The importance of discovering your partner’s ‘love language’ before you choose their gift
Turns out you don't have to be on the same page when it comes to how you communicate your love. But tapping into your honey's love language might just score you some serious brownie points when it comes to selecting a gift.
Love is love, right? Wrong, according to Gary Chapman.
And until recently I was blind to the common sense reasons behind his best-selling book, The 5 Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, which was first published in 1992 and which has sold 11 million copies already.
And it has now changed my life here, under my rock.
In a nutshell, Gary is a bit of an agony aunt when it comes to how humans express our love. From his years of counseling, he put together five languages or types of ways we express our love: Receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion) and physical touch.
So, in order to connect with your bae a little better, you can find out which of the languages they speak when they want to show their love. Chapman believes that people tend to naturally give love the way they prefer to receive love. His theory is that better communication can be formed when one can show caring to the other person in the love language the recipient understands.
My husband, for example, is a do-er — he makes me tea, he’ll pick up my dry-cleaning, he’ll collect me if I’m out late. Whereas, I’m a basic Koala bear when it comes to affection — I’ll hug a chair.
So I speak my love in physical touch and he, in acts of service. According to Chapman, should I start offering acts of service to my husband (yes, it sounds funny) he’ll better understand my love for him. Equally, if he ups his physical touch and hug-factor by about, oh about say 2 million, I’ll feel better loved, which will in turn, theoretically strengthen our relationship.
So what’s this got to do with gifts? Well, for those of us with partners who speak ‘acts of service’, gifting them with something that shows our devotion in terms of “doing” will hit the mark best. Examples would be a driver experience in Mondello, getting their golf clubs polished (is that a thing?) or another gesture that shows devotion through verbs.
Lucky you if you have a partner that speaks the love language of ‘receiving gifts’. Your day just got a lot easier. But make sure the intention behind the gift is sincere.
If physical touch is their thing, consider getting them a massage, a new coat, a hot shave, a virtual hug generator for their work desk…
And if you both speak the love of quality time, the best idea is a romantic retreat, a night away, a holiday or a meal out. The important thing here is that you are also benefiting from what you give too, so it is win-win.
The best news of this entire article is that there is a quiz. (Who doesn’t love a quiz to delve into your own psyche?) Take it to find out which love language you respond best to.
The interesting part is that the most popular of the five love languages happen to be words of affirmation. So, telling someone they look great in those jeans or offering a pep-talk before a major presentation is a sure-fire way to stay in the good books. But it works both ways.
Chapman said in a recent interview with the Huffington Post. “All of us appreciate affirming words, but for those whose primary language is words, nothing speaks more deeply,” Chapman said. “The important thing is that the words are spoken sincerely as an expression of your love for them, not an effort to manipulate them to do something for you.
“However, when you use negative or critical words with this person, your words are like a dagger in their heart,” Chapman said. “Your critical words hurt them more deeply than they would hurt someone with a different love language.”
So channel your inner analyst and figure out how to express your love this Christmas day. Acts of service at your own discretion.
This article was originally published in 2021.