Is your love tank full and overflowing or empty and on the brink of non-existence? Just like the gas tank in your car, when it's full you can go anywhere and feel comfortable in doing so; however when it's nearing empty, you have to choose where you go or how far you can go. And God forbid you run out, well, you're stuck right where you are until you can fill that tank. So my friends, again I ask, where on the love tank scale are you?
A few years ago, mine went to zero, my tank ran out, after 7 years. What started out as a full tank dwindled down to E. Could that tank have been refueled before it got to E? Maybe. But I suspect, like many other couples, we never took the time to find out what our individual love languages were and/or how to adequately show up for each other in ways we both would understand. Yes, you may think that what you're doing is demonstrating love for your partner, however, that's just your thinking. Have you even had a conversation with your partner to find out otherwise? Maybe not. Many of us don't. And in all honesty, it doesn't always come naturally or easily, no matter how compatible you think you both are. Think about it for a second. You come home every day, sit, cuddle and talk with your partner, yet still they say that you don't love them. Or you do the laundry all the time, cook the meals and run all the errands, yet still you hear that you don't spend enough time with them. Sounds familiar? Well, it could mean that both of you are speaking a different language.
In his book "The 5 Love Languages: The Story to Love That Lasts," Gary Chapman alludes to 5 different ways in which we can express and receive love; words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch and, receiving gifts. Which is your strongest love language? Do you know which is your partner's strongest language? What if you both have the same love language, do you even know what aspect of it is more prevalent for each of you (this is the "dialect" according to Chapman)?
We all display varied degrees of each of the 5 love languages, however there is always one that stands out the most. Let's go for a scenic drive with our love tank full and look at these 5 "communication hacks" as I call them.
Chapman's 5 Love Languages
1. Words of Affirmations
These are verbal or written words that show affection, compliment, encourage, etc. Words or statements like; "I love you," or "Baby, you did great today," or if you're Jamaican you'd probably hear, "Baby, you're the ackee in my saltfish." If your partner's love language is words of affirmation, then use your words wisely, take a 5-minute break during the day and send a text message or make a phone call. How about leaving a little note for them before you leave in the mornings? A little goes a long way!
2. Quality Time
Togetherness. Not the kind of togetherness wherein the other partner is suffocating or the "stick to you like glue kind of behavior." No. This is the quality conversations, the carving out of time for each other, the active listening and the full presence behavior. And believe it or not, sometimes that quality time only requires you to show up for your partner and be silent. Oh and please, please, please - put away the cell phones during this time. Ways to give your partner quality time can include a slow walk around the block together, having a couples night out, playing games together and exercising together; the possibilities are endless!
3. Receiving Gifts
Who doesn't like receiving gifts? Hmmm. No-one says nobody. I've always loved giving and receiving gifts. I actually thought this one would score higher on my love language scale. For persons who's love language is receiving gifts, gifts have an emotional value; it's usually the thought that counts. Gifts become even more heart-felt when they're items that have great meaning to the recipient. The gift does not need to be large and expensive. A gift such as picking up their favorite snack on the way home is precious. One must also not forget that one important gift anyone can give to their partner is the gift of presence (their time).
4. Acts of Service
There is a saying, "action speaks louder than words," and for persons with this love language that saying is glaring. Little acts of service like taking out the trash, cooking a meal, washing the car, making their coffee/tea in the mornings or running an errand is heavenly. Yes, yes, yes, I can hear all the chatter now about not being "the hired help." Some of you all need to be 'the hired help' and I mean this is in every good sense. We have to change the narrative about the roles of husbands and wives; scratch that, of two people in a relationship. Doing things you know your partner will love, which will in turn make for a peaceful life and give you some loving, should be on the top of your list.
5. Physical Touch
Let me get this out of the way first, physical touch does not equate to sex, though it can, and in most cases should. Nevertheless, persons who have this as their love language appreciate kissing, cuddling, holding hands, and of course sex. Intimacy. And I will add to that, some amount of playfulness. Try running your hand through their hair when you walk pass or along other areas you know they'll love, playfully tap their butt with a smile, whisper in their ear while leaving a trail of kisses. Sometimes it the little things that lead to bigger things. Never forget that!
So What Is My Love Language?
Before reading the book I had no idea of what exactly the "love languages" were. I knew what I wanted from a partner, but never knew it was coined as a "love language." For me spending quality time with my partner was always top of my list. After reading about 70% of the book I decided to stop and do the love quiz. I was anxious to see what my results would be. Well, well, well, not much of a surprise, I'm 50% physical touch and quality time combined and the other 50% is equally dispersed among the other 3. Hmmm, I'm not that hard to please after all; spend quality time touching me and I'm good. Oh Lord that's not exactly it, but you get the point.
Each love language is important and is expressed in its own way. At the end of the day, talk to each other, discuss what makes each of you happy, notice the things you do and how much loving you get afterwards, learn how to compromise and learn how to actively listen. Most of all, heighten the emotional climate of your relationship by learning each other's love language. Check your tank. Fill up on the regular. Don't wait until you get to E!
Love is such a beautiful thing, it is a choice, it cannot be coerced or demanded and it should be freely given.
Blessings, Love & Light
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