We all have our own way in which we love others and how we feel love from others. It is so easy to assume that the way we naturally are compelled to love someone is the how we should go about it. But what happens when the way they receive love is different?
In Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages he lists the love languages as words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service and physical touch. My natural way of giving love is acts of service and sometimes words of affirmation. My husband’s way in which he receives love is physical touch. This can cause problems. My acts of service are not always physical, sometimes it is about being there to emotionally support someone. I do a lot of this type of thing for my husband but all he wants is for me to play with his hair, hold his hand, rest my hand on his knee or something like that. This leaves him not fully feeling the love I have for him. He can logically understand and see my love for him but that is not the same as feeling it. It is my job, as someone who loves him to be aware of loving him the way he needs to be loved.
I feel love from words of affirmation, my husband shows love through physical touch. Again, this can be difficult. We have both come a long way in learning to love each other the way that we each can feel it and in learning to ask for what we need when we need it. I have found that when you have relationships where you are given love in the way you can receive it, not only is their deeper intimacy and a greater sense of well being, there is also a sense of being supported on a deep level.
What better gift could you give to someone than meeting them where they are and loving them in a way they can really feel loved. Through learning how to love someone and learning how you want to be loved you dramatically increase the intimacy in your relationships and you can also be loved in a way you can feel love more deeply than you have before. It takes vulnerability and presence to follow through with this.
Do you know how you want to be loved? Do the people in your life know how you want to be loved? This is wonderful tool to have in your toolbox. It is not just for your romantic partner, it is useful with your children, friends, and work relations. The 5 love languages web site has a quiz you can take to learn which love language is yours. This knowledge is a great gift for you and your loved ones. What better time of year is there to give and receive love in a language that you can understand.