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According to marriage expert and author Dr Gary Chapman, there are 5 Love Languages; Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. Each on of us has a primary and secondary love language. Understanding which language of love you and your partner prefer could help smooth out turbulent communication or better still, boost your love life to another level. Here is a bit more insight about each of the love languages with tips from personal experience and mindfulness coaching given to my clients.
Words of Affirmation
Some people are naturally “chatty”, you know those social butterflies who love to communicate albeit in person or via technology? For these people actions DO NOT speak louder than words. People with this love language, love words, its like music to their ears so affirmations like “l love you” or sincere heartfelt compliments feed their soul sending them into fits of affection. However, insults can be deeply hurtful leaving wounds that are not easily forgotten. Use positive, kind words that are empowering when dealing with a person with this love language.
Tip: Send surprise text messages from time to time or leave handwritten notes around the home with encouraging words that affirm affection like, “I love you” or “I really appreciate you” or “You are special to me”. If you don’t like communicating much or naturally prefer your own space but your partner is “chatty” perhaps set reminders in your smartphone to send a love affirming text or phone call from time to time.
“Its not the gift but the thought that counts” this quote has much truth in it. Receiving gifts is not necessarily about being greedy or materialistic but often the receiver of gifts is elated by the effort, thought and love underpinning the process. If this language of love speaks to you, the ideal gift will illustrate that you are understood, valued and cared for. A forgotten birthday, anniversary, or a gift chosen in haste would be disastrous. Gifts are a treasure to these people, a tangible representation of love.
Tip: For a birthday or anniversary, a personalised meaningful gift may show that you understand your partner and value them. You could try making a card using photographs or images of a special memory like your first date or first holiday. Remember it’s the thought you put into the gift that really matters.
Acts of Service
Actions DO speak louder than words or gifts for some people. For this primary language of love, practical gestures can demonstrate deep affection. Any act of service to your partner that eases their burden can boost the bond of love. The person who speaks actions will love to see you take daily stresses away like household chores to free them up to have time for self-care (going to the gym or having a relaxing treatment). Equally understanding that your partner is under immense stress at work can speak volumes in love by simple actions like running a bath or giving them space to unwind after a long day. On the contrary, creating extra work for them in this language is saying that their feelings don’t matter.
Tip: Create an atmosphere of balance in the relationship by taking a step back to reflect which actions in your relationship make your partner’s life easier or difficult and vice versa.
Giving your complete undivided attention is an act of love in itself. When you are completely there in the moment with your partner in mind body and spirit the energy of love can unfold beautifully and be felt by your partner. This can be so powerful that words are not needed. You see, being fully in the moment with your partner boosts the love connection by making your partner feel truly loved and special. There is nothing more insulting or hurtful than constantly attending to distractions like the TV, phone or simply not listening. Quality time means “being together” and “doing things together” like activities or hobbies.
Tip: When spending anytime with your partner be fully present in the moment. All they want is to be in your company, so be sure to put your phone on silent and give them the attention they deserve.
Physical touch is not all about sex. Some people are “touchy-feely” by nature and their primary love language may be physical touch. These people love giving and showing affection. Touch can be used to communicate a host of emotions connected to love; like excitement, concern or care and it can strengthen the bond between you because it embodies security, nourishment and belonging which is crucial in any relationship.
Tip: A simple hug, arm around the shoulder or kiss on the cheek can mean more than any words.
Take a step back and reflect to understand what yours and your partner’s primary love language is. Observe the way they express love to others, analyse what they complain about most often, and what they request from you most often. Whatever your primary love language is, it is natural to express love in the way you prefer to receive it. By taking a step back to understand the love language that speaks to you and your partner, you could be opening up heartfelt communication and commitment.
Bio: Mita Mistry is a Mindfulness Coach, Acupuncturist, Newspaper Columnist and expert in holistic care of chronic diseases and mental health. www.mitamistry.co.uk/go/thepowerofmindfulness/