What's important to your loved one, and you?
A few years back, I read a book called the '5 Love Languages' by Gary Chapman. A fascinating book whether you are in a relationship or single, and it's stuck with me ever since. It's almost a bit of a game changer.
The basis is that there are 5 love languages, and we each have our individual primary and secondary love language. That doesn't mean to say that we don't do any of the other 3 or that if they're different to our partners that it won't work, but what it does do is bring clarity on how well we get along with and understand the other person.
The five love languages:
1. Words of Affirmation
Someone saying 'I love you', or generally praising or giving compliments means a great deal to you. You appreciate kind and encouraging words. Insults would stick and be hard to forget.
2. Acts of Service
Help with chores around the house, or having someone do something for you speaks wonders. Laziness and not helping around the house could feel you are not loved or cared for.
3. Receiving Gifts
Different from being materialistic, by a little surprise gift or thoughtful gift picked up during a normal day speaks love. A missed birthday/anniversary or a gift given that appears to have not thought gone into it is quite upsetting to you.
4. Quality Time
Time spent together, but most importantly, undivided attention - that means turning on the TV and having a conversation, not using a mobile phone during conversation, show you that the other person truly cares. Distractions, postponed dates, or someone not listening can be hurtful.
5. Personal Touch
Holding hands, a hug, an affectionate touch, a little kiss, this says to you that someone really cares for you and loves you. For someone to be physically close and accessible is important. Neglect and abuse are unforgivable.
For example, my personal love language could be quality time and if I'm dating and someone doesn't push to suggest another date to see me, or if I feel I'm always the one suggesting dates, then I may think they're not really interested and don't care. When potentially they're quite relaxed about that, they know I'll suggest to them when I'm free. Their love language could be words of affirmation and if I'm not forthcoming with compliments, to them, I may not be confirming that I appreciate them or care for them.
Or, perhaps you're in a relationship and your primary love language is personal touch. Your partner isn't very affectionate, won't instigate taking your hand when out walking for example, and you feel maybe they don't really care. Their primary love language is acts of service, they feel they are busting a gut around the home and garden, but it seems to be unappreciated and unnoticed, it feels to them they don't get any help towards it or anything done in return.
Can you see how having different primary love languages can affect the relationship or the way the other person feels. Also how it's worth discovering and taking into account your own love language and that of you loved one. This also goes for friends and family and how we interact and appreciate them too.
When dating or in a relationship I think it's good to be aware of the other person's love language. You can generally figure out what's important to them by the way they are; perhaps they compliment you often, buy you a random thoughtful gift, offer to pick you up despite it being out the way, give you an affectionate tough on the hand or arm, or are forth coming with wanting to see you and show they are listening. As mentioned previously, we obviously want to still show a variety of the 5 love languages, but by being conscious and aware of speaking the language important to the other person will help them feel appreciated by you and more connected to you. That's a good basis for a relationship and for understanding how the other person feels loved and cared for.
What do you think your primary love language is? You can always visit www.5lovelanguages.com and take the online test. Perhaps it could even be a great discussion to have with a partner?