This is how the five 'love languages' can help you win at relationships
In this modern era of dating that we live in, we're only just figuring out the proper etiquette of how to behave on Tinder dates. Certainly, mastering the act of seeming interested but not too interested can be tough, and we've just about come to terms with the fact that the 3-day calling rule no longer applies to anyone under the big 3-0. But eventually, after a thousand or so "matches" and a dozen face-to-face encounters, you learn the basic protocols of dating in the digital age.
The difficulty of sustaining a long-term relationship, however, dates back to the very beginnings of monogamy. While the people of the internet claim that all it takes to maintain a fulfilling partnership is doing activities together and having sex regularly, one relationship counsellor came up with a rather novel idea back in 1995 which still rings true today. And it's to do with discovering yours and your partner's unique "love language".
Ever had a quarrel with your significant other, and just wished you could peer inside that little noggin of theirs? That's the sentiment behind Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages. They aim to help you understand what exactly makes your partner tick in a romantic union. Certainly, we all feel and express affection in different ways.
While you can learn them all in Chapman's 1995 guide, it's not a hard concept to grasp. The Five Love Languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality time, and Physical Touch. Words of Service refers to expressing your affection through words and praise, Acts of Service to using actions, rather than spoken word to show appreciation and Quality Time refers to giving your partner your undivided attention. If your Love Language is Gifting, however, you express love by giving unexpected gifts, and Physical Touch, of course, alludes to expressing appreciation through having sex or even just holding hands.
You can figure out what your dominant Love Languages are simply by mulling over the definitions, but Gary Chapman also offers a 30-question quiz on his website.
Chances are that you relate to several of these. But most of us have one or two that are much more important to us than the others. And when you understand that your partner shows affection in different ways to you, it can be rather illuminating. For example, you may have found yourself becoming frustrated because your boyfriend didn't seem to appreciate all those small, thoughtful presents you lavished him with from time to time. But by looking into his Love Languages, you would discover that he prizes physical touch and tangible actions over receiving gifts.
It's also helpful to think about how you don't express affection. For example, if you rank lowly on Acts of Service, you may not be appreciating the favours that your partner (or family and friends) do for you. Whether this is taking over the school run when you're going through a stressful period, or offering to give you a ride to the airport, it's handy to know where your blind spots are and to act accordingly.
Ultimately, when you understand what your significant other prizes above everything else, it's easier to understand where they're coming from, especially during times of disagreement. You may find that while you and your partner both value spending quality time together, one of you puts more emphasis on physical touch than the other. You can then work together to ensure that you're meeting each other's needs.
Think of it as a cheat code for your relationship.