Love Languages - 5 ways to communicate care with your significant other
By Rippan Sandhu
Love comes in all shapes and forms. While some people express their love through hugs and kisses, for others, it could mean planning an elaborate date night. So it is quite possible that another person’s definition of love doesn’t match yours. But what happens if it doesn’t align with your partner’s? Does it mean that you’re not compatible? Probably not!
It’s not uncommon to find couples struggling to make sense of how to show love in a way that resonates with both parties. Oh well, no one said love would be easy, right? So this month, at Spa Ayurda, we attempt to demystify the concept of Love Languages, first introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts”.
Love languages are essentially five different ways in which people communicate their affection for another person. It is what love essentially means to them. While it is not realistic to think that everyone will give and receive affection in the same way, it is definitely helpful to be aware of what the other person expects, especially if you are engaged in a long-term romantic relationship.
Here’s what the five love languages look like:
1. Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation are verbal or written words that express encouragement, empathy, and support. But empty praises never do the trick. Only when used with the right intent do words of affirmation have an impact. They work as positive reinforcement, making people feel valued, loved, and appreciated. While a simple, heartfelt ‘I love you’ can sometimes go a long way in making your partner feel the fuzzies, sometimes that may not suffice. How about leaving a surprise note in their work lunch bag or sending a recorded audio message? Shower him/her with words of genuine appreciation the old school way, or in today’s digital world, by leaving text messages with sweet nothings!
If you yourself are one that values words of affirmation, watch how you speak with yourself. Do you constantly doubt yourself or tell yourself you’re not good enough? According to Ayurveda, your thoughts and words have an impact on your health. So give yourself a daily dose of positive affirmations and show yourself the love and respect you deserve.
2. Quality Time
For someone whose primary love language is quality time, undivided attention from their loved ones is what keeps them ticking. While some people would really appreciate if you take the time to have a meaningful conversation without distractions, others may prefer doing an outdoor activity together and create shared memories. Not spending enough quality time together could often be interpreted as a sign of neglect. Plan a surprise picnic and take them away for the day, or stay in to cook up a storm together in the kitchen with some good music for company. What really matters here is the sense of togetherness and belonging which makes them feel connected to their partners.
Having said that, quality time need not always be spent with another person. Ayurveda encourages that we spend quality time and connect with ourselves, doing the things that we enjoy the most. Taking some time out from our usual routine to meditate, read a book or just be in nature, can have incredible benefits for our physical as well as mental health.
3. Acts of Service
Individuals whose primary love language is acts of service are the happiest when they see their partners consistently supporting them through tasks and shared responsibilities. Offering to help by doing small chores or taking on additional tasks to ease the burden, are considered to be some of the best ways to communicate love to these people.
If you have a partner that appreciates acts of service, remember that actions speak louder than words. Is it your partner’s turn to do the laundry but he/she had a long day at work? Take the initiative to do it and give them a break. Nothing screams love to them more than seeing that you genuinely care enough to do something for them even though you didn’t have to.
Who doesn’t love gifts? But individuals whose primary love language is this, pay close attention to the meaning behind the actual gift. For them, it’s the thought that really counts, irrespective of how generous or small the gift is.
Think of the gifted item as a physical manifestation of love, something that can be held on to even when the gifter is not around. Considered to be a token of love, gifts evoke the feeling of affection and bring back happy memories. What these people are really after is the emotional value of the gift, rather than the monetary cost. Surprise them with a gift on a random day, even if it’s a seemingly small item that caught your attention and reminded you of them - they’ll always remember and highly appreciate the thoughtfulness of the gesture.
5. Physical Touch
Our skin is the largest sense organ in our body and this love language makes the best use of that! Hugs, kisses, and cuddles are almost essential for people who express and like to receive love through physical touch. Be it a quick backrub or a goodnight kiss, physical intimacy is the way to go when you have a partner who thrives on the sense of touch.
It is often thought that for physical touch to be meaningful, there must be a sexual component to it. But that may not always be true. If you find physical touch to be comforting, have you considered including a daily self-massage ritual as part of your day? According to Ayurveda, your ‘dinacharya’ or morning self-care routine sets the tone for the day. Giving yourself a warm oil massage before your morning shower can be a therapeutic and relaxing way to connect with your mind and body, while making yourself feel loved.
While it is absolutely not essential for partners to share the same love language, and quite frankly, unrealistic too, being cognizant of your partner’s love language might help you connect with them a little better. So, go ahead, get a sense of what your partner’s love language preference might be, and who knows, you might even discover a new thing or two about the person you love!