Understanding Intentions : How We Dismiss Their Love LanguageHave you heard of Gary Chapman? A marriage counselor who believes we all speak and interupret a different Love Language. As a relationship therapist, I've grown accustomed to using his theory of Love Languages when defining our natural (and very unique) translations of love and connection. Gary believes, "Unhappiness in marriage often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages," and while working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, he has termed Five Love Languages : Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. The other day I was thinking about my own "love language" and was able to identify certain experiences in my childhood which have impacted my natural tendency to enjoy Quality Time and Gifts. (Although I do cherish all of them). My grandparents were a big influence in my childhood and every morning they would get me ready for school, make me breakfast and drop me off. They both knew about my upcoming tests, my social life and boys I had crushes on. They were invested in my life and the quality time spent with them was extremely special to me. Also looking back to my childhood, my mom (who was a single parent until I was 6-years-old) would always try to make events special by giving me cute gifts. Every Valentine's Day, Easter or celebration at school, she would have a huge gift basket prepared with my favorite goodies. I knew she didn't have a lot of money, so none of the gifts were lavish by any means, but they were genuinely thoughtful and that was my mom's way of showing me she loved me.
Although all the love languages are significant from my perspective, it's extremely important to understand which one(s) you and you partner tend to speak more fluently. This will help avoid misunderstanding and dismissal of each other's bids at connection. I think it is important to define to your partner what each love language looks like to you, so you have context to each other's dialect.For example, I'd have to say that my definition of "quality time" in the context of my marriage, looks like Aron and I being completely present in experiencing something together. It could be us getting happy hour on a patio with no electronics handy; it could be us going for a run together in complete silence. Where as Aron may feel at times that an example of his definition of "quality time" is us watching a TV show together. What is interesting to me is I often hear my clients say that gifts as a Love Language is "superficial" or "materialist." Yes, of course, the gift itself is in fact a tangible thing, but should they all be considered "superficial?" Superficial implies a gift is fake. It implies the intention behind the gift is a false attempt at connecting and showing love. By labeling this love language as "materialistic" or "superficial," it voids the genuine attempt of someone showing love in their fluent language. (OUCH!) Maybe the topic of gift giving is striking a particularly sensitive cord for me because not only is it one of my love languages, but I also never realized how vulnerable it would be for Aron and I to conceptualize the boxes and send them out to YOU and your partner! This is more than just a business for us and we care about our couple's overall experience. It's been an exposing process for even us to give thoughtful gifts to you and your partner in hopes you both will enjoy! In many intimate cases, the intention of gifting a present to someone is in fact extremely thoughtful and vulnerable. By giving an intentional gift, you are opening yourself up to getting rejected. By giving a gift, you are symbolically giving a piece of you away to someone else in hopes they accept and appreciate it. Your partner may not speak the same love language or have the same definitions of your love language, but once you become aware of the different languages being spoken in your relationship, you can start to value your partner's attempts more.