How to show affection to another person? A question that both experts and laymen are concerned about. We have a few answers, five to be exact.
The wonderful Christmas classic "Love Actually" shows people greeting each other at the airport for minutes at the beginning. They fall into each other’s arms, kiss, beam at each other, shake hands and pat shoulders. And you understand, these people like each other.
In fact, physical affection is a language of love. but only one of five different ones as defined by the american couple therapist Gary Chapman.
Too many times in his practice he had encountered couples where one said "You don’t love me anymore!", whereupon the other replied. "And who is it that keeps giving you gifts?"
These typical dialogues got Gary Chapman thinking and he found out that there are five basic ways people express their affection, five different languages of love.
1. Physical tenderness
As seen in "Love Actually", we use kisses, hugs, touches to express that we like the other person and enjoy their physical closeness. People with this native language of love often tend to use such displays of love in public as well, to let all the world see that they love their partners. Keyword: holding hands.
2. Compliments and praise
People who speak this language have learned to tell their partners that they look great, that they did something well, that they are proud of them or happy to be with them. They wear their heart – as they say – on their tongue and don’t turn it into a murder pit.
3. Togetherness or time together
For such people, time together is important. Keyword: Quality time. About spending a weekend as a couple or even doing something nice together. A variation of this is the undivided attention. Listen to the other person carefully instead of z.B. Checking mails on your cell phone.
A language that children often learn at a young age. For such people, giving a gift means giving appreciation. Whereby it is not about giving elaborate or expensive gifts, but these people like to put themselves in the place of the recipient and try to bring him joy with their gift.
5. Help and good deeds
People with this love language have learned that it is an expression of affection to do things for the other person, from taking out the trash can to a trip to the Swedish furniture store and then putting up the wall shelves.
Learning foreign love languages
If you are aware that every person is shaped to a certain love language mainly by the example of their parents, it becomes easier to understand why there are misunderstandings. If someone who expresses love through words ("You never tell me that you love me.") is not a good match for your partner, then you need to be careful!") meets someone who expresses love through good deeds ("I fixed your bike for you, I’m not going to do that for someone I don’t like!") it becomes difficult.
The first step out of the dilemma is to ask each other the questions: How can you tell that someone loves you?? How was it in your childhood? How did you see that your parents love each other?? Compare your responses and talk about your experiences.
After that you make a ranking. Ask each other: "What is most important to you??" – and list the five languages of love in the order that is important to you. Compare the result and you may be amazed.
Third step: When you again feel that your partner does not love you, remind yourself what his favorite love language is. Maybe he cleaned out the dishwasher yesterday while you were still tired in bed? Or vice versa: give him signals in the language that is his mother tongue of love to consciously signal your affection to him.
And what works for the other person, also works for yourself. Why don’t you tell yourself that you like each other in the language that is your own language of love?. Compliment yourself, pat yourself on the back when you have succeeded in something or buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers to please yourself. Because there cannot be enough love in this world!
Gary Chapman: The five languages of love – How communication succeeds in partnership; ISBN-13: 978-3861221265