When I was married to my first wife and we started struggling, we both read The 5 Love Languages by pastor and marriage counsellor Gary Chapman.
Chapman’s book states that there are five different ways that individuals best understand and express love. When a person’s love language is “spoken” to them regularly, they feel truly loved by their partner, or their “love tank” is full.
Watch: Dating Horoscopes. Post continues below.
The 5 love languages are:
- Gifts (thoughtful tokens, not just expensive diamonds but can be),
- Physical Touch (hugs, hand-holding, touches, caresses, sexual intimacy, etc.),
- Quality Time (having connected, active time together),
- Acts of Service (such as cooking a meal, cleaning the bathroom, filling up your car with gas), and
- Words of Affirmation (verbal praise such as compliments).
Even without taking the assessment offered in the book and online, I knew my love language was Words of Affirmation.
Read more: Find out what your love language is here.
I’ve always wanted to be praised, complimented, and assured by my romantic partners.
When I met my current wife, we discussed each of our love languages and how best to “speak” them to one another. We were both divorced, and we were intent on not repeating the same mistakes of our first marriages.
Her love language is Physical Touch.
One day I put my hand on her lower back as we were walking out of a store, and she said to me, “I really appreciate how much you touch me. My parents were never affectionate with me growing up, and it’s so nice to have a partner who’s comfortable doing that for me.”
When she said that, I realised that my love language, Words of Affirmation, was also what I hadn’t had as a child.
I played soccer when I was in high school, and I was a pretty damn good player. My parents wanted me to succeed, so when my dad attended my matches, he’d sit in the stands and record the game.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t recording the game because he wanted to praise how I’d scored four times.
He was recording all of the times where I’d messed up. His intentions were good. He wanted me to be the best I could be, but he did that through critiquing and criticising everywhere I fell short, and it wasn’t just in soccer either.
It didn’t matter how near-perfect I got, there were places I fell short. There were areas of weakness, places I could improve, and he was certain to let me know what exactly those were.