In a previous article, I mentioned Gary Chapman’s ground breaking research in which he explains that there are five unique love languages. And that if we don’t use the love language that is unique to our partner than our messages of love and devotion typically fall on deaf ears. That when we don’t take the time to learn and use our partner’s unique love language then over time we risk that person, your beloved feeling unloved…potentially seeking love elsewhere.
In that article I explained that each individual love language is as different from one another as one foreign language is to another. They are as different in sound and expression as Chinese is to German or French is to Japanese.
So if that’s the case and you are fluent in Chinese but your partner is not, and he is fluent in German and you’re not, would it make sense for you to express your love and affection in Chinese? Or for him expressing his love for you in German? But that’s exactly what many couples do…
Typically when you don’t know the love language of your partner that is what you are doing –you default to your own love language expecting that your messages of love and affection are clearly heard and felt. And should your partner express that they don’t feel loved you don’t understand how that could possibly be given the numerous expressions and heartfelt sentiments that have been sent their way, albeit in a language that is not understood, let alone heard.
Does this Story Sound Familiar?
I was recently talking with a friend whose currently deliberating whether or not she will take the next step in her relationship with her partner, which for them means co-habiting. It’s a long distance relationship which means her partner relocating from another state.
In her deliberation my friend confided that she had told her partner months ago that she loved him, but her fear was that those words had never been repeated back, so she was unsure as the state of the relationship and whether the move was a good idea. Though she and her partner talk daily for hours by phone – and had holidayed together, co-habiting and in her apartment seemed like a really big commitment.
She had recently confided in her partner the level of commitment the move meant and in so doing indicated that even though they had been together for two years, she was still unsure of his feelings towards her. His response from my perspective was interesting.
‘Surely you know how much I love you…’ he blurted over the air waves.
Surely she did not…and despite this he protested that he constantly showed his love.
Now my friend is aware of the five love languages. Her language is Words of Affirmation– clearly enunciated in the fact that she had told her partner how much she loved him and was waiting for him to express a similar feeling. Devoid of that expression of love and rarely receiving any compliments she was beginning to question the relationship overall.
As we discussed their last conversation and the recent period in which he had stayed with her in her home, it became evident that her partner’s love language was Acts of Service. From the onset of his visit he had set about to find small repairs that needed attention or jobs that would add value to the apartment. These random acts of kindness may have been his expression of love but they irritated my friend as she wanted to spend time with her partner – not have him busy – working.
All too familiar- a relationship in which each partner is expressing their love but not being heard?
Knowing Your Partner’s Love Language is Not Enough
In my friend’s case she intellectually knows that her partner has expressed his love for her using his own love language but knowing isn’t enough. She doesn’t feel loved. And it’s that feeling of being loved that drives a relationship not intellectual pursuit. And in her case her partner is not open to the idea that his expressions of love haven’t been heard. This is a recipe for disasterlong term if nothing alters on that front.
So don’t risk relationship bliss, take heed and act.
It’s not enough to know your partner’s love language you have to master it.. learn it and use it. And while that may sound simple enough it is not.
If your partner’s love language were German, how would knowing that be enough to communicate effectively with him? Silly question isn’t it ‘cause you know that if his love language was German you would have to take lessons and practice the language every single day until you became fluent, and proficient. To the point where you became unconsciously competent – that you didn’t have to think about it – as the language came naturally to you. And until that day arrived you would resort to using your native tongue or a poor expression of German to communicate your love.
Well that’s exactly the same with love languages. Knowing your partner’s love language is not enough. You need to practice it and become fluent in it until it becomes second nature to you. That when you want to express messages of love to your partner you automatically shift into his or her love language and speak fluently using that love language.
In a recent article I explain in more detail how to become fluent in your partner’s love language and how you can assist your partner in becoming fluent in yours, and in the process have lots of fun.
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