Some of us cringe at the thought of “self-help” books, others of us read them all! Beso’s Diana Ryu is hashing out the details inside one of the genre’s time-worn best, ‘The 5 Love Languages’. Whether you’re a relationship and self-help book junkie or not, take a peek at the basics behind this relationship-saving classic. We’ll bet the realization that you could be mis-translating your loved ones’ needs, and being misunderstood yourself, could be just the motivation you need to give this book a solid try! Here’s Diana…
I’m getting married in three weeks. I’ve lived with my betrothed for nearly three years. We met at work (and still work together), we carpool to the office, and are with each other day in and day out for months on end. Weekends are spent lazing around with one another, weeknights we cook together, we even do our laundry side by side…and it amazes me that I can spend so much of my life with someone, and at times still feel misunderstood, or worse, unappreciated.
Don’t get me wrong: He is my big love (the true testament is that we’ve spent more uninterrupted days together than anyone we know and we’re still head over heels). But when I feel like my needs aren’t being met, I know exactly why: It’s because he’s not speaking my love language.
In his New York Times best selling book, The 5 Love Languages, author Dr. Gary Chapman identifies the idiosyncratic ways a person can feel loved. According to Dr. Chapman, the 5 love languages are:
- words of affirmation
- acts of service
- receiving gifts
- quality time
- physical touch
Like a fingerprint, the way you interpret being loved is specifically your own. Perhaps it’s a grand gesture that leaves you breathless, or maybe it’s a simple “I love you” that kicks up those butterflies. Personally, my love languages are words of affirmation and quality time, so a handwritten card or an evening spent chatting on the couch does more for my feeling of worth than any flamboyant display of affection.
The easy part, of course, is figuring out what languages make me feel weak in the knees, and utterly satisfied in my relationship. The hardest bit is realizing that the gestures that matter to me don’t have the same effect on my beau. His love languages are acts of service and physical touch (which means I’m vacuuming and giving him a big hug!). Identifying and effectively catering to an entirely different love language oftentimes feels outright foreign. For instance, if I have the best of intentions and dish out the types of compliments that make me feel good, I think it’s precisely what my boyfriend needs too. In actuality, it doesn’t faze him, which leaves us both feeling a little crummy.
It’s been an incredible revelation to realize that I’m not the perfect partner I’ve puffed myself up to thinking I am. Catering to him with words of affirmation and quality time falls on deaf ears, so it’s an ongoing learning process to speak his love language and not project mine onto him. It’s difficult – much like, well, learning a new language – but having the knowledge in my arsenal helps me pinpoint why I’m feeling neglected, and I can respond appropriately with a slight nudge or friendly reminder. It’s a healthy way to mutually communicate what we feel is missing and quickly address an unintentional oversight. It’s also a humbling reminder to stop thinking about how my needs aren’t being met, but instead take responsibility for how we as a team oftentimes miss the mark for one another.
It’s not to say that I can survive on one love language alone, but a sprinkling of the other four love languages with a heavy concentration of words of affirmation is enough to sustain me. It’s not a cure-all, but after learning other love languages exist, I am not only more in tune with my significant others needs, but can better communicate what mine are too.
What’s your love language? What is your significant others? What about your children and your friends? Grab The 5 Love Languages and get to reading if you’ve yet to figure it out. We love to see couples, and even friends, unlock this riddle! Tell us about your experience translating love languages below!