A common tool used in couple therapy is the five love languages. Many people have heard of them before, but I have found that not many couples know how to truly use them in their marriage. The real point of knowing your partner’s love language is to be able to show them love the way they receive it. I want to use this post to not only to explain the love languages, but how to actually use them in your relationship.
What are the Love Languages?
The five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. The languages are not complicated, and they sound exactly like what they are, yet still, it can be hard to show your partner love in their language, especially during conflict. During sessions, I hear couples talk all the time about how they feel like they are showing their partner love, but they have not been receiving their actions as love. They do not receive these actions as love because maybe for them, acts of service don’t mean much. Instead, maybe their number one love language is Words of Affirmation, so instead of doing the dishes or laundry, they need to try to verbally affirm how they look, or something they did. This can be hard for some people, especially if they have a very different love language than their partner. I have had a few couples have this problem where each person said it felt foreign trying to show their partner love in their language, because to them that is not love.
How to Show Love in Each Language
If your partner receives love by Words of Affirmation, then there are a few ways to do this on a daily basis. Commenting and affirming how your partner looks before they leave the house, unprompted by your partner telling them you love them, and thanking them for going out of their way to do something for you is a good example of this.
If your partner receives love by Acts of Service, then you should make it important to do things for them without them having to ask. So, do the dishes, laundry, or everyday chores around the house without being asked.
If your partner receives love by Receiving Gifts, then you should go out of your way to give them something without being prompted. It does not need to be something expensive all the time either. Maybe one day you pick up flowers on the way home, their favorite dessert, or a coffee. Now of course, sometimes it is nice to get them something a little bit nicer, but again, it doesn’t have to be expensive all the time. A lot of the times, it’s the little things that count.
If your partner receives love by having Quality Time, then go out of your way to plan a couple of date nights. Again, this does not have to be super expensive and you can even have a date night in, where you don’t leave the house. Just take the time to plan something where you are spending uninterrupted time with each other.
Finally, if your partner receives love by Physical touch, then go out of your way to show physical affection. Hold your partners hand when you are walking down the sidewalk, or even when you are just sitting on the couch. Give them a hug or kiss every morning when they leave and when they come home at night. There are plenty of ways to show your partner love, just make sure you do it in a way that they receive love.
If you are reading this and you feel like you and your partner could use some help figuring out what your love language is or need some help in how to interpret what your love language means, then I would love to meet with you. Reaching out for couples’ therapy does not have to mean that something is wrong with your relationship, it can be to just work on strengthening certain areas! Give our office a call to set up your first appointment!
Written by therapist Alex Parlette
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