There is a difference between being loved and feeling loved. Being loved is an action/feeling that someone else, feeling and knowing you are loved is something that happens in our own spirit. We cannot control the feelings of others, nor should we want to. I certainly do not want to have to own the feelings of someone else, my own feelings are enough for me. But owning my own feelings, and allowing others to own their feelings, does not relieve us of our duty to give and receive love to others in the way that they best know how. The following information is taken, in part, from the Five Love Languages. If you have not heard of this text, read on, you might be surprised!
The basic premise of the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, is that people give and express love differently, and these differences can be broken down in to five categories. Each individual, according to Mr. Chapman, will have one primary love language, and one secondary love language. It is our job, then, as partners, parents, and those who want connection to know our own love language, but also the love language of those around us. If you are interested in the fastest way to become bilingual, learn to speak your partners love language. It will require intention and effort, it will not be easy, but it is something that may completely transform the way that your relationship functions.
The Five Love Languages include Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, and Acts of Service. There is no one love language that is better than the other, and as we discuss each, please do your best to not judge either the type of love language that another has, or the type that you have.
Physical touch includes hugging, holding hands, and personal intimacy. This individual will frequently attempt to reach out to others, sit next to others, even simple touches will trigger them to feel better. And a lack of that affection will trigger the feeling that they are not loved, even if you are trying to utilize a different language.
Words of Affirmation include frequent statements of “I love you” and thanking or being appreciative of the individual. For many people, I love you is an automatic statement, often we even say “you too,” when we are responding to someone who has told us that they love them. But for those individuals whose language is words of affirmation, hearing and saying those words are the only way that this individual can experience the feeling of love.
Quality time refers to an individual who needs to spend significant amounts of time with others in order to feel loved. This might mean that they want to simply sit with someone and watch television, but long distance relationships would be particularly difficult for someone whose love language is quality time.
Gifts is perhaps the most controversial love language. In truly looking at what it refers to, it is simply a different form of love. Those who have gifts as their primary love language desire to have someone show that they love them physically. It does not have to be anything big, this is not the same thing as being greedy. It is that things like a fresh picked flower would be more powerful to them than telling them that you love them, or trying to hug them.
Finally, Acts of Service refers to someone who expresses or receives love by doing something for someone else. Thus, washing dishes or vacuuming is telling someone that they love them, running an errand for someone or doing something for someone without complaining is also something that a person with an acts of service love language would find comfort in.
We all have different love languages. It is our job, in all of our relationships, to know what the other person’s language is, and then to try to “speak that” language. This includes our children and our partners. There are tests you can take online to learn what your love language is or what the love language of your child is. The important part of all of this, though, is to admit that everyone loves differently, and it is not fair to only be willing to speak your own love language, and then fail to understand why someone else does not “feel” loved. If you are not willing to speak their language, then you should be able to admit that you are focused on what makes you to feel the most comfortable.
This may be particularly difficult right now. We are all “stuck together” like glue, and so we may very much not care if our partner or our children feel loved. If that is how you feel, take a deep breath, and try to spend time by yourself. You are a little burned out on the family. You might be surprised, though, that if you tried to focus on loving someone else in your home in the way that they would respond to, that things in the house might become much more positive.