Your partner shows love for you by cooking dinner on weeknights, while all you want is for him/her to tell you that you’re such a great parent. You buy your partner flowers, when he/she would rather spend an afternoon with you. Most of us don’t spend time thinking about how we all have different preferences for how we receive signs of love and affection from those we care about most.
Gary Chapman identified 5 Love Languages and argues that we all have a preference for how we would like our significant others to show their love for us. Not only can you learn how you prefer your partner to show signs of affection, you can also consider how to best show your love for them. Having increased understanding about preferences for both you and your partner sets you on a path for increased connection in your relationship.
Here are the 5 Love Languages, according to Gary Chapman:
Words of Affirmation: words of support, encouragement (e.g. “You’re such a strong person, you mean the world to me”)
Acts of Service: helping your partner out by doing things for them (e.g. changing the oil in your partner’s car, running an extra errand for your partner)
Receiving Gifts: purchasing something special for your partner (e.g. flowers, a new shirt)
Quality Time: spending meaningful time with your partner connecting and doing enjoyable activities (e.g. date nights, cooking a meal together)
Physical Touch: physical contact with each other (e.g. holding hands, hugging, kissing, back rubs, sex)
Which best describes you? Your partner? If you’re not sure, read the book, or complete the quiz on their website: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/couples/. Then, sit down and have a conversation with your partner about both of your preferences and how you can best show your love for that special person in your life.
Sara Kind-Michels, MS, LPC, LMFT
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