My husband came home with a dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day a few years ago.
I was thankful but not ‘feeling the love.’ Before you decide I’m an ungrateful spouse, hear me out.
I love flowers. I really do. But for me love is best communicated through words of affirmation.
Gary Chapman, the author, of the bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, describes this as my ‘love language.’
The premise is that each of us has a primary love language.
The five love languages are quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. We all prefer one.
When we identify this particular love language in our spouse and also in ourselves, we can use this knowledge to enhance our relationship.
For example, you may truly love your spouse but if you say “I love you” when your spouse’s love language is ‘acts of service,’ she will not feel it.
Your spouse will register your love if you get her car washed, do the late soccer practice pick-up or replace the burned out light bulb in the kids’ rooms.
Still further, you may feel you are slaving away all day demonstrating your love for your spouse (acts of service), but if your partner’s love language is physical touch, both of you will be frustrated.
The worst part is when you or your spouse’s love language is repeatedly missed over time, the relationship inevitably struggles.
By identifying your spouse’s love language and ‘speaking’ it, you communicate directly: “I see you. I love you. You matter,” –in a way that is received.
Why is this important?
Because in all the world there is no greater gift than to feel loved.
Being loved for who you are is the quickest way to heal the past and inspire one to reach their greatest potential in the future.
This Valentine’s Day ask your partner what his or her love language is. Then communicate “I love you” in the way that is received.
Next, let your partner know what your love language is. For example you can say, “I realize nothing means more to me than when we spend quality time together.”
Don’t expect the other to know what you want. Be specific…and you will feel the love.
If this seems like a courageous conversation, have it. Your relationship’s success is in direct correlation to the number of courageous (interpret “vulnerable”) conversations you have.
Flowers may be the icing on the cake, but they don’t translate into love to me. My husband knows saying “thank you” for holding down the fort while he is abroad or for the extra lengths I went to create dinner mean so much. That awareness pays dividends in any marriage.
Here are some ideas if your partner’s love language is…
Quality time: Make a date to go out to dinner or walk in the park.
Words of affirmation: Say or write in a card, “I love the way you support our family.” “Thank you for giving your best in that difficult situation.”
Gifts: Give flowers or tickets to a game.
Acts of service: Fill the window washer fluid in the car. Replace the light bulbs throughout the house.
Physical Touch: Give massage or a hug when she walks in the room.
The best way to know another’s love language is to ask them directly. Conversely, it’s good to let another know yours. As I say often…hope is not a strategy.
Happy Valentines’ Day!
Rita Hyland Coaching, LLC