We are all born with a specific way of interpreting and showing love. This is our love language. I learned of this term from my pastor. He'd been doing a series entitled 'Sex in the Summer' and in one of the 'episodes' he implored the couples (married couples especially) to figure out their partners love language in order to better communicate with them. The pastor got this concept from a book entitled The Five Love Languages - How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. On the author's website, he walks the reader through the 5 languages, which are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Reading through these got me to thinking about what my love language is and helped me to better understand some of the conflict I had in previous relationships.
For instance, I once dated someone who was constantly frustrated with me, saying things like, 'I don't FEEL loved'. I was baffled and pissed. Even though I communicated verbally and in writing my feelings for him, it wasn't what he needed. I took it as a rebuttal of all the things I did to show him how I felt. A slap in the face. But, I think his love language was Physical Touch which isn't mine. I felt disingenuous expressing myself that way and I felt like he was trying to change me. On the flip side, my primary love language is Words of Affirmation and I didn’t feel like I was getting that from him. It was like two ships passing in the night, in the day, just too often. So, you can imagine how unhappy and unfulfilled we were.
What I learned from my pastor and Gary Chapman's website is that there's nothing wrong with me for needing to hear Words of Affirmation to feel loved and there was nothing wrong with the young man I was involved with for needing Physical Touch. God made us that way. Oftentimes, in relationships we are made to feel like we have to defend the way we express ourselves and we shouldn't. The key is finding someone that is comfortable expressing him or herself in the way you need and value.
On the flipside you can meet someone that SEEMS to be communicating in your Love Language, but he/she is doing so unintentionally. For example, my secondary Love Language is Acts of Service. So, if a man does little things to make my life easier like washing my car; cleaning the snow off of it in the winter; or buying me trays because he knows I eat in front of the TV; I know now that I need to ask him what those actions mean to him.
Going back to my post on communication; I need to make sure that I receive the message that he intends to convey. I can’t just interpret it within my own context. If I do that, I might learn that he’s just a nice guy with a lot of time on his hands OR I might learn that he’s feeling me. So, take a few moments to figure out your Love Language. Then, don’t be shy about letting your mate know what it is.