Read the language of love

A lot of problems would vanish from our lives if we understood everyone expresses love differently

Have you noticed how people express love differently? Take something as simple as greeting people. I come from a culture where people greet each other by planting a peck on each cheek. A former boyfriend’s family had to explain to me that I couldn’t just kiss every person they introduced me to. It’s not that it was considered a bad thing; people just weren’t used to it and got embarrassed.

In a similar manner, we all express romantic love differently. It’s unique to each person. How you express love for your significant other depends on a myriad of factors, from how physically affectionate your parents were when you were growing up to trauma, like domestic abuse.

According to The Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman, there are 5 love languages: 1. Words of affirmation 2. Quality time 3. Receiving gifts 4. Acts of service 5. Physical touch.

While growing up, I was very close to my father. I still am. He showed his affection very openly. I got lots of kisses and cuddles and loved every one of them. In return, my father loves being told that he is wonderful and that he is loved. Basically, our love language mainly involved words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time.

Thankfully for me, my current boyfriend is similar to my father. He needs lots of cuddles and words of love. Our love languages match. But what happens when your love languages don’t? For example, what if you like spending quality time with your partner but he expresses love by giving you gifts? You might end feeling like he is ‘buying’ your love and he might feel like you don’t appreciate the effort he puts into getting you nice gifts. What do you do?

The first step is to know what your love language is; only when you know what you expect from a partner will you be able to move forward. If you’re confused about what you want, imagine how confused your partner would be.

No one’s a mind reader. Your partner will not know that you are unhappy because he got home late from work and didn’t get enough time with you. He may think that by bringing you flowers, he was making up for it. So please go ahead and tell him why you are feeling upset. It will help you both understand how to work through your problems as a couple.

I’m not saying that you should change who you are completely just because you want to make your relationship work. But compromises on small things are part of a healthy relationship. Accepting the odd gift here and there won’t undermine who you are. He must compromise as well by spending more time with you.
Relationships work even if people don’t express love in similar ways. You just have to be proactive about it.

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