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How to Deepen Your Relationship - Part 2

If you missed part 1 of this article you can click here to read about the first theory I use to deepen my relationships. The second theory I want to talk about is the 5 Love Languages, written by Dr. Gary Champan. This theory is about 5 different ways in which every human shows and receives love. This theory is not only useful for romantic relationships. Understanding how someone shows love and accepts love can help you target how to make them feel appreciated, valued, and cared for; a skill that is very powerful, irrelevant of the type of relationship you have with the individual.


Every human has what Dr. Chapman refers to as a “love tank”, and he explains that in order for someone to feel loved, their tank has to consistently remain full (or relatively full). This tank can be filled by a variety of actions that communicate love, appreciation, respect, and validation. Where this gets tricky is that humans show and receive love differently. He categorizes these differences into 5 love languages. Now, even if someone has the best intentions and makes the effort to show love, if it is not expressed in the receiver’s love language, those efforts may be completely missed by the receiver, or won’t have as powerful of an effect. This theory is not exclusive to romantic partners. You can utilize this understanding to make your friends feel special, to make your children feel validated, and to make a coworker feel appreciated. Just like with the first theory I discussed, my favorite part about this theory is that it focuses on the idea that humans are not ever just a single thing. Humans are complex and evolve overtime, and this theory suggest that individuals feel love through all 5 love languages, but what makes a being unique is the degree to which each language fulfills their love tank. Lets get into the languages.


Physical Touch

Individual’s whose primary love language is physical touch feel most loved when you are physically close to them. These are the individuals who long to for a hug every time you see them, holding hands everywhere you go together, and cuddling up while watching television. The key here is to offer physical contact without the expectation that it will lead to intimacy. These are also the individuals who’s love tank depletes the fastest when left alone for extended periods of time, maintaining physical distance, and not feeling skin to skin contact periodically. Common complains you will hear from someone with an empty love tank with this love language include not kissing them goodbye, not hugging them when you see them, sitting far away from them, and only touching them when you want intimacy. If these sound like the person you are trying to make feel special, work on strengthening your physical touch.


Words of Affirmation

Individual’s whose primary love language is words of affirmation feel most loved when you verbally communicate your feelings for them, your appreciation for them, and your admiration for them. These are the individuals who long to receive a handwritten letter with heartfelt words, or receiving a quick phone call throughout the day to hear their loved one’s voice. These are also the individuals who’s love tank depletes the fastest when spoken too with harsh words and criticism. Common complains you will hear from someone with an empty love tank with this love language include not being told they are loved, not being told you are proud of them, not sharing your feelings, and critiquing them. If these sound like the person you are trying to make feel special, work on strengthening your words of affirmation.


Gifts

Individual’s whose primary love language is gifts feel most loved when you gift them something heartfelt. These are the individuals who long to receive flowers or their favorite candy bar just because, and a gift (even if small) for every celebratory occasion. The key here is that the gift must be thoughtful and show that you were thinking of them when you bought it, rather than something generic. These are also the individuals who’s love tank depletes the fastest when special occasions are forgotten, or when they receive something that communicates “I forgot and got you this last minute”. Common complains you will hear from someone with an empty love tank with this love language include forgetting a birthday or anniversary, getting generic gift cards, and waiting until last minute to make celebratory plans. If these sound like the person you are trying to make feel special, work on strengthening your gift giving.


Quality Time

Individual’s whose primary love language is quality time feel most loved when you give them your undivided attention. These are the individuals who long to spend uninterrupted time with their loved ones, bonding over a shared interest or having meaningful conversations. The key here is you must commit to making this moment about them, free of distractions. These are also the individuals who’s love tank depletes the fastest when you multitask during date night, or feel like you would rather be somewhere else and are not interested in your time with them. Common complains you will hear from someone with an empty love tank with this love language include not making time for them, not listening or talking to them, not paying attention when you are with them, prioritizing other things before them. If these sound like the person you are trying to make feel special, work on strengthening your quality time.


Acts of Service

Individual’s whose primary love language is acts of service feel most loved when you do small tasks for them to lighten their load. These are the individuals who long to be asked what they need help with, have help with chores, have their coffee made for them, and get an offer to have the groceries picked up so they don’t have to. The key here is to find a source of stress and alleviate the burden, without them having to ask for help. These are also the individuals who’s love tank depletes the fastest when left to be responsible for everything, or you do something for yourself without offering something for them. Common complains you will hear from someone with an empty love tank with this love language include not being helped around the house, forgetting to pick up something they asked for, keeping score of how many times you did something for them, and feeling like you did something out of obligation rather than kindness. If these sound like the person you are trying to make feel special, work on strengthening your acts of service.


Something important to note about this theory is that most individuals show love through a different language than they would like to receive love. For example, you may be really good at using words of affirmation to tell people you love them, but the way you would like to receive love is through physical touch. Understanding this theory will allow you to communicate to others how you would like to receive love, and others will be able to communicate to you how they would like to receive love. You will naturally show love towards others in your love giving language, and chances are you are really good at it. But it’s important to make an effort to show love in the language of the receiver, otherwise all your good intentions and efforts may be completely missed.


I sincerely hope that this new knowledge and understanding of personalities will help you deepen your relationships. While it may take some time to get confident at identifying the personality types in front of you, if you commit to staying observant and make the effort to get to know someone better, you will be able to tailor your communication and your intentions to the individual you are dealing with to develop a much more effective and harmonious relationship.


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