Want More Love in Your Life?
I mentioned a book called The Five Love Languages in an earlier post that I read years ago, and thinking back on how much I've utilized what I learned in it, I can easily conclude that it helped save my marriage. I'm all about an ounce of prevention, so I often read books on relationship and try as much as I can to foster communication with the hubs. Which isn't always easy considering that we have completely OPPOSITE love languages! Thank God for pheromones, am I right?
The Five Love Languages... what they heck are they?
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
What the heck does that mean?
It means that each of us has a love language that, when someone else "speaks" it makes us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. And sometimes on the outside. ;) If you want to deep dive on this, I highly recommend that both YOU AND YOUR PARNTER take this online quiz or download the PDF and learn what your main love languages are.
No time? No worries! I have a quick technique at the bottom of this blog where I explain how to figure out anyone's love language, which can be super helpful at work or when you're around your family. But for now, let me go into what each of the languages are. (source: 5lovelanguages.com)
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, "I love you," like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.
Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an "Acts of Service" person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: "Let me do that for you." Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don't matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.
Don't mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.
This language isn't all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.
Words of Affirmation
Actions don't always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, "I love you," are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.
Interesting, right? So, while you may think "all of these are me," you're sort of right, but one of them should stand head and shoulders above the rest and earn the top spot as your #1 Love Language, and when you're not receiving "lovin'" in that way, you will be one grouchy you-know-what.
How to apply what you learn
In the book, the author describes a love tank that needs filled up just like the tank of a car needs filled with gasoline. When you're running on fumes, there are a few warning signs like:
Irritability with your partner
Nitpicking about things that don't matter ("You put the glasses on the wrong rack in the dishwasher!")
Finding fault in the things you usually love about your partner
These are just a few examples, but if you were to take a step back and think back over your week, you might learn that your love tank is bone dry. Let's say you're a physical touch person but your partner isn't. If you can't remember the last time the two of you made out or had sex or held hands, that could be it! (I'm totally simplifying here for the sake of not writing my own book, but you get my drift.)
Asking for things from your partner is never easy, especially if it's a tender topic that you've fought about time and time again. After I read this topic, I hung a sign on the fridge of our house with a gas gauge on it. The hubs had a magnet and I had a magnet. If someone's love take was empty, we'd simply put our magnet on "E" to communicate what was going on. In his case that meant I'd better dredge up a compliment quick! (Words of Affirmation is one of his main love languages.)
To help you duplicate that and save yourself from silly (or serious) arguments, I made a printable for you below. Hang it on your fridge and use a magnet to mark how full your "love tank" is as a useful way to communicate with your partner.
Or, download the Bitmoji app on your phone, I HIGHLY recommend using one of these to communicate your rating. There are tons of options to choose from but these two illustrate what we're talking about perfectly. A quick check-in text is a fun, light-hearted way to let your partner know where you're at.
What if everyone's angry?
If you've fallen right down the loo and you're both on "E" or running on fumes, that's a problem. There's a simple solution to solving it, but it's not what most of us tend to do. When you're feeling under-appreciated and unloved it's almost impossible to give from your lack. But friends, that's exactly what you need to do.
If your partner's love language is gifts and you know he loves Reese's Cups with Reese's Pieces inside of them (yes, that's real), then you might stop by the gas station and pick up a package. If he's also words of affirmation, you might want to include a compliment. Something like:
"I like your butt."
(Men are simple.)
Swallowing your pride and doing something nice for someone else will make you feel better! You can deliver it transparently by saying something like:
"I know you've been feeling unloved lately, so I picked this up for you because I wanted you to know I that I love you."
Using this method with friends & coworkers
You don't only have to apply this to your love life. What about your friends and family members? Those are all relationships that need cultivating and nurturing, too. While they're not as intimate as a marriage or life partner, the method still works. Example: If your mother is physical touch, maybe she needs a hug. If your coworker is crabby and feeling overworked and stressed at work, offer him a "You're doing such a good job. I appreciate you."
How can you tell what your friend's or coworker's love language is? If you don't want to trot out the complicated quiz for everyone (who has the time?!), simply observe them in their natural environment. A person's love language is typically what they do for other people. If your coworker is always paying you compliments or sending you emails stating what a great job you're doing, chances are he's Words of Affirmation. If your best friend buys you little things for no reason and is excited to give you a gift showing you that she thought of you, she's probably Gifts.
Open up the lines of communication today with your partner, and find out what turns them on. Download the printable or download Bitmoji while you're at it.
Oh! And before you go, don't forget to comment below with what you leaned from this post. I want to hear if you know your love languages or plan to apply what you've learned, so don't hold back! Also, take a second to sign up for my Lemmon 15 newsletter for great lifestyle tips like these as well as updates on the next Jessica Lemmon romance. I've read romance novels for years and I'm not saying they're marriage boosters, but... okay, I am saying that. Reading about hope and love and happily-ever-after can stoke the flames between you and your partner whether you met one year ago or twenty. Visit the Bookshop to add a Jessica Lemmon novel to your arsenal, or let me pick one for you. It's such good practice to read to learn, but I make some time to also read for fun!