A friend says she feels like her spouse doesn’t love her. “He never tells me he loves me like he used to when we were first dating.” Her spouse, on the other hand, wonders how she can feel unloved. He tells her loves her by the things he does for her. Like he notices when the gas is low in her car and fills the tank. Or he replenishes the birdfeeder so she can enjoy her bird watching hobby. He is mystified that she feels unloved when he so obviously—to him—performs acts of love for her daily.
These two need to learn their spouse’s love language. That is, people express themselves in different ways. If you are unaware of how much love your spouse is sending your way, your emotional relationship can become strained. Everyone needs love in their lives, and the more love you get from your spouse, the more you can feel your relationship is on solid footing. The better you feel, the happier you are.
Here are some ways different people express love.
- Verbally—saying I love you. The verbal folks among us need to hear the words frequently and often. However, a cursory, robotic “I love you” won’t do. Tone and inflection are important to underscore sincerity. Also, elaboration helps. “I love the way your eyebrows go up when you’re talking enthusiastically about tennis.” When seldom is heard an encouraging word, verbal people feel unloved. The phrase “I love you” and other supporting words are important.
- Giving gifts—symbols of love. This isn’t crass materialism. This is thoughtfulness expressed with everything from a pretty pinecone picked up on a walk to—well, okay, diamonds are always correct. But seriously, tokens of love are important to some as a language of love. It’s the thought behind these tokens that speaks volumes. Bringing your love a pinecone means you were thinking about him when you were alone in the woods and that you wanted to share nature’s beauty with him. A gift of love.
- Spending time—giving your full attention. There’s nothing so flattering as someone who gives you quality time, focusing entirely on you. Some people show their love by setting aside special time without TVs or phones or other devices. Just uninterrupted time with the person you love talking or soaking up a sunset or taking a walk. When you make an effort to set aside time to be with your beloved, that is an act of love.
- Getting physical—just a touch will do. Of course sex is a great way to express your love. But some people need the reassurance of a touch on the arm as you pass by in the hall. Or maybe holding hands as you listen to a concert that moves you. Or just being nearby. To people who find a physical touch important, hugs are probably a staple in their life. Timely touches can lend support and assure your partner that you love him.
- Doing—actions speak louder than words. A friend was getting married and she was feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks she had to do. Her fiancé told her to give him her To-Do list, and he systematically went about taking care of every item on her list. That is a man who shows his love by doing things. Like my friend who filled his wife’s gas tank and bird feeder. “Let me do that for you” is saying you want your partner’s life to be easier and happier and you love him enough to help.
When you learn how your partner speaks his love to you, and you recognize how you express love to your partner, you can enjoy a richer, fuller loving relationship.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact