EDITORIAL: Don’t Misunderstand Me: Learning Your Partner’s Love Language
Love is in the air – or is it the smell of another holiday that has been marketed beyond recognition? Either way, Valentine’s Day is almost here in all its polarizing glory. Singles are either depressed or relieved, and those with partners are probably reading this and saying, “Oh shit, is it this week?!
Many couples feel compelled to pay exorbitant sums on gifts or dinners, sometimes to mend a difficult relationship or prove the fervor of their love. But these types of costly gestures can fall flat, leaving the receiving partner feeling overwhelmed and awkward while the giver feels their efforts are unappreciated.
If this sounds familiar, you and your partner may have different love languages.
The concept of love language originated in Gary Chapman’s book ‘The 5 Love Languages’, originally published in 1992,” states that there are five love languages that people tend to identify with. According to him, these are words of affirmation, physical contact, receiving gifts, quality time and acts of service.
Whether they realize it or not, the majority of people already know their favorite love language, the one they “speak”, in other words. If you feel most loved or loved when someone brings you a surprise coffee on the way home, your love language is probably to receive gifts. If holding your partner’s hand is the most important part of your grocery shopping excursion, it’s probably physical contact, etc.
Of course, it’s common and possible to have more than one love language, but there’s usually one that matters most to an individual. And while Chapman’s categories are nice and neat, love, like any other language, has its nuances beyond those compartments.
Some have even argued for a sixth love language: distance or personal space. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it makes sense given that many people would see themselves as an exception to their partner’s need for alone time and in turn would be offended by a request for space.
Knowing your love language and being able to identify what you need is important for any relationship. But it’s just as important that you know your partner’s love language and be able to speak it.
Let’s say your love language gets gifts, but your partner’s is words of affirmation. Instead of saying “I love you,” give them a Valentine’s Day necklace, which might make them feel like you’re trying to buy their affection or don’t care. Of course, that’s not true at all, you love them! But you express it in the way that matters most to you, not to them.
Now, instead of having a romantic evening, you’re trying to figure out what you did wrong, and your partner insists you shouldn’t care if you can’t even tell them you did. love.
You may not speak the same love language as your partner, but that doesn’t mean your relationship won’t work out. It just means you’ll have to pay special attention to what makes them the happiest. If it’s hard to say, just ask them. It might sound weird, but chances are they appreciate you wanting to get it right. After all, basic communication is necessary for any partnership, regardless of your respective love languages.
When you’re in a relationship, especially if you spend a lot of time together, it can be easy to lose part of your identity and at the same time forget your individual status outside of the relationship. This person you now call your boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, etc., has lived an entire life until they met you. During that time, they have become someone you have the privilege of knowing and loving.
Remember that people are not machines that you put affection into in exchange for validation, sex, or whatever else you want from them. If you can’t take the time to learn what really matters most to someone and show them that you care about them, then you really shouldn’t be looking to get into a relationship.
So before you take the leap this Valentine’s Day and shower your partner with expensive gifts or regale them with an epic ballad, stop and ask yourself if what you’re giving is more like something you’d want from them. . On the other hand, if you’re just considering putting gas in their car and ordering Wendy’s (which honestly sounds pretty good), make sure it’s as meaningful a gesture to them as it is to you. .
From everyone at Montclarion, have a happy Valentine’s Day!