To build strong relationships, you need to fill your partner’s emotional ‘love bank’.
Do you want to find your soul mate? It’s complicated. You could jump into the try and fail method. The office romance rarely works well, and the Bachelor only gives you a 1 in 25 chance of finding love.
With today’s technology, it seems there’s got to be a way of finding your forever partner and red flagging the ones you should avoid.
If only potential partners had a downloadable chip or a QR code? On a date, your phone could scan them while you’re enjoying coffee. Let the app calculate the odds of them being a match, and if they don’t meet expectations, then all you’re out is coffee just before your escape.
Gary Chapman wrote a book called Love Languages. It defines more than the languages of love; it defines people. He writes that the language of love falls into five categories: Acts of service, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation and gifts.
Acts of service – These people feel loved by doing things for them. Perhaps that might be repairing something, gardening, or building something. They demonstrate love the same way.
Pros – If you’re handy at fixing things, building things, basically rescuing a person from their struggling situations this kind of lover might be for you.
Cons – This need for service doesn’t go away. You might exhaust yourself ‘fixing’ things. Emotionally repairing an individual can be exhausting. Be sure you have the stamina and perseverance. One other negative is that women who begin as acts of service lovers, often outgrow this type of relationship which can leave you without a job description.
Quality time – These people feel loved by spending time with them. Doing something with a group or others doesn’t count. Quality time means one-on-one time.
Pros – You don’t have to spend money on this type of personality. They’re not impressed by expensive gifts or gallant gestures. What they will cost you is your time. They’re easily pleased with simple pleasures.
Cons – They can easily feel neglected. Flowers won’t make up for missing a time you were supposed to spend together. Don’t show up in an expensive car, or book a fancy restaurant. Diamonds don’t impress this type. You’ll have to bring your A game by digging deeper. Plan a sunrise breakfast where you cooked or planned the food. They want to know that you spent time thinking about them and that the date is something specific to them.
Physical Touch – These people experience love through touch. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not necessarily more often with men than with women.
Pros – Handholding, a quick kiss, making love, skin to skin touching is their language that says I matter, you love me. If you are an affectionate person, this demonstration of love can work for you.
Cons – You might be tempted to get into a relationship through physical touch first and miss out on the rest of their talents. After the sex, there isn’t much else if you don’t handle this relationship carefully.
Words of Affirmation – Words are powerful for these people. Praise and acknowledgment are their life blood.
Pros – They don’t require expensive gifts, fancy meals, or even long lengthy chunks of time. They make great partners if you’re holding up your end of the affirmations. Cards, love notes, texting screams love to them.
Cons – If you’re not good at giving quality praise, you’ll suffer in this relationship. Be careful of shallow praise, they’ll see right through it. You’ll have to learn to pay attention to things worthy of praising. They never get tired of hearing a positive confirmation, so you need to never stop finding words to show your love.
Gifts – These people feel loved best when they receive gifts. For them, they equate their worth with gifts.
Pros – If you don’t have time to spend in a relationship, don’t like to continually praise someone, want a long distance relationship, and have a ready supply of gifts and money, this might be the relationship for you.
Cons – Don’t fall into the trap of one-upping your gift giving, if you’re in for a long term relationship, you could be in for some very expensive gift giving. Start very, very small and build in minor increments or you may go broke.
Most people have a primary and a secondary love language. First figure out what you are by taking the love language test, then figure out what your significant other’s language is. Once you know what makes them feel loved, you can focus on loving them their way. Understanding what makes them feel treasured and respected, you’ll also better understand why they react negatively to some situations.
To build strong relationships, you need to fill your partner’s emotional ‘love bank’. One of the best techniques to measure the account is the author’s question, “On a scale of one to ten, ten being the best, how full is your love bucket?” Once the question has been asked, if it’s not ten, ask, “What could I do for it to be a ten?” This opens the lines of communication, and forces abstract emotions to a concrete ‘to do’ list.
We all need help from time to time, but understanding the languages of love will give you the edge you need to fill up the depository.
Photo: Flickr/ Mark Hooper