My husband and I have different love languages.
His is “Acts of Service,” and mine is “Touch.” Well, I’m guessing. I have asked him to take the love language test online.
“I’m not doing that stupid shit!” he answered.
Well, ok, then. I’ve taken the book out of the library and even showed him passages early on in our marriage, trying to engage him to no avail.
But I’ve been married long enough to know he shows he cares by doing something for me. Maybe he cleans the kitchen floor, makes dinner, or tidies the yard. He may follow that with “Quality time.”
“Let’s go for a drive,” he might suggest on a Sunday. “Ignore the house. It’s fine!” he’d insist.
I think it’s not “fine” at all, yet I’d acquiesce to keep the peace.
The problem is that I was trapped in a car, going nowhere I wanted to go. The music differs from what I’d like to listen to, and he’s dictating every facet of the day without listening to me.
“We’ll go to that place….,” and he’d never ask me what I’d want.
Not, “what would you like to do, hon?”
I’d like to be hugged like you mean it. Caressed softly without a sexual agenda. I’d like praise.
What he doesn’t do is everything I’d want:
“Words of affirmation.”
You don’t have to have the same love language to get along. BUT you do have to be willing to speak in their love language to make them feel loved.
His love language was as fixed and immovable as he was. He’d never try to meet me halfway with tender words or touch or gifts. “You’re immature and too needy!” when I’d complain that I’d like some words of praise or encouragement.
“Act like an adult!” he’d admonish.
Being with someone with the same love language is easier, of course.
My affair partner needs touch like I do. But, unfortunately, we are both touch starved in our marriages. We have partners that don’t sit near us, don’t cuddle, don’t spoon in bed, and avoid all physical contact.
Understanding my lover was simple. He also needs “words of affirmation” and “gifts” to feel seen and loved. Those are mine as well.
What are my bottom two?
“Acts of Service” and “Quality Time.”
Yup. The opposite of my hubby.
You need to be in the same ballpark. So, for example, if your top language is touch, and his bottom language is touch, then it likely will cause friction. Duh. And lead you to sex out of network, as it did for me.
It makes perfect sense that we have ZERO romantic chemistry. And we haven’t been intimate in a decade.
IF I was with someone curious enough to please me, they might adapt their love language if we didn’t share the same ones.
But I’m not.
Love languages have to be compatible for both giving and receiving. So you need to know how to “deliver” love in a way they best understand and also be in tune with how you accept the love they show to you.
My husband shows his love with “acts of service” that I haven’t asked for, don’t care about, and let alone wanted. “Gee, thanks for being a good homeowner and taking care of the stuff you should be doing anyways….” I think.
There isn’t an “act of service” I appreciate. It’s like if I bought him a gift. He’d say, “I don’t need this. You wasted money.” I know better than to buy him gifts. He doesn’t care about presents. “I have everything I need,” he’d reply.
But I don’t.
I need touch.
Relationships aren’t formulaic. Love languages only sometimes work. There’s more overlap than what Gary Chapman suggested in his original book. Still, it does have some valuable tips for communication in relationships.
Do you need the same love language as your lover? It helps, I’ll argue. Having opposite love languages makes it harder to get through to each other. On the other hand, having the same makes love easier.
It just “feels right” being together.
So when my lover is stroking my skin in lazy circles, tracing the bottom of my back or waist with his hands, I feel all is right with the world.
He loves me. He desires me. He shows me he cares.
I know it deep in my soul.
No book told me.
Previously Published on Medium