What happens to love after you have been in a relationship for a while? What happens to love after you get married? The desire for romantic love in marriage is deeply rooted in our psychological makeup. There are thousands of books on this subject. On television, radio, the internet and movies, we see people in search for love. Keeping the love alive is a big deal! But even with all of the help, we are still struggling to keep love alive. So, what is going on? It turns out that people speak different languages when it comes to love. Gary Chapman, the author of the New York Best Seller Book, “The 5 Love Languages,” Explains that we all speak different languages when it comes to love. Here is how it works:
- Most of us grew up learning the language of our parents and siblings, which becomes our primary tongue. Later we learn different, additional languages, these become secondary languages.
- We speak best our native language; we are most comfortable with our native language. The more we practice the secondary language, the more confortable we become communicating in this language.
- If we only speak our native language, and we meet someone else who speaks only his or her primary language, which is very different from ours, our communication will be limited. We then rely on gesturing, pointing to things and so on.
- In the area of love, it is very similar. Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English.
Therefore, we must be willing to learn our partner’s primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love.
- The reality is that we are very different, unique human beings. We come from different cultures, and seldom a husband and wife will have the same primary love language.
- We speak our primary love language, but our partners are confused and don’t understand what we are trying to communicate.
- We express love, but the message does not come through.
- That is because we are speaking completely different languages.
So here are the love languages described by Gary Chapman.
- Giving verbal compliments is one way to express words of affirmation to your partner. Another way to use words of affirmation is by using encouraging words.
- Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouse’s perspective. You focus on understanding what is important to your spouse and you put yourself in his or hers shoes.
- A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. Togetherness has to do with focused attention. It means we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person.
- Quality time can mean spending time together sharing quality conversation. That is sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. If a spouse’s primary love language is quality time, such dialogue is crucial to his or her emotional sense of being loved.
Practical tips when developing the art of listening:
1. Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking.
2. Don’t listen to your spouse and do something else at the same time.
3. Listen for the “feelings.”
4. Observe body language.
5. Refuse to interrupt.
Love Language #3: Receiving Gifts – A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.” You must be thinking of someone to give him a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of him.
- If you discover that your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts, then perhaps you will understand that purchasing gifts for him or her is the best investment you can make.
Love Language #4: Acts of Service – Doing things you know your spouse would like you to do. Such actions as cooking a meal, setting a table, washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, getting hairs out of the sink, getting bugs off the windshield, taking out the garbage, changing the baby’s diaper, painting a bedroom, dusting the bookcase, keeping the car in operating condition, washing or vacuuming the car, cleaning the garage, mowing the grass, trimming the shrubs, dusting the blinds, and changing the cat’s litter box are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy.
Love Language #5: Physical Touch– Physical touch is a powerful vehicle for communicating marital love. Holding hands, kissing, embracing, and sexual intercourse are all ways of communicating emotional love to one’s partner.
You can discover your love languages by answering the following questions:
1. What does your partner do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.
2. What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.
3. In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that would also make you feel loved.
Also, you can go to www.5lovelanguages.com to take a quick test to find your love languages.
References: Chapman, G. (2010). The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Northfield Publishing. Chicago, Il.
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