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I often have people tell me that they don’t feel at all loved by their partner. Yet if I ask the partner, they say that of course they love him or her. So why is this?
Imagine we all have an emotional fuel tank within us. And when our fuel tank runs dry, we need to refill it, in order to keep functioning. And to refuel, we don’t all go to the same gas station. We have preferences.
It’s the same with refilling our own emotional tanks. We have preferences. We don’t all like the same thing, in order to feel topped up!
It has been suggested by Pastor Gary Chapman, who wrote about The Five Love Languages [i], that we all need one or two of the following things from our partner, in order to feel loved and cherished by that person. One way of feeling loved is not better or more correct than another. It is a preference
Have you got to the point in your relationship where you start to imagine what it would be like to be with someone else? And then you question whether or not you chose the right partner, and perhaps you should have waited a bit longer before getting married?
Sure, you remember starting out with strong feelings for each other – you can remember the chemistry between you, and how you couldn’t keep your hands off each other! But these feelings have waned. Now you often don’t want him to even touch you.
Or perhaps you’ve hit a plateau in your relationship and you’re just ‘housemates’ and can’t seem to get past it. You’re frustrated. Maybe you don’t have sex anymore and you don’t know how or what to do to get started on relationship-building activities to regain the emotional and physical intimacy you shared when you first got together.
This is one of the biggest challenges we see couples struggle with. They want to get back that feeling they had at the beginning of their relationship… that feeling of being connected, of being cherished by their partner. Of being valued and respected and totally absorbed with one another.
1. Affirmations. This person needs to hear their partner affirm them – the words of appreciation and positive comments indicate respect and love. If you are a Words of Affirmation person, then your ears play a major part. If your partner’s tone is irritable or sarcastic, you will indeed feel NOT loved. And if your ears hear criticism, it will feel like a rejection. (Words of criticism are the opposite of words of affirmation!)
2. Acts of Service. An Acts person feels loved when their partner does things for them, especially without being asked. An Acts person still feels loved if after asking, the task is completed without her/him having to make repeated requests. Asking again and again for a job to be done leaves an Acts person feeling completely unloved.
3. Receiving gifts. If you are a Gifts person, then the greater the value of the gift (eg diamond ring, expensive shirt), the more cherished you feel.
4. Time together, to communicate, to discuss plans or events. Or perhaps not even to talk much, just spending time together in the same proximity – shopping together, or gardening, or reading. Or cooking together, sharing an activity that you both enjoy.
5. Physical. This person needs physical contact to feel loved. Not necessarily sex, but physical touch. This is the person who likes to snuggle whilst watching TV, hold hands or hug. The person who loves to link legs in bed, or if often reaching out to stroke the other person. A person who is physical needs that touch to feel loved, and if it is missing, can feel alone and unloved in a relationship.
Chapman says that individuals typically have one primary and one secondary “love language” – be it affirmations, quality time, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch.
For example, if you like to perform acts of service for people, it is highly likely that your primary way of receiving love is through acts of service.
If you don’t know which one of the five ways to give and receive love is your most preferred, ask yourself, “What have I most often requested of my partner?” That will most likely be your primary “love language” – the way you most like to receive love.
Gosling International’s Love Languages Profiler (LLP) Quiz (adapted from The 5 Love Languages® profile by Dr. Gary Chapman), has been designed to help you determine the opportunities you have to demonstrate to your partner how you like to receive love or be loved by him or her to have your need for love fulfilled. It will give you a thorough analysis of your emotional communication preference. It will single out your primary love language, what it means, and how you can use it to connect with your loved one with intimacy and fulfillment.
When you download the profile PDF below you will see 20 statements, which are answered on an anchored rating scale. Please rate the statement (1 – 5) that best defines what is most meaningful to you the majority of the time in your relationship. Allow 10 to 15 minutes to complete the profile. Take it when you are relaxed, and try not to rush through it. This profile is for ages 18 and older.
[i] Adapted from Chapman, G. (2000) The five love languages. How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate. Strand Publishing, Sydney.
You have now discovered what your and your partner’s love language is… What do you do with that? How do you apply it in your marriage? What does it actually mean? What you really want is to be Soulmates…