Learning Each Other's Love Languages
This year marks the 25th anniversary of “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. The book is not only a classic for how to love well in relationships, but it’s also helped me solve a number of conflicts with people that I deeply care for. It’s amazing how things change when we learn how we give and receive love.
I’ve been blessed with an amazing girlfriend. After deciding to drive south together on New Years Day, she excitedly called to tell me that she had planned the whole trip. “Planned?”, I said. She went on to tell me that she had calculated everything so we wouldn’t be stressed. She had found a fun place for dinner, places where the weather might be tricky, and even spots to gas up, along the way. I was impressed! I’m a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of guy. When traveling, I ask Siri to find the nearest taco joint when I’m hungry, grab gas when the needle hits “E”, and Google a hotel (or call her to help me find one) when I’m tired. Needless to say, she’s my better half.
When your significant other is a planner, it becomes easy to rely on this. I know that I’m guilty of it. I’d rather have her take the reins because, chances are, her plan will be better than mine (if I even have one). The only issue is that her love language is “Acts of Service”, something that I self-admittedly suck at. By relying on her to make the plans, not only am I not serving her but, in her eyes, I’m not loving her. Serving is one of my lowest scoring categories, when it comes to love languages. Seeing opportunities to help doesn’t come natural to me. Instead, it’s work and it’s a choice, but so is love.
If you’re feeling unappreciated, there’s a good chance that the person who you’re feeling frustrated with is speaking another love language or missing yours all-together. Communication can easily fix this. I would encourage you to take some time to learn your love languages through a simple assessment. First, ask the other person how you can best show them appreciation using your love languages. Then, share with them how they can best show their appreciation to you. Mention that you’ve struggled with feeling appreciated lately and that you’re committed to improving how you love each other. You might even create a couple of challenges for yourself to better ensure that you’ll follow through.
How we love each other is important. Take time today to love yourself and learn how you can best love the folks in your inner circle, by identifying love languages.