By Jamie Joseph
We’ve all heard the saying “opposites attract,” but what does this really mean for those brave enough to embrace someone whose personality tends to clash with theirs? It’s a dangerous playing field for those who may see the flaws as faulty ultimatums–but for those willing to discover the joys of dating someone you can regularly “debate” with, it’s a rewarding and fulfilling companionship.
According to a survey of mental health professionals conducted by YourTango.com in 2013, the number one cause of divorces was miscommunication. So, why allow relationships to fail when couples can all do a better job of understanding how we can better communicate our love to each other? The solution is quite simple.
“The Five Love Languages,” a book by Gary Chapman, describes five distinct ways people tend to express their love for one another. The love language test, which can be taken online for free, brings about interesting conversation for couples who have issues understanding the way their partner gives and receives love. Some couples may not even realize their problem lies in a lack of knowledge because they’re unaware love languages even exist. The five love languages as Chapman outlines in his book are:
- Gift giving
- Quality time
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service (devotion)
- Physical touch
Everyone’s different, which is why it’s important to understand love languages. We all crave to be loved differently, and we have our own ways of expressing it. A partner or spouse may think they are displaying love effectively, not knowing their partner may receive it differently. Personally, my love language results were pretty accurate.
When I took the test, my top love language was acts of service. Following this trait was quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch and lastly, receiving gifts. After I asked my partner to take the test, his scores were much different than mine. His top love language was words of affirmation–then acts of service, quality time, physical touch and gift giving.
It’s obvious for me I feel the most loved through physical touch (holding hands, hugging and kissing) and when my boyfriend is willing to go out of his way to help me when my hands are tied (acts of service). I find comfort in knowing I have a companion who I can call whenever I need a little saving! As for my partner, he was intrigued when I explained to him the five love languages, but wasn’t at all surprised at my results–although it did spark a conversation about how we could both do a better of job of understanding each other. He explained having a more clear understanding of what it is I specifically wanted helped him realize some of his own faults, and vice versa for me as well.
“I feel a lot of these things don’t get discussed or crafted in a relationship, and disconnect is the leading cause of divorce,” he said. “Having a firm grasp on what it is that makes you feel loved by me, made me want to further and improve our connection.”
Since I discovered my boyfriend feels the most loved when I affirm him verbally, I made it a habit to constantly praise and give him credit when it is due. If I know he had a long night working or studying, I always make sure to let him know how proud of him I am and that he is doing great. A little encouragement will go a long way–especially in a man’s mind!
In addition to understanding what our love languages are, we have made communication a top priority–which has made our relationship stand strong in times of trial. Because we are opposites and prone to bump heads, there is no room for a lack of communication and we are constantly looking for new ways to improve it.
If you and your partner know you’re madly in love but there seems to be a few bumps in the road, consider discussing how you both express your appreciation and love for each other. Love languages and communication might just save your relationship!