Whether it’s words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch or gifts, the common thread is expressing and receiving love in a language you appreciate and understand. Four millennials weigh in.
I think love languages are the foundation of every personal relationship. Whether its words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time or physical touch, these are the ways we share our feels. And communication with understanding is so important. I actually only very recently discovered that my primary love language is physical touch. So, I asked Google and took a quiz haha, we are children of the web after all. It was quite helpful, but also, this year has been an extremely challenging one for me.
Due to a variety of circumstances, I have been forced to self-evaluate and learn more about myself to first of all, see the mistakes I have made which led to the failure of a 3-year relationship and the damage of a few friendships along the way and secondly, to own my short-comings, work on them and grow as an individual. I guess not knowing what it was exactly what I craved from my loved ones or partners created some level of disconnect or miscommunication in all my relationships. I grew up in a home with a bit of a cold, unaffectionate father, so I naturally saw seeking physical affection or touch as an annoyance or even weakness. It was something I would never initiate. I would wait for my mom to hug me or stroke my hair or I would wait for my friends to initiate the hello and goodbye hugs. When it came to boyfriends and girlfriends, I expected them to make the first move, to hold my hand or kiss me. And if the other individual didn’t initiate, I would feel less appreciated, less important, less loved. But only in those instances and unknowingly.
Knowing your love language helps in the sense that from the get-go, you know what your needs are and you are more likely to be assertive when it comes to communicating them to others and having them satisfied. I definitely am more self-aware. When I broke up with my ex, I instinctively blamed the failure of the relationship on her shortcomings and us just not being a good match overall. But upon reflection I see that I failed too, I failed to cater to her needs through her love languages which I know now were quality time and receiving gifts. And those were not high on my list of priorities. I now look for traits in potential friends or partners that would lead to a fulfilling and positive experience for us both. I also try accommodate others by speaking their love languages now that I know that this is the key to better communication and more importantly letting others know that they are appreciated, loved and respected in ways that resonate with them.
During my last relationship, someone mentioned Love Languages and told me to do the quiz online. It was incredibly interesting to see my love language “ranked” in order of relevance. I guess I just went with what felt the most natural and what brought me/us the most happiness. Sometimes things didn’t please both of us, but that’s what communication is for. This awareness also clears any confusion that comes with receiving and showing love/affection. When you know what your and your partner’s preferences are it becomes an easier, less stressful thing. Normally being in a relationship can cause insecurities and anxieties to flare up, but talking about how to best give/receive love/affection definitely clears the air. I definitely think I’m more conscious about the way I express love/affection, but I’m also not scared to admit the ways I prefer to receive it too. Good, effective communication between you and your partner will always be key to a healthy relationship. I think it’s extremely important to not invalidate anyone else’s feelings/emotions. I always find it fascinating to hear what others’ Love
Languages are, and enjoy discussing them in-depth. At the core, this inspires decent, honest communication between partners. I think on a personal level, their importance helps the individual get to know themselves a lot deeper, and when you know yourself and what you want, it automatically makes the relationship easier. Also, don’t fight it.
If you and a potential partner are not matching and it’s causing unhappiness, don’t force a connection. Rather wait for the right person who will meet you at every point. After all, life is way too short for an unfulfilling relationship.
Every Sunday, Alex cooks potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, boiled eggs, roasted butternut, and all manner of other healthy food, dictated by my strict runner’s diet. Every night, I come to a home-cooked meal – think slow-cooked curry or marinaded meat. He gets up at 3 am on a Sunday to support me at races, and when he can see I’ve had a rough day and I’m feeling tired and emotional, he’ll accompany me to the track and stand at the side with a stopwatch. (He did that the other week, even though he has a broken foot at the moment and it upset him to see people enjoying running when he couldn’t do it.) Then, he’ll do more than his normal share of the responsibilities around the house to relieve the pressure on me. He shows an interest in the things I care about, even helping me research the articles I’m writing. ‘
I clean our flat, from top to bottom, and do the laundry, carefully folding his clothes and putting them away in his cupboard. The best part? His face when he climbs into a freshly made bed that smells of lavender fabric conditioner. I too get up at 3 am to watch him participate in triathlons. I’m probably the loudest, proudest most enthusiastic supporter at his races, and I lie on the floor to take the best photos of him in action, so he’s got memories. As I mentioned, he’s broken his foot. I’m doing all the driving and heavy lifting at the moment because I want him to heal quickly so that he can return to doing what he loves. His love language is quality time. We’re fortunate we both like sport, and it’s a passion we sometimes share. We find a connection when we’re both side by side, pushing ourselves until we feel like we’re going to puke on a Watt bike.
He loves sharing experiences and quality conversations, but there are are other times when just being around me is enough, even if we’re not really doing anything. He loves to be hugged after a long day and hear supportive words. Understanding how your partner loves and wants to be loved is vital. Alex and I aren’t always physically and emotionally perfect, because life happens and we often bring our shit home with us. It’s understanding this that makes our relationship work. We’ll go the extra mile to support each other, even if it means doing something we don’t particularly enjoy or that won’t benefit us, and we’ll offer words of encouragement and support. Our home is a safe space, where we won’t be judged and someone is proud of us. Neither of us would go to so much effort if we didn’t love each other.
Words of affirmation is my love language. I only recently discovered it after a friend recommended taking the quiz. I’ve always heard of the 5 love languages but I never really understood it or the purpose thereof. After my partner, Cody and I took the test it actually created many “Oohs and Aahs’ as so many things now made sense. I could understand him way better than I did before. We have different love languages so it made so much sense once discovering that we operate differently therefore the ways in which we show love is also different.
With Words of Affirmation being my primary love language and my partners being Acts of Service which is actually the lowest on my profile. It creates a good balance in our relationship and also helps us to continually be considerate of one another; our feelings and also the things we appreciate our partners doing for us. I am able to understand my own needs as well as my partners and not act selfishly in any way. I have most definitely become more self-aware. I don’t just do things impulsively or jump down his throat. The process truly helps you understand yourself better and to be more self-less instead of selfish. I am about to get married in six months so it is vital that I take into consideration my partners love language especially since it’s so different to mine. Understanding the love languages equips you in other ways to understand your partner and their needs when “words” sometimes fails. Identifying your love language alleviates the communication barrier and allows you to connect in more meaningful ways. After all, we are all different and have different needs so it is important that when it comes to relationships, we are able to consider our partners feelings and not just our own.