Communicating with your new baby can be a challenge, to say the least. The word “da” can mean anything from “I need a new diaper” to “You never told me I couldn’t write on the walls.” But you work at teaching your child the words, so that eventually the two of you are speaking the same language.
This same concept can be applied to communicating with your partner. While your child is learning a new language, you should be learning your partner’s love language.
Ineffective communication equals no communication
We are often told that the key to a strong relationship is communication. Though this may be the case, it’s perhaps better to say that the key to a strong relationship is effective communication.
You may find it easy to talk to your partner – to shower her with praise and compliments. So why are there still difficulties in the relationship? It could be because your partner speaks a love language that places less importance on compliments and more on quality time together. And, speaking the wrong language translates into ineffective communication.
The five love languages
Gary Chapman spells out the subject of love languages in his book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. In it, he states that individuals speak one (or perhaps more) of the following love languages:
- Words of Affirmation, which include verbal compliments or words of appreciation;
- Quality Time, which means giving someone your undivided attention;
- Receiving Gifts, which means giving visual symbols of love;
- Acts of Service, which means doing things you know your partner would like you to do; or
- Physical Touch, which can mean, for example, holding hands, kissing, embracing or sexual intercourse.
Put simply, if your partner’s love language is Physical Touch, then she would rather you give her a massage than a dozen roses (Receiving Gifts). Or, if your partner’s love language is Quality Time, she would rather you spend 30 minutes talking with her on the couch instead of 30 minutes cleaning the garage (Acts of Service). If you’re not speaking the right language, your partner will feel unloved.
Chapman’s book includes a profile to help you and your partner find out what love language each of you speaks. And once you find out, there are exercises you can use to help you speak your partner’s language.