Okay, so I’ve missed Valentines Day. It will come again. But in the meantime, do you know what your love language is?
Many women in what I call starving or hungry relationships have lost sight of how they like to receive love. When you’re hungry, maybe you eat what you’re given or sometimes the hunger drives you to make poor choices regarding how to nourish yourself.
You mistake any attention for a sign of love, often misreading the clues of what isn’t love for love. When you’re hungry, anything is better than nothing, right? But actually, what you end up with are the crumbs under the table. You feel anything but fed, full and nourished. It’s like that takeaway meal that rarely gives long-lasting satisfaction.
Grateful For Love
Many of us grew up believing that as long as someone is doing their best, we should be grateful. Sound familiar? That’s another way of saying that you should be grateful for love.
In reality, if you feel that you need to be thankful for love, that’s letting you know something about your sense of deservedness to receive, your self-value and your self-worth. When those things are on wobbly ground, you’re vulnerable to relationships that feel depleted and controlling.
Here’s what you need to know; control in a relationship can look like an expression of love. A partner acting as your chauffeur may feel great. But what if you never learn to drive or become fearful of driving long distances? The impact of that caring action potentially means that you become deskilled, lose self-confidence and feel dependent.
That’s not to say that just because your partner is offering you a lift, they’re being controlling. Maybe they are doing what they know how to do; they’re doing their best. And perhaps ‘doing’ is their love language. Although this may be true, you can notice any patterns in your relationship and get curious about your partner’s actions and the part(s) of you that accepts what is offered.
Love Me As I Love You
What we also often find ourselves doing is treating people the way that we wanted to be treated. That comes from a good place, but it’s not always helpful because when it comes to love, not everyone wants to be treated in the same way that you do. If you flip the coin does your partner’s frequent gifts of clothes, because they love shopping online, do it for you when what really want is a cuddle on the sofa?
It’s also easy to fall into the trap of assuming that your partner should automatically understand how to show you, love, and feel upset when they don’t.
That’s where the 5 Love Languages come in.
In his bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, relationship counsellor Gary Chapman (1) identifies five different ways that we can express love:
- Words of affirmation,
- Quality time,
- Receiving gifts,
- Acts of service and
- Physical touch
So, Chapman’s concept is simple but very effective. If you can learn to recognise your partner’s love language and help them to recognise yours, you will both feel more loved and understood.
With some partners, this may prove tricky. Love involves reciprocity. Narcissistically vulnerable people find it difficult to reciprocate love or that somebody else may value something that they don’t. Their fragile ego and inflated sense of self gets in the way.
So even in these relationships, it’s important to know your own love language. Perhaps even more so, as it can form the basis of self-care, deepen your relationship with your children and help learn how to mother your inner child.
How To Recognise Your Love Language
The love languages are ways in which we express love and like to receive love. Some of us will be fluent in more than one love language.
If you’re not sure what your love language is, the best way to work it out is to think about what you do for other people because we often tend to show love in the way we most like to receive it.
Another clue is to notice what is happening when you feel appreciated. Is it that your partner is helping out with cooking tea (acts of service), or have they left you an encouraging note on the bathroom mirror before they go to work (words of affirmation).
Speaking Your Love Language
Write down the last 10 things your partner, a friend or family member did for you that made you feel loved, appreciated or valued. If you’re struggling think about what made you feel that way as a child.
Which love languages came out top?
For the next 21 days, show love to yourself in a way that corresponds with your top one or two love languages.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Words of affirmation:
Purchase a clear jar, decorate it, put an affirmation inside each day, with something that you love about yourself.
Do something that you like – walk, watch a film, maybe with your partner, knit, spend some time regularly on a hobby, dance or join a choir.
Buy yourself a ticket to an event you’d love, turn a treasured photo of your younger self into a gift or next time you go food shopping, buy a treat you know you’d like!
Acts of service:
Practice loving-kindness or perform an act of kindness each day. Complete the decluttering you’ve meant to do.
Make time to connect with your body – in the shower, in the bath or washing your hair. Don’t just make is a time literal wash and go.
#1 Understand Your Love Language
The first step is really understanding and getting fluent in your own love language(s). In this way, you can know and communicate what you want. So many women do not know what they want from love.
When you are aware of your own love language and taking responsibility for how they show up in your life then, you become familiar with what your partner wants.
Put yourself first. That’s not unloving. That’s Valentines Day coming around every day.
Then you can make sure that you give your partner what they need instead of projecting onto them what you want for yourself as a means of indirect hints!
Over To You
What’s your love language? If you want a safe space to discuss and explore how you communicate love, get in touch and book your first counselling appointment. I offer video sessions online via a secure platform. Coronavirus (COVID-19) doesn’t need to put your therapy sessions on pause.
Or call me today on 07535 864836.
Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Sandra Harewood 2021
Soul Centred couples counsellor Sandra Harewood specialises in working with couples and women with childhood wounding that impacts their adult relationships. Sandra provides a soulful space for her clients to explore creative solutions to their difficulties and create a great relationship.
(1) Chapman, G, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, 20 Feb. 2015 Moody Publishers; First edition