It is common place for people to consider their own relationship satisfaction and whether their partner is fulfilling their needs. It is part of our make-up and culture to desire and yearn for human connection and affiliation. Unfortunately, it is all too common to feel disconnected and distanced from the person we love the most, our partners. Relationship strain and conflict often comes from feeling disconnected from our partners. In therapy, it is our aim to improve this connection in an attempt to enhance relationship satisfaction. One common method of improving connection is identifying Love Languages. Approximately 20 years ago, Gary Chapman released a book titled The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. In this book, Gary Chapman identified the following Love Languages:
Holding hands while walking, hugging to say hello and goodbye, kissing intimately, or massages. Physical touch is a powerful way of expressing love. This is evidenced by how we express love to infants. Before babies understand language or the concept of love, we pick them up and cuddle them to show and express our love.
For thousands of years, humans have been known to express love with gifts. It is how we show appreciation, congratulate people at engagements and weddings, and honour special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. If this is your Love Language, you will feel connected with someone when receiving gifts, particularly when they are for no particular reason.
There is no greater compliment then giving your partner your undivided attention. Couples can count the number of hours they spend together, however the majority of time is usually ‘quantity’, not ‘quality’. It is easy to neglect quality time with our partners due to increasingly busy lives. If this is your or your partner’s Love Language, turn off the TV and have a meaningful conversation. Your relationship will thank you.
Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation refers to expressing love through spoken praise and appreciation. It is important for all couples to express their love through spoken word. Telling your partner you appreciate them and their actions, as well as verbally expressing what you find most appealing in them is essential in creating a lasting bond.
Acts of Service
Actions speak louder than words. Whether it be making each other coffee in the morning, washing your partner’s car, volunteering to do the dishes, or cooking dinner, people often express their love through doing, as opposed to saying. If you are this person, you will enjoy doing your partner favours, and will feel more connected when they reciprocate.
While it is vital to know your own style of expression love and warmth towards others, it is even more important to know how your partner expresses their love. An activity therapists often do with clients is to encourage clients to learn how their partner shows love. By expressing love in a way your partner can easily receive, you will quickly see an enriched connection within your relationship. At Cause Effect Psychology, we have both male and female psychologists who are experienced in delivering relationship counselling. Please contact us for an appointment.
Chapman, G (1995). The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Northfield Publishing.