How to speak the same love language as your partner
Can men and women really communicate with each other? A question that has puzzled many for centuries is what, exactly, is a grand romantic gesture? A picnic under the Eiffel Tower? Long walks on the beach at sunset? Or simply picking up a loved one’s dry cleaning? The answer to that is… all of the above.
According to Dr Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, how we love somebody is indicative of how well we understand their language to receive, and give, love as well as apologies, in interpersonal relationships.
Dr Chapman has written about love and apology language for more than 20 years, including spanning language children and teens use. He’s even made specific readings for singles and couples. But it’s not only about romantic and personal relationships; Chapman writes about how to experience love and apology language at work and in business in order to get the best quality out of the interaction.
FIVE OF THE BEST
So, what are the five love languages? Words of affirmation; acts of service; receiving gifts; quality time; and physical touch. They seem pretty simple on paper, but the difficulty comes when you have to act on these not for yourself, but for the other person. We must think outside of ourselves in order for these to work.
For example, if Mary’s primary love language is quality time, it would be down to her partner, Joe, to ensure he is showing his love for her by honouring the quality time aspect. Likewise, if Joe’s primary love language is affirmation, a few words of encouragement and knowledge from Mary alert him he is, indeed, loved.
What tends to happen however, is people only speak their love language, and don’t understand their partner’s. So, in lieu of Mary tending to Joe’s need for words of affirmation, furnishing him with alone time instead, he would begin to feel unheard or unappreciated. If they decide to spend quality time together and he spends half the day or night on his phone, the night is effectively ruined.
The same goes for gift giving and receiving. If someone likes to proffer gifts as a way of showing their love, but the person they are gifting would simply prefer a hug or to be helped with activities or errands, an impasse occurs. As this is about interpersonal communication, it can also be applied to the work dynamic.
Does the employee with a lot of promise need someone to run around and assist them with work, or will they be OK with a (literal and hypothetical) pat on the back to show appreciation for their work? Does the praise we receive from managers and superiors give us that much more confidence?
SORRY TO HEAR THAT…
What happens when things take a turn for the worse? A partner forgets an anniversary? Someone fails to mention an important business decision, resulting in another party feeling embarrassed? A mother goes against her child’s wishes, leaving the child betrayed and let down? What is the best way to apologise for these? Dr Chapman has another five languages, centred around apology; expressing regret; accepting responsibility; making restitution; genuinely repenting; and requesting forgiveness. Each is pivotal in the way we express ‘sorry’.
Expressing regret is one of the core ways in which people give an apology. It is convincing the injured party you are genuinely sorry for your actions, while making restitution is more about how you will make up for the caused hurt. It enjoys a direct correlation with the words of affirmation love language, and possibly gift giving, as a way of showing someone love.
Accepting responsibility, acknowledging where you went wrong and how it affected the person you care about, genuinely repenting and requesting forgiveness are all quite straightforward in their meaning, but how easy is it to request forgiveness or make assurances that you will never make that mistake again?
Isn’t it about time that everyone gets fluent in love language? And when Cupid’s arrow wains, apology language might help keep our loved ones.