James Michael Sama explains that great relationships require an understanding of what makes us feel loved. Here’s your guide.
One of the best, but perhaps most challenging things about love, is that each of us feel, express, and experience it differently. Perhaps this is why it is such a difficult emotion to explain, because of how subjective it can be.
What this teaches us is that the person we end up with may not feel or express love in the same way(s) that we do. This, among many other reasons, is why communication is so essential to building a happy relationship. Without knowing how one another experiences love, how can you show it to them in a way they will understand?
If your ‘love language’ is different than theirs is, then we can easily reach the conclusion that while you may be showing them love in your way, they will not actually be feeling it, because it is not their way.
This leads me to a subject called The 5 Love Languages. The 5 love languages is a book by Gary Chapman, which illustrates the five different ways that people experience love. Before I go any further, I want to just say that I am in no way affiliated with Gary Chapman or the book – I just think it is a valuable topic to discuss.
Allow me to give an example: You are dating someone new whose primary love language is touch, meaning that they most deeply experience love through physical contact, whether it be hand-holding or otherwise. Meanwhile, your love language is words of affirmation. You show your love to others by expressing it verbally.
At first, this may all seem great. But over time, what may happen is that you verbally express your love more than you do physically. Your partner hears words, but sees no actions to back them up. This could make them doubt your feelings towards them or make them feel unappreciated.
Before we go any further, let us explore what the five love languages actually are, so you can identify which of them you can relate to. You can relate to more than one, but odds are that one of them will be the most true for you:
Words of affirmation.
Words of affirmation are important when expressing your appreciation, regardless of how small the thing is that someone has done for you. Some people, though, are less verbally expressive and may communicate using one of the other love languages. Their idea of reciprocating what you do may be through acts of service, or receiving gifts – so they will do things for you or give you a token of their appreciation.
But, if you do not feel love in this language, you will eventually begin to wonder if they appreciate you and everything you do for them. This is why it is important to not only express your appreciation verbally, but to communicate to your significant other how you best feel love.
Acts of service.
Segueing directly into a virtual opposite of the previous point, we reach acts of service, which could essentially be taken as actions speak louder than words. For some, words mean nothing without actions to back them up. In fact – this rings true for many people, as words without actions are essentially meaningless.
However, regardless of how many gifts you buy or how many times you tell someone you appreciate them – if their love language is acts of service, unless you actually get up and do things for them in return, they will not feel your love.
Gifts do not have to be elaborate items. They can be small, thoughtful gestures like picking up your partner’s favorite candy when you see it at the convenience store, or picking up flowers for no reason. For some people, this is how they both show and feel love most deeply – by giving to (or receiving from) others. No matter how small they may be.
The only thing we can never get more of, and that we all have an equal amount of, is time. For those whose primary love language is time, putting your phone down and giving them your undivided attention is what’s going to mean the most.
Don’t half-listen to the TV in the background. Don’t scroll through your newsfeed during dinner. Hell, don’t even finish reading this article if you’re with someone whose primary love language is quality time – because they understand the time you spend with them is more valuable than the money you spend on them. More money can be made, more time cannot.
I personally relate to this one, possibly the most (along with words of affirmation). For me, any small touch reverberates through my heart. It doesn’t matter if it is my girlfriend holding my hand walking through a store or resting her head on my shoulder – any sort of physical contact is what really shows love to me.
These love languages are a great way to help you define and communicate how you feel love. They are also a great way to teach us how to express our love to our partner in a way we are sure they will understand. Before any of this is possible, though, we need to have a conversation with him or her to define which language(s) they can best relate to. Then, we have to put in the effort to make sure we ‘speak’ to them properly.
The term ‘love language’ is no mistake. Consider sitting in a room with someone who speaks a foreign language and attempting to communicate. You may get a few things across, but they are not going to fully understand what you’re saying. In order to get through to them, you are going to have to learn the nuances of their language – and vice versa. The same goes for love.
What is your love language? Do you relate to more than one? Let me know in the comments!
Originally appeared at JamesMSama.com
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