You might have heard of Gary Chapman’s universally-popular book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.
The 5 love languages are:
1. Physical touch
2. Gift giving
3. Quality time
4. Acts of service
5. Words of affirmation
Most of us desire all of them, but typically, one or two may be stronger than the rest. For instance - You may appreciate thoughtful gifts, but quality time means a greater deal to you.
Importance of Understanding the Love Languages
Understanding what makes both of you tick fosters a more emotionally connected relationship. The guess work that goes into deciphering your partner's preferences and needs is taken away.
Here's an example.
Let’s say your partner is big on gift giving. She craves the excitement of receiving new, special things.
On the other hand, you are a frugal person. Your partner may voice out dissatisfaction when she does not receive gifts and small surprises every now and then, making you feel financially pressured.
If you had known your partner's dominant love language is gift giving right from the start, you would have been able to manage her expectations or worked out a way to support regular gift purchases without this becoming a kink in your relationship.
What are your Love Languages?
To know which are your and your partner's love languages, take this test to find out.
How to Apply the Love Languages to your Relationship
I have made a quick list of fast, actionable ways you can apply the love languages to your relationship. For a more comprehensive plan, crystallise your own learnings from the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.
I can assure you, all that hard work and effort you put in will bear fruition!
Always hold hands: Holding hands is one of the most common ways couples connect skin to skin in public, but this simple gesture may easily be forgotten or is less practiced when the relationship has matured beyond the butterflies-in-my-belly stage or when kids come into the picture.
Find time to hold hands and interlock fingers, at the mall or waiting in line for food at restaurants. It is amazing what emotions and nostalgia an ordinary act like holding hands can stir up.
Be spontaneous: Sneak in a peck on the mouth or a little squeeze of the waist without being asked to or hinted at. Fun affection can never go wrong.
Establish a routine: A bedtime kiss. Morning spooning. Before-leaving-for-work hug. Turn that into a habit when you do it often enough, at a designated time of the day.
Be observant: Start to notice what your partner eyes when they are out. Or dig information regarding what they recently like or want.
If it is a low-value item, present it on a dull normal day to break the normalcy or drudgery of everyday life. If it comes with a hefty price tag, gift it on a special occasion when your partner could be secretly wishing to be delighted by you.
Your partner will be stoked to know you are so attentive and understand them so well.
Make it unexpected: The trick is to wait for the opportune moment to gift so it is an unforgettable surprise. This makes the gift sweeter and more thoughtful, not to mention, creates fond memories and experiences that your partner will remember for a long time.
Grow your savings: If it is an expensive item that your partner fancies, start a savings goal. Set aside a certain percentage of your disposable income every month until you are well able to afford it.
At the same time, it doesn't hurt to do some research on where you can get the item at a wholesale rate or for some discount your credit card is eligible for.
Seek common interests: Time spent is considered of high quality when it is something both you and your partner are engaged or interested in.
Evaluate the hobbies you both share and activities you enjoy partaking in. For instance if both of you are athletic, take up a new sports or sign up for a marathon together.
Sometimes two people may just not have a shared interest. Find ways that allow both of you to spend time together and encourage interaction like eating at new hole in the wall restaurants or exploring new places in town.
Make time: I get it, sometimes you are so worn out by work and crazy little annoyances that pepper your personal time that you just want to have a little zen and be alone. Do not shut yourself off.
Instead, find out what your significant other may be doing and ask if you can be a part of it. That saves you the mental burden of having to plan an activity for both of you to do yet fosters meaningful time together.
Acts of service:
Doing something they could do: Acts of service do not necessarily have to be grand. They could be the smallest task or errand your partner dislikes doing (but has to do anyway), like washing the car or taking out the trash.
The littlest gesture can be just as moving as big ones. Don't forget, the point is to make your significant other feel cared for.
Go the extra mile: Once in a while, make your act of service really stand out when you say you are going to do something for your partner, follow through and over-deliver.
Like if you promise your partner to bring her damaged heels to the cobbler's to get them fixed, make sure they are restored to good condition and give them a damn good polishing while you're at it.
Make it a mantra to live up to your promise and go further where possible. On the flipside, under-delivering will just erode any trust your partner has in you and deduct all the brownie points you'd painstakingly accumulated over time!
Words of affirmation:
Be truthful: Your significant other would appreciate your honesty when the rest of the world seems to have put a filter on their words and thoughts.
This is a way to build trust and dependency; when you know that your partner can be counted on to reflect the truth of matters as clearly as a mirror.
Go further than sweet talk: When you pay a compliment, make sure it's not the usual "honey you look gorgeous today". Be sincere and tell your partner what they want to hear.
Like if you know she has put a lot of thought into dressing up for your anniversary dinner you should express appreciation for her effort and go a step further by saying why you like it, "This is my favourite dress on you, and it complements so well the new headpiece you've picked to go along with it."
Your partner would feel that your words are genuine and not as though you said a praise just to make them feel good about it.
It is essential to understand the 5 love languages and know which ones uniquely apply to you and your partner. Then you can both work on fulfilling each others' needs and make each other feel cared for and adequately loved at every point of your relationship.
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.