Tuesday, June 15, 2010
This article is based on the book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, By Gary Demonte Chapman. If you want to learn more I recommend reading it.
People give and receive love in different ways. Our tendency is to give love the way that we like receive love. However, if your love language is not the same as your beloved's you may feel like you are constantly giving to them and they may complain that they don't feel you loving them. It's as if you are speaking to them in English and they only understand French. When love is not communicated effectively this can create feelings of confusion, anger and frustration. There is a simple solution to this dilemma. Learn to speak the five languages of love. Then figure out which languages you and your partner respond to. Once you know their preferred language you can speak to them in the language they understand. Then teach them your preferred languages so you can receive love in a way that nourishes you as well.
The Five Languages of Love Are:
Words of Affirmation- Some people want to feel seen and appreciated for who they are and what they do through words of acknowledgement. They need to hear you tell them, on a regular basis, that you like their new haircut, enjoyed the meal they cooked for you, noticed they took out the trash, weeded the yard or emptied the dishwasher. Your words are a powerful resource for them to feel loved and valued. In the bedroom tell them how much you love the glow of their skin, the way he/she makes you quiver, how their touch drives you wild.
Quality Time- For others words don't mean as much as spending time together. These folks want to feel connected through mutual activities. They need to feel your undivided attention on them and what you are doing together. They want time together to be a priority. These people enjoy date night, a planned activity that brings you together and where you focus on each other exclusively. In the bedroom this means setting aside a special time or even a whole day for love.
Gifts- Most people enjoy gifts but for some people this is the primary way they feel loved. This doesn't mean they need expensive gifts. In fact, they often prefer sweet or silly gifts given spontaneously, for no reason at all. This type may feel hurt if you don't give them a gift on their birthday or anniversary. Gifts are experienced as an expression of your love for them. In the bedroom this could take the form of a flower, a card, or a small expression of your love hidden under their pillow.
Acts of Service- Some people feel loved by what you do for them. These could be everyday things like folding the laundry or bringing home a pizza for dinner. They could be big things like taking them away on a romantic holiday or remodeling the house. Your actions speak louder than words. When you do things for them they want or need done they feel loved by you. In the bedroom this could be cleaning up the bedroom before making love. It could also be a lovemaking session when you only give to them.
Physical Touch- Many people respond most to loving touch. They want to hug, kiss, hold hands, be massaged, or snuggled up with you on the sofa. Just a simple arm around them as you walk down the street or reaching across the table and touching their hand will allow them to feel your love through the act of physical connection. In the bedroom this could mean offering massage as a part of foreplay.
What is Your Primary Love Language?
Here are three steps that can help you to figure out the way you most like to be loved. Commonly, we give love in the same way we enjoy receiving it. So one way to learn how we like to be loved is by noticing how we give love to others. Often, we complain to our partner about a need we feel is not being met. What are your common complaints about ways you are not getting the love you want? What requests do you make so you will feel loved? How do you most like to be loved in the bedroom (sexually)?
It is also helpful to increase your awareness of how you give and receive in all your interactions. When you recognize how people like to be loved it is easy to give people what they want in ways that make them feel good. It is helpful to share this information with your beloved and also with friends and family so that they can be more aware and give love to each other in ways it are mutually beneficial.
Sometimes, learning to speak a new love language is challenging. It may feel awkward or forced at first. Recognize that you are learning a new way of communicating and just like learning a foreign language it will take time and practice to get good at speaking in a new way that is foreign to you. In the bedroom you may feel uncomfortable giving love in ways you haven't before. Look at this as an adventure and enjoy the process. Also learn to surrender and allow yourself to be loved in new and delightful ways.
Crystal Dawn Morris is an intimacy coach. She does couples coaching in person or over the phone. She offers tools and practices that help you improve your relationships in the areas of love, intimacy and sexuality. Crystal also offers couple retreats for reigniting passion.