Have you ever tried to show love to your partner and it wasn’t received in the way you expected it to be? Sometimes our partners are looking for love expressed in different ways. Valentine’s Day pushes roses, chocolates and candles however not everyone responds well to gifts. Relationship and marriage expert Dr. Gary Chapman explores in his best-selling book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts how we each crave and express love.
The Love Languages
1) Words of affirmation
Using words to build up or validate your partner. Find the perfect Valentine’s Day card or write a well-thought-out letter describing what you love about your partner or what it means to have them as such an important person in your life.
A gift represents thoughtfulness and having your partner on your mind while apart. For some people giving or receiving gifts is how they express or expect to be loved. Gifts are best when they reflect how well you listen to or know a person such as giving someone their favorite chocolate.
3) Acts of Service
Doing something for your partner that you know they would like—cooking a meal, washing dishes, vacuuming floors, are all acts of service. Take the time to finish that big project your partner has been hinting at for you to do or prepare a special dinner for you both to enjoy.
4) Quality time
Giving your partner undivided attention while taking a walk together or sitting on the couch – talking and listening. Spend this Valentine’s Day engaging with your partner in an enjoyable activity that also involves direct eye contact and communicating with one another.
5) Physical touch
Holding hands, hugging, kissing, and sexual intercourse. Many people prefer to celebrate Valentines Day through through physical intimacy. If intimacy has been an ongoing struggle or concern in your relationship, then communicating your fears or anxieties related to expectations of intimacy on Valentine’s Day can be a great way to re-open dialogue. Start small and set a less intimidating goal for intimacy, such as cuddling together for the first time in a while or kissing for an extended period of time. Work together to find a small enjoyable step for you both.
Each and everyone of us seeks and expresses love in different ways. Spend this Valentine’s Day celebrating yours and your partners’ own unique styles of love. If you are uncertain of the style of love your partner appreciates the most, or if you feel like they misunderstand yours, have a conversation. Share this article with your partner or take the the Love Language Quiz online. If you want to make this Valentine’s Day special, don’t give in to decades of commercialization and sentimentalism, but rather work towards understanding and celebrating you and your partner’s own expectations for love and appreciation this holiday and for every other day of your lives together.
For some couples reconnecting can be tough. If you’re ready to get back to connecting with your partner reach out to us. Couples counseling is effective and can help you learn to express love and appreciation again. Go ahead, it’s time. Get started now.