The Five Love Languages
So there is this book that you may have heard of. It’s called The 5 Love Languages and was written by Gary Chapman. The idea of the book is to learn how you (and your partner) both give and receive love to one another. Mr. Chapman has identified what he calls the five love languages. And here they are in a nutshell:
1. Words of Affirmation, Verbal Compliments, Words of Appreciation
2. Quality Time, Giving/Receiving one’s undivided attention
3. Receiving Gifts, big gifts, small gifts or anything in between
4. Acts of Service, Doing things you know someone would like you to do
5. Physical Touch, Holding Hands, Kissing, Intercourse, PDA
Now, we all have a primary love language and if you are interested in finding out yours, you can check out Mr. Chapman’s website (https://www.5lovelanguages.com/). The quizzes and material on his page are super user-friendly and quite insightful.
So while it’s important and helpful to know how we each best give and receive love, it is also extremely important to recognize that we have wants and needs in EACH of the five love languages.
Let’s say, for example, that your last love language is listed as gifts but as you go through determining your wants and needs in each language, you realize that you don’t care about presents EXCEPT on your birthday. And on your birthday, there better be some presents (and maybe a cake) or there will be hell to pay. That’s important information for everyone in your life.
Sometimes people struggle with the idea of putting their wants and needs down on paper. People sometimes feel like they are being selfish or entitled or a billion other negative words. But here’s the deal. We all have wants and we all have needs. It is way more effective to be aware of what these things are and be able to determine where the deal breakers lie.
Now ideally, each person would review these love languages and figure out what his/her preferences are in a perfect world. This should be done alone and totally outside of any partner or partners. This is just what YOU want and has nothing to do with what anyone else is willing/able to give.
For example, do you want five text messages a day? How often do you want to have sex? Who does the dishes? How often do you want flowers? Do you need a certain amount of alone time? Do you need a certain amount of face-to-face-technology-free time? And so on and so on.
The better you know what you want, the easier it is to convey this to your partner. And the better your partner knows what he or she wants, the easier it is for it to be conveyed back to you.
THEN, after everyone knows what they want, it’s time to sit down and discuss with your partner. Odds are your wants and needs will not be in total alignment. And that is totally ok and totally normal. All it really means is that now you have the opportunity to start to shift through this stuff and see how each of you can help meet the other’s needs.
So what happens if your partner refuses to meet your needs in any way? What if you simply cannot come to a common ground on something? This may be a deal breaker and this may mean that the relationship may not be sustainable. But if both partners are willing to make the effort to meet the other’s needs and both are willing to keep at it, I have the utmost faith and confidence that the relationship is salvageable. And if both partners are willing to work at it, it is likely worth the work.
See, your partners wants and needs should be important to you and your wants and needs should be important to your partner. Both partners are hopefully willing to put in the time and effort to sort through this stuff so that both people can feel connected, happy, and loved. Because you, yes YOU deserve to feel loved.