Are You Certain that Your Messages of Love Are Being Heard?

Young woman getting breakfast in bed and a large red gift box on the breakfast trayDid you know that we each have our own love language…? That there are in fact five unique or different love languages? And that in the absence of knowing the love language of your partner you run the risk of your messages of love and affection not being heard or worse entirely missed?

Yes that’s right. There are five unique languages of love. And each of us responds best to only one of these. In other words if we’re not spoken to in our unique love language we fail to hear the messages of love sent to us…

That’s a hard fact to appreciate isn’t it?

These languages are elaborated in Gary Chapman’s classic The Five Love Languages, How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, a ground breaking piece of research.

The Languages of Love
Chapman uses a series of case studies to illustrate that we each have our own unique love language or means by which we hear and know that we’re truly loved and appreciated by our partner…

…And that when we don’t know or appreciate our partner’s specific love language we risk the chance of our partner not hearing our expressions of love… So not feeling loved… In other words our messages of love are missed or not heard…

…Resulting in our partner not feeling loved…And if left unchecked over time we run the risk of losing that love!

Messages of love and affection are only received when you use your partner’s unique love language. So Chapman stresses the importance of consciously communicating and expressing your love for your partner by first understanding and then using their unique love language.

That unless you make the effort to understand and use your partner’s unique love language your partner is unlikely to hear or receive your intended messages of love!

Let me give you an illustration…

Missing the Mark
Imagine if you will…that your partner is speaking to you in Chinese and in Chinese telling you at great length how much he cares for you… Loves you…In Chinese…!!!

….But you don’t speak Chinese… So how much would you understand? NOT a single word…

How loved would you feel as a result of not understanding a single word?

And then later when you want to communicate your affection for your partner you use a language that is neither native nor understood by him!

Would any of your messages of tenderness and affection be received? Understood? Felt? Make your partner feel wanted or loved?

Your Own Love Language is used by Default
What typically happens is that in the absence of knowing your partner’s love language…as a default, you use your own primary love language to express your feelings of love. And while that may sound positive it isn’t…

If your partner’s love language is different from yours, you unconsciously fail to communicate your feelings of affection to your partner! You may as well be communicating your expressions of love using a foreign language…

So as a first step rectify this… Like Sherlock Holmes go on an exploratory mission…a mission of discovery… to discover your partner’s primary language of love …Or risk not communicating your affections as intended!

Take the time to identify your own love language as well. It’s really easy to do!

Identifying Your Love Language
To identify your own love language, first ask yourself the question…How do I know when I feel loved?

Chapman suggests that the easiest way to discover your primary love language is to ask the following questions:

  • What does your partner do or fail to do that most deeply hurts you? Your love language is most probably the opposite of what hurts you the most….
  • What do you most often request of your partner? The thing you most request is most likely what makes you feel most loved.
  • How do you most regularly express your love to your partner? Your means of expressing love is typically an indication of the way you feel loved, that is your own unique love language.

One of these three questions will assist you in determining your own primary love language.

The Five Love Languages or Dialects
So how do you know that you feel loved…?

Is it through words…? The words spoken or words your partner uses to tell you that you’re loved? These are commonly referred to as Words of Affirmation…

Or is it through Touch? When you’re touched in a special way…On the shoulder…A caress? A touch that for you is an affectionate expression of, ‘I am close by and just needed to let you know how much I care about you’?

Or perhaps you feel or know that you’re loved when your partner spends Quality Time with you…Unconditionally.

Some of us feel loved when we receive Gifts from our partner…. Irrespective of whether these are small tokens of affection or more expensive items that we’ve had our eye on for some time… The prospect that our partner has expressed his love through giving makes us feel loved.

And the fifth language or way in which some people feel loved is through what Chapman refers to as Acts of Service.

I personally prefer to call this language of love… Acts of Consideration as this expression of love is expressed through doing things we know will bring a smile of appreciation to our partner’s face…. Washing the car, doing the dishes…cooking a favorite meal!

So just think to yourself… What does my partner do or say that makes me feel loved?

And when you’ve identified your own love language, ask your partner how he or she knows that he or she feels loved? And then while it may not come naturally at first… just as practicing a foreign language feels awkward initially with practice you will become fluent. And you will use  your partner’s love language when you want to communicate affection and loving care.

Using the appropriate love language for your partner means that their love tank will be replenished frequently… And when that happens they’ll feel connected to you… Appreciated and loved.

And when your partner uses your love language…You’ll feel connected to your partner…Appreciated and loved.

So make time… Discover your love language and share your findings with your partner…

To summarize, the five love languages Chapman outlines are through…Verbal Communication or Words of Affirmation, … Physical Touch, … Spending Quality Time with You, … Receiving Gifts, or…Acts of Service what I refer to as Acts of Consideration.

…One of these languages will resonate with you more than the others.

And if you discover that you have two languages that appear to be equal to you then consider yourself fortunate. You’re bilingual… which certainly makes it easier for your partner!

As mentioned…once you’ve discovered your own love language share your learning and understanding with your partner… and then take the time to determine the love language of your partner…

And then when you want to express your affection and love for our partner remember to express your feelings using your partner’s primary love language…Not your own!  You’ll be amazed at the difference this will make to your relationship and its connectedness.

It’s Never Too Late to Learn…
Chapman provides many examples of relationships where one or both people in the relationship felt unloved despite their partner having showered them with affection… but done so using an inappropriate or foreign love language!

These couples were ready to separate after years of marriage or being together as one or the other didn’t feel loved…

It’s situations like this that can cause a partner to feel unloved, in despair, and over the years one or both feel ready to move on… And look for love outside the relationship.

The dial on their ‘love tank’ is reading empty…

…And the tank long overdue in being replenished! Put this way it’s understandable that couples drift apart…

With Chapman’s assistance and counsel these couples realized that their acts of love and affection hadn’t been seen or heard… Blissfully unaware of the existence, let alone the significance of there being different love languages they’d been using their own love language as an expression of their love… Ignorant that their expressions of love were going unheard…

As their unique love language hadn’t been used to communicate love each hadn’t felt loved or appreciated. And sadly this was all too often a complete surprise for the other party, who naively believed he or she had showered his or her partner with love and affection!

Be Vigilant
Once aware of their partner’s unique love language and addressed, these same couples were able to reconnect and find the love in their relationship that they truly desired.

Love hadn’t faded…It just hadn’t been heard. So don’t let this happen to you!

Identify your unique love language, and learn the love language that’s unique to your partner…

Know that it’s never too late to have fun, deepen the connection and to learn to communicate more effectively and lovingly with one another!

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  1. says

    and THIS is why I’m divorced! I’m definitely a gift-giver and express my love that way and through touch and words of love. Good to know that there’s a whole book about it, Carol. Thanks for the lovely article and long live LOVE!

    • Carol says

      Yes Nancy, There’s been a lot written about the languages of love. Since Chapman first explored the ideas and then wrote about it – it explains why some people feel unloved. So if your language is receiving gifts, then that is how you know or feel loved…The issue most of us experience is that then is how we show our love, and in doing so we risk not being heard. And especially so if the person we are expressing our love to has an different love language. It means that we have to share to our loved ones what makes us feel loved – receiving gifts and explore the love language that we need to use to express our love to them. And then remember not to default to our own language when expressing our love.

  2. says

    Hmm…I don’t know what mine is. I’ve been thinking and thinking but none of these really sound like they make me feel loved. I do know that when I feel he’s not listening it makes me feel unloved. But that’s more about me talking than him using words of affirmation. Which category do you think that puts me in Carol?

    • Carol says

      Thanks for sharing Tracey, My first impression is that when you feel unloved cause it feels as if he’s not listeng is that your primary love language is potentially words of affirmation. It is not about you talking…It’s about the response that you feel you get when you share your inner most thoughts. In other words if you feel that your comments are not being appreciated or validated or acknowledged how ever small they may be you feel the unloved.

  3. says

    Very timely post, we were just talking about this yesterday! I read the book several months ago and found it very interesting but as we seem to have very similar love languages nothing much changed for our relationship as we were lucky to be doing it already without realising.
    This week we were thinking about a family member who is particular about receiving gifts. So even though we are not interested so much in gifts, we know that she is and will do something appropriate 🙂 It’s great to understand a tiny bit about how different people operate – sometimes it amazes me at how such little things can make such a big difference!

    • Carol says

      Yes sharing the same love language as your partner is a real asset – as it takes practice to remember and get proficient in using a love language which is foreign to your own. As far as the family member whose love language is gifts – it’s the thoughtfulness of the gift giving that touches them – not the expense. So hand made gifts such as your beautiful earrings, a thoughtful card or something that shows that you were reminded of them is what resonates loudly for those whose love language is receiving gifts..

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