Happy belated Valentines Day! Sorry, I meant to post this yesterday. I hope you were suitably spoiled! Infertility can be a huge source of strain on any relationship just at the time when you most want to feel united, loved and together in your situation.
I want to share something that may really help you feel more loved.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone just doesn’t get what you are communicating to them and you can’t see why? We are all unique and experience the world in unique ways – we all have our own ‘models of the world’. We need to ensure we are communicating in a way that the recipient understands, in a way which fits with their ‘model of the world’, which can be quite different to ours. The same is true when it comes to love. So a pertinent question might be “are you communicating love to your partner/loved ones in a way they understand it?”
There are five typical ways in which we tend to give and receive love. We each have a preference as to the ways in which we give and receive love. The thing is, we tend to express love to others in the same way that we prefer to receive it, which may or may not be the same way our partner prefers to receive it! Our ‘love languages’ may be as different as English and Chinese and no matter how hard we try to express love in English, if our partner only understands Chinese, our love will lost in the translation and, more likely than not, be failing to fully appreciate, experience or understand one another’s love.
This means they may not be understanding and thus receiving your tokens of love, leaving them feeling rather unloved and you confused and frustrated as to the reasons why. This tool enables you to identify and understand your own preferred love language as well as your partners so that you can start communicating in a way each other understands, which can result in both feeling more loved and loving and the relationship being transformed.
Another good thing about this tool is that it only takes one person in the relationship to understand the tool and make the difference to the relationship. It can take just one partner in the relationship to understand these principles to be able to transform the relationship. When you are feeling loved you are more likely to reciprocate and do something your partner desires.
OK, so what are the five Love Languages? Like with spoken language there are various ‘dialects’ within each love language and it’s also key to understand specifically what dialect your partner is within their primary love language.
1. Words of Affirmation.
The love language of Words of Affirmation has dialects within it such as compliments, encouragement, affirmation and kindness. Compliments can be anything from simple compliments such as telling them that you think they look nice in what they’re wearing or thanking them for doing something. Words of encouragement or affirmation can be powerful as we all have untapped potential or areas where we feel insecure which may be transformed by our partners words. It might be kind words. How often do we communicate by the tone of our voice rather than with our actual words;. using a harsh tone when we’re angry or frustrated, rather than expressing our feelings in a gentler tone?. Another dialect is not the presence of words of affirmation but the absence of criticism. This is true for me. The positive words by-pass me quickly, whereas criticism cuts deep and stays with me – which also means I am slow at giving my wife compliments but rarely criticize her.
2. Quality Time.
Quality Time has dialects such as undivided attention, shared activities, listening and sharing. Undivided attention means focusing on each other without any distractions. It’s not just about staring into each other eyes, it could be sharing an activity together that has a sense of cooperation or camaraderie, working together. When a parent rolls a ball to a toddler it is not about the activity itself, but the emotions that are created between them. My wife and I sometimes find that holding hands when we are talking is a means of demonstrating that we are giving each other our undivided attention – something important to my wife as this is her primary love language!! It may not just be talking, it might well be quality activities; doing something with your partner that you know they will enjoy whole-heartedly, even if you do not particularly like the activity. For example, perhaps you partner likes going to the ballet. You could suggest going together. It can become a quality activity if one party wants to do it and the other party is willing to join in in order to express love by being with each other. This also creates future memories.
Quality time also involves quality conversation. This requires learning to listen as well as learning to talk….that is subject for another time!
When someone gives a gift they are generally thinking of the recipient when they obtain it. You can look at a gift and it reminds you of the person who gave it to you and the fact that they remembered or thought of you and valued you enough to give a gift. Again there are a number of dialects in the language of Gifts such as the expensive gifts, home-made tokens of love or gifts of your time.
Gifts can be extravagant or simple, they can be bought, made or found; from huge and expensive displays of affection, to the single daisy we picked on the way home because we were thinking of our partner When my wife and I were first married I often bought her flowers on the way home from work. It was not until a number of years later that I realized buying cheap carnations from the old bloke outside the station for someone who used to be a florist was not the best idea. I never knew she used every floristry trick in the book to make them look good and last longer (e.g. pins in the heads of roses keeps them upright when they start drooping!). I now know Gifts is not her primary love language, and that if I do buy her flowers she would rather have quality than quantity!! A friend of ours was snorkeling on his honeymoon and came out of the water minus his wedding ring. His new bride made him go back in and would not let him out until he found it. He quickly learnt that Gifts was her primary love language (and thankfully he found the ring!!).
4. Acts of Service.
The dialects within Acts of Service what is important to your partner. This is doing something you know your partner would like you to do – not what you think is important or what you want to do! I do lots of things around the house like maintaining the car and computer but this can often fail to register with my wife. If I clean the bathroom then it gets noticed! This can often challenge our stereotypical roles for men & women which may come from the assumed roles our parents played. The trick with this one is knowing what is important for your partner. For my wife I know she has a far greater attention to detail than myself so when I do something for her I know I need to take more care and ensure I am doing it as if she would – without my lazy short-cuts!
5. Physical Touch.
Touch is a powerful way of communicating emotional love. What do we often do in a time of crisis to demonstrate love? – we hug someone. Touch can communicate love or hate, a caress can be life enhancing and tender, a push or shove can be devastating. Men often think this is their primary love language because of their love of sex. However, sex can be a physical, biological drive rather than an emotional one . One question to ask is “would you want sex with your partner if they were not demonstrating your second love language? i.e if your second love language is words of affirmation, would you want sex with your partner if they have criticized you all day? If the answer is no then perhaps Physical Touch is not your primary love language.
The dialects within Physical touch can be explicit touch such as massage where you are focused on the act of touch, or it could be implicit such as a glancing touch as you brush past your partner or reach for something.
Understanding your love language.
Just reading the explanations above may give you an indication of what your and your partners primary love languages are. In addition, here are some questions that may help you to identify your primary love language:
What does your partner do that hurts you most deeply?
What have you most often requested from your partner?
In what ways do you regularly express love to your partner?
If you find it difficult to identify your primary love language it could be that you love tank has been full for some time and has been filled using a variety of love languages making it difficult to identity which is the key one for you or that your love tank has been empty for some time and you cannot remember which one makes the difference to you. If this is the case try asking yourself:
What did you like about your partner when you fell in love with them?
What would your ideal partner be like?
When they feel loved, you will feel more loved…
Communicating love to your partner in their preferred love language can transform a relationship as they will feel emotionally loved and wanted. They will automatically respond and reflect that love back to you. Give it a go. See if you can identify your partners primary love language. Do something to express your love to them in that way for every day for two weeks. Watch the transformation unfold.