How Do You Show Love?
Since Valentine’s Day is this week, I thought talking about your Love Languages would be apropos. Do you wonder why you give so much love in your relationship and your partner does not feel it? Are you banging your head against the wall because he or she doesn’t feel that you care about him or her? Yet you show it so often.
This is the case in many relationships. It is natural for us to show love in the way we want to receive it. Of course this makes sense, as it is how we were taught, or how we are wired.
Emotional Bank Account
We all have this notion of an emotional bank account in our relationships. When you do something for your partner, say something kind, or give them a loving tough, it counts as a deposit in the account. When you express anger, have conflict, or say something negative it is a withdrawal. Typically by the time couples come in for counseling their accounts are overdrawn.
In healthy relationships there are 5 deposits for every 1 withdrawal. An easy way to make a deposit into each other’s accounts is to share 1 thing you love or appreciate about each other.
Obviously the best relationships are the ones with the most deposits. Thus, if something negative occurs, there are still many deposits left in the account, and the relationship is good. If you are waiting for your partner to start with the deposits, you may be in for a disappointment. Someone has to start and it might as well be you. Not surprisingly, if you say something positive to your partner, or continue to do positive things, most of the time your partner will reciprocate. So, why not try it and see what happens?
Five Love Languages
If it seems as if you are giving so much more than your partner, it may be due to the way you are showing love. Just because you show it, doesn’t mean your partner is receiving it. A classic book is The Five Love Languages by Chapman. He does a wonderful job explaining this notion.
According to Chapman, the 5 Love Languages are: Acts of Service, Gift Giving, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. One of these tends to be our primary love language. What often happens is our partner has a different love language.
Why Your Partner Doesn’t Feel Your Love
Here’s why you may not be feeling the affection your partner is showing you. Let’s say you were fluent in Italian and your partner is fluent in French. You would be perfectly communicating, but your partner does not understand you. Love languages are the same way. You must learn to speak your partner’s language in order for him or her to feel cared for. This means that you do what ever it is that makes them feel loved. This will make a deposit in your partner’s emotional bank account. If your love language is Physical Touch and your partner’s is Acts of Service, then snuggling with your partner will not make him or her feel cared for, even though you are showing love (according to you).
An Example of Love Languages
Also, if you know how your partner tends to show affection, then you can feel it. An example would be, when my husband washes his car, he also washes mine. In my opinion, washing your car is a waste of time. If I wanted my car washed, I’d just drive it through at the gas station. It’s quick and easy. Over time, I learned that I was missing the mark. He was showing me he loved me by washing my car for me. Since Acts of Service is not my primary love language, I didn’t realize he was showing me that he cares about me.
Another great thing is if you don’t want to read the book and take the quiz at the end, you can go on line and do it very quickly. Once you know your love languages then you can start loving your partner in a way that will make him or her feel loved.
Trouble with communication is the main reason people come in for couples counseling. If this is something you need help with, give me a call at 713-304-6554.