It is quite common after some time in a relationship, when lust and excitement settles down, to feel:
- Unappreciated and taken for granted
- Your partner doesn’t care much or is complacent in your relationship
- Frustrated that your partner doesn’t understand your needs
As a result, you may find you have reoccurring arguments that go to the tune of :
“I asked you to [insert house chore] so many times… why don’t you just do it?!”
“You’re not listening to me”
“You’re always on your phone”
“You’re so selfish”
“But you also went out last weekend with your friends”
Interestingly, these arguments are not about a) doing chores b) going out with friends c) spending time on the phone or d) being selfless; they’re about feeling uncared for and unimportant to your partner. This common experience can often be explained by one simple phenomenon:
You and your partner may be speaking different love languages.
When I first heard about love languages, I’ve got to admit, I did do an eye roll… as it sounds kind of lame, right? But, as it turns out, learning and understanding love languages has the power to bring a couple closer and reduce arguments.
According to Gary Chapman there are five main love languages that we use to communicate and receive love. We each have a tendency to use one or two particular love languages over other love languages.
The Five Love Languages
Acts of Service. Doing things you know your partner would like or appreciate. For example, this could be anything from cooking a meal, emptying the dishwasher, running an errand, or fixing something.
Words of Affirmation. Giving compliments or sharing words of appreciation. For example, “You look gorgeous today” or “You always make me laugh”.
Physical Touch. Affection and physical intimacy. For some people, physical touch is their primary love language; without it they may feel unloved and alone.
Receiving Gifts. A gift says “I’ve thought about you and went to significant effort for you”. Gifts are long lasting, and remind you that your partner loves you.
Quality Time. Giving your partner your undivided attention – for example, going for a walk together, taking a day trip, having a dinner date. Note, sitting on the couch watching TV together is not quality time!
When couples are speaking different love languages, they may overlook expressions of love and feel their needs are unmet. This can lead to distance and disconnect in the relationship, reinforced by feelings of being unappreciated.
Understanding your partner’s love language allows you to recognise their communications of love and gives you an opportunity to speak the same language back.
So, the golden questions are:
What love languages do you speak?
And what is your partners love language?
How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?
We are a team of psychologists based in Melbourne who are well trained and experienced in helping individuals improve relationship wellbeing. We help individuals overcome relationship anxiety, relationship break-up’s, deal with high conflict and difficult people, and navigate complex family dynamics. If you would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.