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I used to think he just didn’t care. Or that something was wrong with me. I would think, “What am I doing so wrong that I can’t feel loved in our marriage? Is he just not trying? How have we failed?” Many times over the first few years of our marriage this came up. And boy was it disheartening. I thought we had made the wrong choice – that he wasn’t the one, or that I wasn’t deserving of love. Little did I know…we just still had a lot to learn.
Do you feel loved? Do you…REALLY?!
While feelings aren’t everything (and shouldn’t play the definitive role in making any major decisions) feeling loved IS important. I’ve talked before about how I believe and seen how love is a choice. & feelings can be fleeting but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important.
The first step to righting this confusion is knowing HOW you need to be loved. One of the biggest pitfalls (that took entirely too long for us to discern) Andrew & I encountered during our first few years of marriage was that we didn’t necessarily love each other the way we NEEDED to be loved. We loved each other FOR SURE but we learned we had different love languages. And Andrew was giving in his love language and I giving in mine and both falling short of what the other truly needed to be seen and felt.
Let’s start at the beginning by identifying the five love languages. If you haven’t heard of these, the five love languages are the general ways that every one of us might receive and give love. In every relationship (but especially those in our immediate circles) if we want them to feel the love, it’s important for us to try to express it in a way that they will receive.
The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, receiving gifts, and acts of service.
Using words to affirm and validate others. For those whose primary love language is words of affirmation language, hearing “I love you” and other compliments are what they value the most. On the flip side, negative or insulting comments hurt deep — and won’t be easily moved beyond or forgiven.
[Side Note: This is Andrew’s primary love language and ironically the area I LEAST relate to. I’ll share more on this later but it’s taken a BIG conscious effort to cultivate this in our relationship but I’m so thankful I have!]
Quality time is all about giving the person your undivided attention. People who value quality time love spending true uninterrupted time and it makes them feel comforted and valued. Distractions, postponed time together, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
For some people, they feel most loved when they receive tangible gifts. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person is materialistic or needs to be lavished with expensive things but a thoughtful present goes a long way to making them feel appreciated.
For people whose love language is acts of service – actions are key. These people want others to recognize that they struggle and desire for help in any way possible. Lending a hand or just doing sweet unexpected things for them is gold. People who exhibit this trait don’t do well with broken promises or in situations where it seems like more work was actually created for them.
[Side Note: This is my ‘primary’ love language (yes we all have multiple)! A lot of times I keep my head down and end up doing things myself because I’ve found it’s easier than having my feelings hurt because I didn’t get helped in the way I needed. In recent years Andrew has truly stepped up, seen the need and served me and it has radically changed, in a beautiful way how we relate to each other.]
These people crave physical connections. Handholding, kissing, snuggling up, any type of reaffirming physical contact is greatly appreciated. A person who speaks the language of physical touch isn’t necessarily an over-the-top PDAer, but making sure there is a closeness established affirms them. OBVIOUSLY for these people any type of physical abuse is a huge NO no.
NOTE: Ladies, ha – I know you are probably thinking – isn’t every guy drawn by physical touch?! We will talk about this a bit more in-depth during subsequent blogs but sex and physical touch are NOT the same. While yes for just about every male sexual intimacy is super important don’t just assume that physical touch is a primary love language. Here we are referring to common affection and closeness.
Now that you know what they are, find out how you love and how you need to be loved! Take the quiz here: The Five Love Languages Quiz
Now that we’ve talked about what the love languages are – I’m excited for this series where subsequent posts will go more in-depth on each love language and what it PRACTICALLY looks like to love in those ways.
Love, Yours Truly
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Sources: She Knows.com
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