How To Navigate a Relationship With Different Love Languages
Communicating is one of the foundational pillars to any relationship, but how you communicate love is arguably just as important. In order to know the best way to communicate what you need with your partner to feel loved, you need to figure out what your love language is. Your love language dictates the various ways in which you give and receive love in different ways and, by knowing your preferences for both yourself and others from the start, you’ll have an easier way of navigating both conflict and connection.
The Five Love Languages
So, what are the various love languages? There are five: acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch. Acts of service might be little things like your partner getting you a glass of water every night before bed or laying out your pajamas. Receiving gifts might be you or your partner picking up a cookie in the store that you know the other one likes, just because you know they like it. Quality time is giving your undivided attention to the other person; words of affirmation are assurances to your partner that you love them and care about them. Physical touch is, well, physically touching.
Figuring Out Your Love Language Combination
The love language you choose to show love and the one you best like to receive may be different from one another or the same or a combination of the above. Whatever they are, you and your partner should have an open conversation about what each of your preferences are.
Being Realistic As You Develop a New Mindset
“This is an opportunity for growth and opportunity to expand the repertoire in your relationship to show love in multiple ways,” explained Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, to Elite Daily. “If a partner doesn't speak your love language, it is going to take time for them to develop the mindset and the habits to consistently meet that love language. Just start from scratch and be very specific about what you both can do for the other person, and then be realistic about taking time to develop the mindset.”
Compromising Is the Secret Sauce
What do you do if you and your partner’s languages are entirely different? Well, it’s important to be open to compromise, says Lifehack.org. The publication concedes that while “learning to compromise isn’t easy,” it’s crucial for “anyone who wants their relationship to work.”
Getting Uncomfortable for Love
“Relationships are all about give and take. So, what do you do if your partner’s love language is Physical Touch and you can’t stand to hold hands for longer than two minutes? Well, you learn to hold hands, hug, and cuddle,” they suggest. “You do this even though it makes you slightly uncomfortable because you care about expressing your love in a way your significant other will understand.”
When in Doubt, Talk it Out
There’s also always the best fall-back: Talk it out. It can be a fun and intimate activity to talk to your partner candidly about what you both need to grow together and move forward as a couple.