At the beginning of lockdown, I’m sure many of us had grand plans to learn another language and another skill. Despite my half-arsed efforts, this has not happened. However, (amongst exploring Kink, Desire and new recesses of Pornhub) I have learnt about the ‘Five Love Languages‘ that help us to have happier relationships with our partners. Since turning 14, I have had lots of fun with lots of people, three ‘proper’ relationships and a handful of flings. And at 28, I found myself in lockdown with the family and very much single again.
At times, we have all felt misunderstood and like we misunderstand our partners and often the reason for a split is down to a lack of communication. To his credit, my most recent boyfriend was fanatical about communication. After every argument (of which there were many towards the end), he insisted we discuss the cause of contention. He taught me to be a better communicator and explain my frustrations to avoid future arguments about the same thing. Whilst our relationship didn’t turn out to be a success, we certainly both learnt from one another. Over the last few weeks of our relationship, he would allow me the 20-30 mins cooling off time I need after a blow-out and then we’d chat. Our ways of arguing and coping with the aftermath are frightfully different but I believe we learnt how to better understand the other’s point of view.
Dr Chapman (the author of the book and prominent counsellor) says we might not necessarily have the same love language as our partner, but by learning how our partner communicates love and how they receive it (and they ours), we can have more successful relationships.
So what are the 5 languages of love and how do we communicate with our partners? (Taken from Dr Chapman and the book ‘Five Love Languages’).
1. Words of affirmation (compliments)
- Share encouraging words – develop an interest in something your partner is already interested in.
- Communicate with kind words and forgiveness.
- Be humble in your communication; having an ego battle with your partner will never end well.
2. Quality time (giving you undivided attention)
- Don’t try and have a quality conversation on the sofa with the TV on or in bed with your phones.
- Go out for dinner or a walk and talk.
- Engage in quality conversation. This doesn’t always mean having deep and meaningful discussions or talking about future plans or the state of the economic climate but do ask questions and share thoughts when talking about the everyday occurrences.
- Learn to talk: express emotions connected to triggering events. Don’t just always talk about the things that made you angry or upset, share your thoughts with why something a partner said or did made you happy, appreciated or loved.
- Participate in quality activities. As long as at least one of you wants to do it and the other is willing to do it, make sure both of you know why you’re doing it (to express love by spending time together). Ask your partner what activities they’d like to do with you and try and plan this into your schedule.
3. Receiving gifts
- For some, receiving physical gifts shows love. Understand whether this is your partner’s love language and show them you care – it doesn’t have to cost the earth!
- For others, the gift of being there, especially in times of crisis is evidence of being loved and valued in a partnership.
4. Acts of service (do things your partner would like you to do).
- Arguments about household chores are occurring in homes across the world. If this is how your partner receives love, do the bloody dishes and lug the hoover up the stairs.
- Is there something your partner would prefer you to do in the bedroom? Or would popping into your mother-in-law’s house be appreciated more than you expect? These non-household chores can be a great way of showing love for your partner.
5. Physical touch
- Understand how your partner likes to be touched. It’s often said that the best sex toy is communication. Learn what your partner likes and doesn’t’ like. Ask if that’s okay and what they want more or less of. But don’t just engage in physical touch as a lead up to sex. A hug, snuggle on the sofa, playing with hair, etc, all effectively build intimacy – if this is what your partner craves!
As is often the case with any relationship, success stems from communication. At times, the way we feel is the best way to communicate might not be the best way for our partners. By talking with them and understanding how they feel loved and respected, hopefully we can have more enjoyable and fulfilling relationships.