How to Apply the 5 Love Languages to your Relationship
Many of us have already heard of Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. But for those of you who aren’t familiar, here’s a quick rundown.
The 5 love languages are,
- Physical touch
- Gift giving
- Quality time
- Acts of service and,
- Words of affirmation
Many of us desire all of these things, but usually, one or two may be more strong than the others. So you may like gifts, but what you really want is quality time. You may appreciate words of affirmation, but physical touch is a big part of who you are.
The Importance of Understanding the 5 Love Languages
Understanding these things about your partner and yourself can save you a lot of head and heartache. How? Well let’s say your partner is a physical touch kind of person. They’re into holding and being held. They crave it. But you and your partner don’t know that this is a love language.
Now you may not be into physical touch that much and think that they’re just needy. And with enough time, you’ll probably voice that they’re needy too (or something very close). Now them not knowing that this is their love language, will feel degraded and probably start seeing themselves as needy, even though this is something that’s apart of them. They can’t help it.
On a Different Note
If you don’t know your partner’s love language, you may be trying to fulfill them in other areas that aren’t really registering. So if their love language is quality time, but the only time you find for them is to buy them a gift, they aren’t going to appreciate it as much as they would spending time with you.
You can apply this to any of the other 5 love languages, it just depends on who has the love language that’s being misunderstood or not seen at all.
Now the importance of this is that once you both know your love language(s) (you can take the 5 love languages test here), then you will be more attune to each others needs and be able to meet them.
How to Implement the 5 Love Languages
Now once you’ve found out you and your partner’s (whether married or not) love language, I’ve made a list of ways you can apply them easily to your relationship. Because sometimes we need help when we’re not attuned to or familiar with implementing one or more of the 5 love languages. It can definitely be a bit of a rough going.
Listen -> Wait -> Store -> Give: This is something that my spouse and I do all the time. We’ll listen and hear something that the other wants or likes, we’ll wait so it’s unexpected (a surprise), we’ll go to the store (or online), buy it, and then surprise them with it as it shows up on their door step or in our hands.
It’s fun to see their reaction and gratitude that you actually thought of them and bought something that they wanted. It makes them feel listened to and let’s them know that you care.
Order: Now I’m not talking about ordering something online. When you both are going out to eat, pay attention to what they get or usually like. Then, surprise them with a dinner (breakfast or lunch are great as well) outing to one of their favorite restaurants and order for them. But make sure it’s secret.
Order when they’re not around or go up to the waiter and let them know. Then it’ll be a fun surprise for them to get that awesome burger they’ve been craving all week or that great Thai dish they love.
Side Note: You can do this with takeout as well. Many restaurants now offer the option to get your order to-go. Or check out DineIn, they’ll deliver it for you!
Save Up: If you know that your significant other wants something expensive, you can do one of two things. First, set back money each paycheck until you’re able to afford it. This may sound a bit daunting, but you can start off in small increments and then scale up the amount you take out (if you want to). You can do this in secret and surprise them with the thing they had been wanting all along.
Second, you can do this together. You can both bond through the process of your savings getting closer to the goal. It’s an awesome way to let them know that you care.
For no Reason: The best way to make someone feel cared about is to do something for them for no reason. You weren’t asked or hinted at to hold their hand or hug and hold them, you just did it. It let’s them know that you desire to be around them and fulfill any physical needs they have.
Find Time for the Hand Hold: Hand holding is one of the most common things couples do together, but often it gets almost forgotten when the first few months of dating or even marriage have gone by. If you find them being the ones to usually instigate the hand holding, then find time to instigate it yourself. Whether it’s when you’re driving or when you’re at the mall, just grab their hand.
Hug to Hold: Whether you’re coming home to your wife or husband, or you’re meeting up with them for a date, turn that hug into a hold. When they think they’re just wrapping their arms around you for an instant, don’t let go.
The Small Things: Look for the opportunities to be making physical contact. So whether you’re at the movies and you wrap your arm around them or your leg is simply against theirs, find the small ways to cater to this part of them.
Take the Time: Sometimes when people try to spend quality time, they end doing something they want to do or taking their partner somewhere they want to go. And a lot of the time, their partner isn’t very interested. This is where you’ll have to do something they like for it to register as an actual love act.
Now if you’ve been with them for awhile (or even for a short time), then you probably know their interests and the things they like to do. Take the time to instigate an outing or just join in on something they’re already doing. It lets them know that you wish to spend time with them and that you’re putting in the effort.
Find Common Grounds: Sometimes it happens that two people have no common interests. I mean, there may be small things (you both like orange chicken and Christmas time), but there’s nothing you both can truly share as a common interest.
This is where you both start exploring activities and hobbies together. You start watching new shows or playing games (online and off), neither of you have watched or played before. You explore new areas of the town to walk in and new hole in the wall restaurants. You both try a sport or a local event/class together. Find anyway you can to encourage spending quality time with your significant other.
Acts of Service
Doing What They Could Do: It’s easy for us to think, “Well they usually do the dishes and the laundry,” or, “They’re always the one to mow the lawn and get the groceries.” But an easy act of service is to do what even they already think is a given for themselves to do. So when they find that you’ve already washed the car, the door’s been fixed, or you ran that errand they weren’t looking forward to doing, they’re definitely going to be feeling the love.
Handle It: Your significant other has been working all week and doesn’t really have time to pay that bill, call up the insurance, or make a doctor’s appointment. Handle it for them. Find ways you can take certain tasks like that off their plate to make their life that much more simple. If acts of service is the biggest out of the 5 love languages for them, then you can expect them to be grateful.
Go the Extra Mile: If you say you’re going to do something and you follow through with it, that’s great! But one way to make your actions stand out as an act of love is to go the extra mile. If you say you’ll do the dishes that night, then do them and clean the next room that really needs it.
Just make sure that you don’t over promise and under deliver. Simply go with the task that you said you were going to do, and then go further. Let them see for themselves the work that you’ve done.
Words of Affirmation
Tell Them What They Need to Hear.. Then go Further: A lot of the time we get told, “Tell your significant other that you love them everyday.” And we should, it helps us to feel connected and cared for. But a lot of the time, we don’t get told what we need to hear. If you know that your partner is going through a rough time at work, let them know that you appreciate what they’re doing for you. And then take it a step further and let them know why you appreciate it.
Apply this to everything else; if you tell them that they’re important to you when you know that they’re struggling with feeling accepted, let them know why. If they’re struggling to feel beautiful or handsome, let them know why they’re handsome/beautiful. Then they won’t have any reason to doubt you and think, “they’re just saying that to make me feel good.”
Speak Against Lies: It’s so easy for us to tell ourselves that we’re stupid for making a mistake, or that we can’t do it if someone or something discourages us from continuing on in doing what we love. If you catch them saying something you obviously know is a lie, speak against it. Let them know the truth of the matter; tell them why that’s not true. State your case so they have no reason to feel bad for their mistake, give up on what they love, or feel defeated when someone has downed them. Tell them the truth, tell them what they need to hear.
It’s so important to understand the 5 love languages and know which ones apply to you and your partner. Then you’ll be able to cater to them, and not take more than you give in the relationship. You can both work on fulfilling each others needs and create a strong and healthy bond from understanding how to make the other feel loved.
Now I hope this post was helpful, but if there was anything that I didn’t cover that you’d like to know more about, email me or let me know in the comments below!
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