If you’ve ever visited a foreign country that speaks no English, I’m sure you’ve known the frustration involved in asking for directions. Personally, it gives me the same bodily sensation elicited by a fork scraping over a dinner plate. In other foreign-tongued social situations though, communication can feel incredibly natural and almost as if words aren’t necessary. It’s in those situations that you’re both probably speaking your second native language and don’t even realize it. This language grants rapport even when your local languages don’t match up, and is guaranteed to enhance relationships when they do.
Ok, drumroll over. That second language that I’ve been hinting at is… Love. But there is a catch! Not everyone speaks the same love language either. According to Gary Chapman a marriage counselor with 30 years of experience, and author of The 5 Love Languages, there are 5 different ways that people speak and understand emotional love.
We all have what Chapman calls a ‘love tank’ and the only way to fill it is to get the kind of love that resonates with us. In your mind, you might be completely sincere with your partner in telling him/her how much you love them and how proud you are of them, but for some reason, it falls flat. This could be because “Words of Affirmation” isn’t their love language and what they’re really looking for is “Quality Time”. To fill their love tank, you’ll need to learn, and start speaking their love language.
The 5 Love Languages
Words of Affirmation
Giving your partner a pep talk, complimenting them, and saying kind things like “I’m so happy to be with you” are considered words of affirmation. By speaking these encouraging and sweet words, you’ll fill their love tank to the point at which they can’t help but give love back. The easiest way to do this is to speak your emotions and be authentic with them.
It’s not enough to just do things together. To really spend quality time with your partner, all distractions need to go away. If you’re glancing at your phone while out doing something fun then you’re signaling that you’d rather be doing something else. Examples of quality time could include going for a walk/hike, going out to eat, and even something as simple as talking on the couch.
For some, receiving gifts are the language that speaks to them the most. As much as the New Age is anti-materialism, giving and receiving gifts still has it’s place. It can be a tangible way to show someone how much you care. Gifts don’t necessarily have to be of monetary value though – it could be as simple as a loving note or a single flower. The best gifts have a value that goes beyond the monetary and closer to the sentimental.
Acts of Service
If you love when someone cooks for you or goes out of their way to do something mundane for you, your love language is probably Acts of Service. This could be considered a non-material form of gift giving. Beyond making food, these people love being pampered in personal yet inconspicuous ways like washing the dishes so they don’t have to, or more intimate ways like receiving a massage. This melds into our last love language.
These people get their love tank filled by receiving hugs, kisses, cuddling, and massages (along with other things I’m sure you could put together). If when reuniting after work your partner hugs you and hangs onto you for the rest of the night, there’s a solid chance their love language is physical touch. This is actually my number one love language. Nothing beats a good hug or even a pat on the back.
Within the love languages, you’re likely bilingual as well. My love language is mostly Physical Touch, but another dominant language for me is Acts of Service. For me, it’s like my partner is lightening the load life places on me by taking on a task I’d rather not do.
Remember, everyone has a different love language they prefer to receive so try to figure out which ones your friends or partner like best rather than speaking the love language you prefer. Another huge tip is to do these things unsolicited. It makes the act that much more meaningful!
I highly recommend checking out the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman if you want to learn more. Also, if you enjoyed this post don’t forget to subscribe and Like Brooklyn Hippy on Facebook to get all of my latest posts!