Image courtesy of Flows of Ly (@flowsofly)
Love Languages 
You may have heard about love languages. Love languages are the way in which we communicate and receive love within a relationship.

And crucially- it is very rare for both partners to speak the same language.

One partner might really feel loved when their partner gives words of affirmation, for example;‘you were amazing when you were doing that the other day,’ or it’s your birthday and you’re celebrating with friends and he makes a toast about your brilliance. This is what some people need to hear, to feel the love from their partner.

Whereas for other people,those words would have less impact in terms of feeling seen and loved, than if their partner gave them an incredible gift for their birthday or surprised them one day with a massive bunch of flowers for no reason.

If you don’t speak your partner’s love language, and don’t hear it when it’s expressed, then it’s a bit like one of you speaking chinese and the other one Russian. Neither of you will understand what the other is trying to communicate.

It’s therefore really important to not only identify your love language, but to learn to speak- and to hear-  your partner’s love language as well.
The five main love languages are:
Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Receiving Gifts

Acts of Service

Physical Touch
So, what’s your language?
I didn’t need to do ‘the test’ ( to know that I LOVE physical touch but did it I did. And yep, computer says my primary love language is physical touch, and the language I’d LEAST be likely to use to communicate love to my partner is acts of service.

My partner did the test. HIS primary love language was acts of service. The. Very. Language. I. Do. Not. Speak. Well. At. All.

You’d have thought that after over 10 years together, there’d be no surprises here. But it genuinely did give me pause for thought.

Because acts of service isn’t something I naturally choose to speak, or hear, as an expression of love, I do not always interpret his cleaning the kitchen, busting his ass at work, or sorting out the thing online as his way of showing how much he loves and cares for me and for our family.

Instead, i’ll give him shit for not giving me a proper hug when he gets back from work and get annoyed when we’re walking down the street and he doesn’t instinctively reach for my hand.

Because physical touch is my primary love language, when I don’t hear it being spoken by him I can assume he doesn’t care. I can catastrophise and look at other couples wrapped around each other’s arns in the pub with envy and assume there’s something wrong with my relationship in comparison.

Likewise, me doing a half arsed sweep of a cloth around the kitchen counters last thing at night, or moaning about always buying the nappies, frustrates him. He feels undervalued, like I assume he’ll do it, and that all the acts of service he does do in comparison aren’t being appreciated or valued by me.

As a result of us doing the test, we have learnt something about each other and our respective needs. We’ve both been naturally motivated to start speaking each other’s love language a bit more- he’s kissing me more, I’m taking the bins out a bit more frequently- and as a result there is a greater sense of connection, understanding, and indeed love and appreciation for each other.
And what’s your bitchin’?
Another way of recognizing your respective love languages is to note the criticisms you are levelling at your partner, and vice versa.

Typically we criticise our partner in the area we have the deepest emotional need.

“You never acknowledge when I’ve done a good job”-  I need words of affirmation

“ We’ve been like ships in the night all week and all you want to do know is veg out in front of the tv”-  I value quality time

“I can’t believe you just gave me some money to buy myself what I wanted for my birthday”- Receiving gifts makes me feel loved 

“You only touch me when you want sex!!!!”- Physical Touch is my way of understanding, and communicating, love. 

“ Why do I always have to be the one to get up with the baby?”- I need Acts of Service are being offered in order to feel seen, loved, and valued 

Remember- it’s love LANGUAGES we’re talking about here....
Do. Not. Expect. Your. Partner. To. Mind. Read.

Spell. It. Out. 

(If. Needs. Be.)

If it’s p’ssing you off that they aren’t speaking or understanding your language, teach them.

Make list of 3-4 things you would like your partner to do that would make you feel loved- and give that to them.

For example, if your love language is quality time, a list like below could be just the thing they need from you to understand that “THIS IS HOW I FEEL LOVED”
  • Booking a date
  • Putting phones away at dinner
  • Going to bed together at the same time
  • Having one day in the weekend where we don’t make plans with other people. 

Further tips and resources: 
- Be patient while they learn your language, and while you learn their’s.
- Get curious. Is the thing they are bitching about showing a need? 
- Do the test:
- Read the book: ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman
- Build multi-linguistic skills and relationship fluency by booking a 1:1 session with me :)