According to “The Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate“ by Gary Chapman, there are five main ways, or what he coined ‘love languages’, that people display and like to receive love through. The five ‘languages’ are quality time, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, physical touch, and acts of service.
Since there are five categories, the chances that you and a partner will have different love languages are pretty high, and actually, I myself am in a relationship where my boyfriend and I don’t share love languages. Learning how to make our relationship work when he’s someone who receives love mostly by physical touch and I love mostly by gift-giving/receiving has been hard. I can proudly say though that after almost four years of being together, we have it mostly figured out.
To help those of you who are in the same boat as my boyfriend and I, I made a list of some of the things we did that helped our relationship stay strong despite speaking different languages.
1. Learn about each others love language
If you haven’t yet, take the quiz. After you’ve both taken it, take some time to learn about what each other’s results mean. Look up different things to do for them, how to communicate best with them, etc., and once you’re both done, have a conversation about what you learned. You might be surprised to find out how much they agree/disagree with what the internet says about their love language.
2. Let each other know what it is that you need to feel loved
It’s one thing to know someone’s love language, but it’s another to know exactly what that means for them. Maybe their love language is words of affirmation, but they appreciate hearing “I’m proud of you” rather than “you’re doing a good job”, and know those things can make or break a relationship. Really get to know what truly speaks to your partners love language; it will make all the difference.
3. Tell them when they’re doing something right
You might think it is overkill to tell your partner each time they do something for you that truly speaks to your love language, but it’s not. Letting them know that whatever they did was good, rather than just smiling/saying thank you, it makes it so your reaction isn’t left up for interpretation. Instead, since you directly told them how you felt, they know that what they did was right and that they should do it again.
4. Learn that it’s OK to compromise
Already, relationships require compromise from both parties, but when you’re in a relationship with someone who speaks a different love language than you, you might have to compromise a little more. You’re both going to have to take some time to understand just how the other wants to be loved which means you’ll probably end up sacrificing a little bit of how you like to be loved. All that should matter is that at the end of the day, you’ve both been trying your hardest.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself
You are going to slip up and give them way too many Christmas presents when they hate gifts, and that is alright, because I’m sure your partner hasn’t been perfect either. Remember, a relationship is about growing and learning together, not losing who you are for someone else. Your partner will start to love the small things you do for them that speak to your love language, and not theirs, and that is truly what love is about.