Have you heard of the book “The Five Love Languages” by Dr Gary Chapman?
It has been a best-seller in Christian – and even secular – circles for several years now, and with good reason.
In our romantic relationships there exists five special languages – the love languages – which we use to communicate our love to one another. In any relationship, it’s highly likely that each partner is actually “speaking” their love in an entirely different language!
Imagine if a German meets an Australian and they are trying to work out how to find a location on a map. Because of the language barrier, there will be misunderstandings and difficulties in the receiving and giving of information. All that miscommunication leads to the inability to reach their final goal on the map.
Many times, this is exactly what happens in our romantic relationships!
While we are trying to reach a common goal in our relationship, the differences in how we express and communicate love can often be misunderstood or not even acknowledged. This can cause a deep sense of frustration even for the most well-intentioned couples.
The 5 Love Languages
Dr Gary Chapman has outlined five love languages. These are:
- Words of affirmation;
- Quality time;
- Acts of service;
- Physical touch.
In almost all marriage, each partner will likely use a different love language. For example, you may not like to give or receive presents, so having a partner who best communicates his/her love through gift-giving may be very difficult for you (and expensive too!).
No matter how much we love our partner, unless we understand how they give and receive love, our good intentions and expressions of love may not be received by them. We might even become frustrated and feel unloved as well, if our primary love language is not used in the relationship enough to our liking. For example, if one partner enjoys quality time but does not receive it, this might cause them to feel unloved and ignored.
Understanding our partners does take effort. It often requires time and sacrifice to adjust to our partner’s needs. Many couples find they need some help to determine how to best communicate love to each other and most importantly, make compromises in their relational style, as they seek to develop a satisfying and fulfilling marriage.
Marriage Counselling Can Help
If you and your partner would like to enhance your relationship, seeking out marriage counselling can be a very important way of beginning this process. A couples counsellor is able to help you and your partner identify any areas that could be improved in your relationship, as well as give your relationship some accountability.
The ultimate goal is to be able to develop a better understanding of your partner, and to be able to communicate love in a way which is most comfortable for the two of you. This can be a delicate and sensitive process, but having the help of a trained therapist will ensure that your relationship receives the care and nurturing that it deserves.
The good news is, the concept of the Five Love Languages can be applied to any of your relationships, not just your marriage. It can be beneficial with your children, your siblings, your friends, and many others.
Author: Joey Tai, BA (Psych), Master of Clinical Psychology.
Joey Tai is a Clinical Psychologist, experienced in working with individuals and couples with relationship difficulties. A committed Christian, Joey has conducted research on couple attraction and couples’ therapy as part of his Master’s research.
Please call 1800 877 924 to make an appointment or book online now!