people wonder how they clicked. Communication is the key — those who speak openly with their loved ones about their needs enjoy higher levels of satisfaction in their relationships. Find out how your partner says they care, and share with them the way they can make you feel special.