The Five Languages of Love: How to unlock the potential of your relationship to the next level
I have been living with my better half for more than five years now.
As other couples who live together would tell you, a peaceful home is made of a sense of shared responsibility in running and maintaining the household. My better half is largely responsible for the chores — laundry, dishes, and the like — while I maintained our budget, pay bills on time, and other things that require my project management skills. Like our upcoming wedding.
But once in a while, the better half will fire up the kitchen, slicing and chopping, often with a glass of wine in hand, preparing a meal for us.
He is such a whiz in kitchen. Whenever he does something like this for me — cooking a delicious meal, or tidying up my mess (which happens way too often) — I often feel…. very loved.
(And I love him even more when he even do up the dishes after we finished a meal he cooked. I mean, all I did was to curl up on the sofa waiting, eat when the meal is ready, and then back to being a total couch potato. Then I’ll post pics like this onto my Instagram with the hashtag #luckybastard, because that’s who I am)
So I often do things for him to show how much he means to me in our relationship. Organising surprise birthday gatherings. Buying stuffs that I know he will like. Doing grocery runs without being asked to.
I mean, that’s how you tell someone you love him too, right?
So imagine my surprise with his answer when I asked him about what are the moments that he felt most loved in our relationship. He said he feels most loved when we cuddle as we watch television, hug goodbye every morning as we go to work, or when he always tickle me in bed while I was trying to read a book before sleeping (I hated that).
What about when I did the groceries, and took care of the occasional laundry run?, I asked.
I was flummoxed. I wrote it off as one of those thing you learn when you are in a relationship, but I couldn’t help this nagging feeling there is something that I do not understand here.
Turns out, there is.
A friend told me about this theory of relationship, called the 5 Languages of Love. It is a framework to describe how each of us value a certain language as being the most important to us, while the rest are less important, or not important at all. These languages are:
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Physical touch
There are many articles outlining what each of this means. Just check out women’s magazines, or (probably) its official website. But I found this meme to be the most on-point and easy to remember (as well as funny as hell).
Here’s a revelation. Of these five, I value act of service the most. I think when you love someone, you do things for them. That’s why I feel most loved whenever the better half cook up meals for me. And I show him my love by organising birthday parties and surprise grocery/laundry runs.
What I don’t value is physical touch. It’s annoying when you are trying to watch a show or read a book, and your better half tries to cuddle up to you. I know this is expected of couple, and I often feel guilty for not liking it as much as others seem to.
Turns out, the better half’s first language of love is…. physical touch. I was half-surprised, half-relieved when I found out. But now it makes sense to me why he always like to cuddle up before we sleep, or when watching TV shows.
The act of physical touch — cuddling, tickling, holding hands — is important to him.
This revelation is a moment of insight to both of us, for our relationship. Here’s what I have learned.
Know your most important language of love
This is part of getting to know yourself, on what matters most to you in your relationship. It is equally important for your partner to know this too. Your partner would then recognise your primary act of love, and respond in a way you would appreciate.
Know which is important to him/her
Just like how your partner know what your primary language of love is, know what is important to your partner. In my case, I know physical touches are important to my better half. I might not be a big fan of it, but I learned to enjoy the moments we have together, because I know it is important to him. This is my way of reacting to him in a way I know he would appreciate.
Appreciate the act of love language that you do for each other.
When your primary language of love does not match with your partner’s, then you need to recognise when your partner is showing his/her love through his primary language. You may also respond in his/her primary language because your action would be much more appreciated this way.
Make peace with the parts that is not your love language.
Just like how I know physical intimacy is not my thing, but it is for my better half. I have learned to be at peace with that…. most of the time.
Understanding the language of love of your partner and yourself is but the first step in building a better relationship. Acting on that understanding is key to realising the potential in your relationship:
- Showing your love in your partner’s primary language of love
- Recognising your partner’s act of love when it is done through his/her primary language of love
- If your primary language of love differs, learn to reconcile them
Take the first step today. What is your primary language of love?
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