Lost in Translation: You and Your Partner’s Love Languages

by Megan Stubbs

Do you sometimes feel like your partner just doesn’t get you? Are the things you do for them going unnoticed or underappreciated? Do you feel that your partner doesn’t show enough love towards you? These, along with many other concerns, could mean there is a misunderstanding around your and your partner’s love languages.

A love language is a way that you and your partner express and receive love. You can discover which love language you speak by taking Dr. Gary Chapman’s, author of The 5 Love Languages, official assessment test on his website 5LoveLanguages.com. Here is a breakdown of the five love languages:

1. Words of Affirmation

You appreciate unsolicited compliments, affirmations and kind words. Ways to speak your language include sending thoughtful notes or cards. Things to avoid are criticisms.

2. Quality Time

You appreciate one-on-one time without interruptions and face-to-face conversations. Ways to speak your love language include taking trips together, quiet nights in or simply doing things together. Things to avoid include long periods of time apart and spending more time with your friends or colleagues than your partner.

3. Receiving Gifts

You appreciate receiving physical objects as an act of love. Ways to speak your love language include flowers, jewelry and “just because” gifts. Things to avoid including forgetting special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and other gift-giving holidays.

4. Acts of Service

You appreciate when your partner does things that make your life easier. Ways to speak your love language include your partner offering statements like “I can…” or  “What else can I do?”, confirming they have the ability to help you out in some way. Things to avoid include ignoring your partner’s requests and providing acts of service to someone else.

5. Physical Touch

You appreciate non-verbal communication in the form of touch. Ways you speak your love language include acts of physical touch like kisses, cuddles and PDA that makes you feel loved by your partner (and that they can’t quite keep their hands off you). Things to avoid include physical neglect or abuse.

It is important to know not only what your love language is but what your partner’s is as well. We typically sense the way we like to receive love, but if your partner doesn’t understand that expression of love or isn’t in sync with your personal love language, it’s almost like you aren’t doing anything at all.

For example, your love language may be physical touch and for your birthday you partner gives you a bracelet. You have a nice meal and go to bed with a quick goodnight kiss. While that may have been a nice night, you would have preferred to have dinner followed by a long night of intimacy, bracelet or not.

In this case, your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, and because the action is so important to them they assumed it would be just as important to you. Despite the frustrating lack of intimacy at the end of the night, they may think they’ve knocked it out of the park because they expressed their love to you in the way they would prefer your love be expressed to them.

Without speaking up or understanding how our partners receive love, the message is literally lost in translation. You may dislike compliments, but if that is how your partner receives love you should make an effort to realize the importance of compliments to them for a stronger relationship. Learning your partner’s love language is essential if you want to know how to effectively communicate your love to them in a way they can understand. Couples who are able to understand each other’s love language and speak it fluently have better relationship satisfaction and overall happiness.

Take Dr. Chapman’s quiz and discover which love language you speak–you may be surprised at the results. Happy loving!

Dr. Megan Stubbs is a Sexologist, the job you never saw on career day. For insightful tips or a good laugh, find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SexologistMegan.com.

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