Being in a committed romantic relationship has led me to evaluate the way I want and need to be loved. I lay in bed, pondering what love is and how it manifests in my day to day. Discerning how I express love and how I need love expressed is crucial for building a healthy and loving relationship.
And so I flip to the pages of Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages.
The premise of the book is simple: learn how you and your partner interpret and express love so you can communicate and receive the love you need. Of the many ways to demonstrate love, Chapman suggests there are five core categories or “love languages”. They include Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.
- Words of Affirmation: Many times women want a man to show them how they feel. To feel loved, they need dinners in 5-star restaurants, chocolate covered strawberries, and a bouquet of sunflowers “just because”. This, however, won’t emotionally satisfy a woman who speaks the language of Words of Affirmation. What moves them is loving words and unsolicited compliments porque se enamoran con los oidos.
- Quality Time: How many women complain that their man doesn’t spend enough time with them? How many men feel their girlfriends and/or wives are nags who are never satisfied? “We spend Saturday together!” He boasts, proud of his efforts. “Yes, we did…on the coach…watching the game!” She seethes. To a woman whose love language is Quality Time, sitting beside him for hours isn’t enough. Physical presence isn’t enough. They need undivided attention. Any distractions, including a sports game, a phone conversation and/or texting, will leave them crushed.
- Receiving Gifts: My cousin complains that her co-worker receives fancy gifts and wads of cash from her significant other. She, on other hand, is lucky if her boyfriend buys her a cocktail. My cousin stays with him, however, because her love language isn’t Receiving Gifts. Those who speak this language, on the other hand, wouldn’t stand for such material disregard. But those who need to feel love through gift giving aren’t materialistic. They just need to receive gifts, whether big or small, to feel they are a prize and that their partner is thoughtful.
- Acts of Service: My momma often complains that no one helps her around the house. As soon as my step-father unexpectedly washes the dishes y sazona el pernil without being asked or told, she is all smiles. Mami is a perfect example of a woman who needs acts of service to feel loved. Even if she doesn’t allow him to take over her kitchen and home half the time, it makes her feel appreciated and cherished that he even cared to ask. But follow through is crucial. Talking the talk and not sweeping that floors will surely get him a cocotaso.
- Physical Touch: The frisky couple sitting in your favorite restaurant represents the love language of physical touch. It doesn’t have to be about fucking (or making love if that’s what you do in the bedroom). As a matter a fact, a woman who needs physical touch will be satisfied with a 2-second back rub, a stroke of the cheek, or holding hands. Accessibility and being physically present is also vital. You cannot demonstrate physical touch if you are not there, ready and willing!
Ultimately, we may have more than one love language. My love language is a combination of Words of Affirmation and Quality Time. When my boyfriend utters, “Te quiero mucho,” I blush and my heart flutters. If I don’t hear kind, loving words regularly, I question his love. If there is a change in his amorous communication, I often feel forgotten and neglected. As for quality time, I need real time with my boyfriend where we communicate openly and effectively and simply enjoy one another. Whether it be dinner, the movies, dancing, drinks at bar, or staying in, I need that time to connect with him in order to feel loved.
I know this because I took the time to assess myself and the love that I need to feel fulfilled. My boyfriend, on the other hand, has yet to learn his love language. But you better believe he will be taking the assessment so we are both informed and I can provide the love he need desires and deserves.
I suggest you get to learning about your love languages.
To learn more and take the assessment, go to Gary Chapman’s website.