Often we are not sure whether our partner really loves us.
We know he does, but why does it often not feel that way? My partner for his part does not seem to be really sure despite all my expressions of love. What the hell’s going on? How does this uncertainty come about, precisely when we need it so much to be confirmed, to be loved, not to have to live in constant fear? What’s the right way to love?
The 5 Love Languages from Gary Chapman give us the answer. You feel truly loved when you have words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service and gifts in your life. All people basically have these needs, but one of them is your primary love language. If you don’t get enough of this, you don’t feel loved.
Okay, slow down. That’s supposed to be that simple? Strangely enough, in my 25 years of consulting work with all age groups and couples from all social classes, I have experienced that this is true. Gary Chapmann explains in his book “The 5 Love Languages” (www.5lovelanguages.com) how it works. Basically all people have the need for these 5 things:
1. Words of Affirmation
Everyone needs affirmation, praise and encouragement. Isn’t it the stuff all Hollywood movies are on? A little girl who wants to be like a princess all her life. And finally, as an adult, the Prince (or whoever) comes and confirms them: You are beautiful, unique, something special. We all long to get that affirmation. Not just little girls! The boys, too, want to hear that they have done something really well, performed outstandingly and are perhaps even a hero.
2. Physical Touch
We all need physical touch. Maybe you know about this study from the 13th century. At that time Emperor Frederick II had divided up newborns in order to find out what the most important human need was. One group was just fed and diapered. There was no physical attention, stroking, etc. The second group was besides feeding and wrapping also taken on the arm and stroked. The entire first group of babies died. Physical touch is a basic human need. We feel loved when someone touches us. In partnership, that doesn’t necessarily have to be sexuality.
3. Quality Time
Quality time means that the person you are talking to devotes himself entirely to you. You really listen to each other, spend time together and look into each other’s eyes. You do something nice together, go for a cup of coffee, go on a trip, go for a walk, etc. This togetherness means to be together as a couple, not as part of a group or family.
4. Acts of Service
You feel loved when people help you. The opposite always illustrates how strong such a need is. How do you feel when you don’t know what to do in school and nobody cares? How do you feel when you are totally overwhelmed with work and your partner is sitting on the coach watching TV? Even though you’re the one who always helps him?
5. Receiving Gifts
Not only on Valentine’s Day do we enjoy gifts. The price is not the decisive factor. A gift means my partner thought of me in the time we were separated and took the trouble to buy or make something for me, or, or.
Your primary love language
Each humans needs all 5 love languages, however one language is always much more strongly developed: Your primary love language. If this love language is brought towards you, you feel properly loved. Maybe you prefer to be alone with your partner, to make a trip, to talk to him. Then you are often frustrated when your partner rarely has time for you or you are never alone at your rendez vous, family or friends are always present. Or you have the love language gifts, but your partner never brings you anything. Not even a flower. Or you just need to be held in your arms, like to go hand in hand or love to cuddle up on the sofa with your partner while watching TV. Then it’s as if your partner has a problem with you if he doesn’t like to exchange little caresses in public. Or he prefers to sit alone in his armchair watching television. Maybe you also think: Great, my partner constantly brings me flowers and tells me how much he loves me, but he doesn’t even pick up his dirty laundry or take out the garbage. Or he keeps cleaning up after you, but you have the feeling he doesn’t love you because he never tells you.
The right way to love
Find out your own love language. Think about what you’d miss the most if your partner didn’t do that. Your partner should do the same: What does he need? How would he feel loved? Usually your own love language is the one you also give to your partner. Of course, because you think you can show your love with it. So ask him what he thinks, what your love language is. However, your partner will most likely speak a different language. If you know each other’s love language, you can meet your partner as he needs and desires.
The result is: You’ll find the right way to love.
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