We give and receive love in different ways

There is an aspect to relationships that is not at all obvious until it is pointed out to you.

In ‘5 Love Languages’ Gary Chapman has studied couples and identified five love languages. He states that we all receive love in different ways and depending on our ‘Love Language’ then we need to be cherished in different ways.

He suggests that not knowing your partners love language can lead to confusion between couples because of misunderstandings, upsets and bad feelings. In order to find what is your ‘love language’ he suggests that you ask yourself,

When is it that you feel most loved by your partner? Is it

  • When your partner says complimentary things about you?
  • When they spend dedicated time together?
  • When you are given a special gift?
  • When your partner touches you?
  • When your partner completes a task for your benefit?

It is interesting that when you discuss these five different ways you may well be surprised to find that your partner receives love in a different way to you.

It might be that when you are given flowers (gifts) this makes you feel loved and happy. In return, you may buy your partner their favourite chocolate. However, their love language may not be gifts they may need to spend time together in order to feel loved.

So if you have spent all day without each other and you are busy in the evening then your partner may well feel unloved even though you have given them a thoughtful gift, because this does not match their love language. So you may then feel confused that they do not respond in the way you predicted because you have not fulfilled the need of their love language.

Open and honest communication is crucial to a healthy relationship and a discussion about love languages can lead to a much better understanding of your partner and an easy route to making them happy that wasn’t evident to you before. With this knowledge, you have a special insight into their emotional needs and how to satisfy them, which is a very good position to be in. As a counsellor, I would be happy to help you explore this aspect of your life.

Chapman, G. D. (2015). The 5 Love Languages. Chicago, Northfield Publishing
ISBN -13 978-0-8024-1270-6, ISBN-10 0-8024-1270-X

The Marriage Course is another resource that is worth considering. Run over seven weeks by the Alpha organisation, it is aimed at couples who wish to revitalise their relationship. It is cleverly set up to be totally private for each couple. Recognised as successful in helping couples to strengthen their relationship it is run by the church but is comfortably accessible to non-Christians.

Enjoyable whilst challenging, it is not at all expensive. If you are interested in finding out more you will find information and videos at http://themarriagecourses.org/try/the-marriage-course

The Marriage Book was written by Nicky and Sila Lee who developed the course.