By Melodie Veldhuizen
You don’t doubt your love for one another, yet you often feel unloved and therefore discontented. This is because people experience love in different ways and why your loved one doesn’t experience the way in which you show you care, as love.
In his book, Five languages of love, Gary Chapman, an expert in the field of relationships and marriage, distinguishes the following love languages: constructive words, quality time, gifts, servitude and physical touch.
- Constructive words: This means compliments for specific things you find attractive and sincere words of thanks for specific things your partner does which you appreciate. Encouraging words confirm that you believe in your partner’s ability, that you care and support him or her. If you communicate love verbally, use friendly words in a friendly tone of voice. Guard against destructive criticism. Do it verbally, or with a friendly letter or WhatsApp.
- Quality time is about togetherness, with focused attention. Do things together, with undivided attention – go out for dinner, look into each other’s eyes, talk to each other. Go for long walks. Enjoy each other’s presence without the interruption of cell phones or kids who demand your immediate attention. When your partner tells you something, listen attentively and also hear the emotion behind the words.
- Gifts represent the easiest of love languages. It need not necessarily cost you the earth. If you can afford expensive gifts, why not? But a hand-made gift or card, or a flower from the garden will always melt her heart. There is also the gift of your physical presence, especially in a time of crisis or when he/she is unwell. The most important is that what you give, you do whole-heartedly and enthusiastically. Always remember special occasions such as your wedding anniversary and your partner’s birthday.
- Servitude is to do things for her such as preparing meals, washing the dishes, performing other household chores, or helping take care of the kids. Offer to help you husband in the garden or to wash the car. The magic words are always: “I’ll help you”. Other things, such as sometimes surprising your partner with breakfast in bed, is also a sign of servitude. Do it without complaint.
- Physical touch: This language is exclusively non-verbal. Loving touch can be explicit and require your full attention as well as time, such as a shoulder or back massage. It can also be implicit and only ask a minute of your time in passing – a hand on his shoulder while making tea, or stroking her hair when walking by. To sit close together and hold hands while watching TV, is precious to a person for whom physical touch is important. A hug and a kiss, timely and untimely, will make your partner blossom. And to hold her close in times of crisis provides more comfort than empty words.
How to determine each other’s primary love language
- What does your partner do (or not) that hurts you the most? The opposite probably is your love language.
- What did you ask from your partner the most in the past, or still ask regularly? This probably makes you feel that he/she loves you.
- How do you show your partner love? This probably is your own love language.
Write it down, as well as the other four love languages in order of importance. Share this information with each other – in this way you get to know each other’s needs.
If you are still unsure about what your primary and secondary love languages are, complete the questionnaire at https://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/couples/.
This knowledge will not necessarily make it easier to deviate from years’ way of doing things. What your partner expects from you, might probably not be the way in which you would like to do things. But remember, it is a choice that you execute every day. If you know your life partner’s primary love language and choose to speak it, you will satisfy your deepest emotional needs and both of you will feel safe and loved.
Chapman, Gary. 2003. Vyf tale van die liefde. CUM.
The 5 love languages. https://www.5lovelanguages.com/