The previous post introduced the first two love languages – words of affirmation and quality time. Now, let’s consider the other three languages.
The third love language that Chapman identifies is receiving gifts. A partner whose primary love language is receiving gifts feels loved when her partner regularly gives her love through gifts. The gifts may be small trinkets or significant investments. They might be handmade by you or something you found that made you think of her. The key point is that partners with a primary love language feel loved when they receive gifts from you.
Interestingly, just like each of the other love languages, receiving gifts has many dialects. One of the dialects in this language is receiving original hand made gifts over store bought ones. Another might be frequent small thoughtful gifts. You will have to work with your partner to understand which dialect or dialects is his primary one.
Acts of service is the fourth love language. Partners that have acts of service as their primary language feel most loved when their partners do things for them – things they like and want you to do. It may be taking out the garbage without being asked, making dinner, giving a foot massage or even putting the toilet seat down if your partner is female. The acts of service love language is all about proactively doing things with and in consideration of your partner’s desires. Your mission is to know your partner well enough that you can anticipate what acts of service he or she will like even never having experienced them before.
The fifth and final primary love language is physical touch. Many men have this love language as their primary one. Physical touch can be both non-sexual and sexual. Touch has many nuances and dialects. The touching has to be the type and style that appeals to your partner, not just any touching.
Non-sexual touch may be you touching your partner’s shoulder or head as you pass by or perhaps holding hands standing in line waiting to pay for the groceries. It could be snuggling up together while watching a movie or playing footsy under the dinner table. On the other hand, if your partner’s non-sexual love meter responds only to foot rubs at the end of a long day, you would do well to learn to enjoy giving them and giving them well! Touch is only limited by your imagination and your partner’s response to it. Communication is key to learning what is love enhancing for your partner.
Likewise, sexual and intimate touching can demonstrate your love. It is extremely important to understand that sexual touch has to be the type and pace that she wants it – not what works for you. If you touch her how you think or want to touch her, she will not see your touch as a display of love for her.
While there are many complexities and nuances to each of the five love languages, think of the opportunities they present to better know yourself and your partner. For some, introducing a change like this into your relationship might seem intimidating. Support through counselling from a psychologist with an interest in relationship or couples therapy can ease the transition.
Delaney is a senior registered psychologist working with people of all backgrounds and with a special interest in LGBTI+ people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Indigenous people.