One of the biggest issues I am faced within the course of online couples therapy is that of love being ineffectively expressed, and so inadequately received by each partner in the relationship. This disconnect can leave us feeling unloved and unappreciated, simply because our partners are expressing their love for us in a way that is different from how we need to feel loved, and vice versa.
Gary Chapman first coined the concept of ‘Five Love Languages’, and I aim to explore what these are, and what they mean for us in our relationships, in this post.
The Five Love Languages
The first is Words of Affirmation. People for whom words are their primary love language express their love through – words of comfort, compliments, encouragement etc.
Acts of service are the second love language, one for whom love is expressed as deeds, as things they do for another.
The third love language is that of Receiving Gifts – gifts and tokens of love given by their loved ones are most effective in showing love for these individuals.
The fourth love language, Quality Time, involves uninterrupted, undivided time spent together. Focused attention.
The fifth and final love language is Physical Touch – yes, hugs and kisses; meaningful, purposeful touch.
So, what is the relevance of knowing anything about love languages? Well, the importance of it is twofold – being aware of one’s own love language goes a long way toward being self-aware, and having a comprehensive understanding of what love feels like for you so that you can communicate your needs and engage in behaviours in order to have these needs met. The second, and most important, point regarding love languages is one that arises when two people in a relationship have two different love languages. Because we are all different people, this is to be expected; however, it can lead to either party feeling unsatisfied and unloved, simply because they are not getting their love needs to be met in the way that is most effective for them.
“They, in turn, are most likely attempting to meet their spouse’s love needs in a way that is familiar to them – which is not necessarily right for their spouse.”
Ok, so imagine your love language is touch – you like holding hands and hugging and kissing, but your partner’s love language is receiving gifts. So whenever you touch them as an expression of your love, they do not respond the way you would like. You end up feeling rejected, or like you aren’t loved with the intensity with which you love. Now, your partner loves getting flowers, and so they often buy you gifts like chocolates. You accept the gift with grace and move on with your life, without giving it too much thought. Most likely, your spouse feels just as rejected as you did when they didn’t respond to your touch.
So if you show your partner love through touch, and through gifts, there can be a disconnect which, as I mentioned earlier, can lead to issues that could really have been avoided if you just knew and understood the love language of your spouse. They like receiving gifts, so you buy them gifts to show them love in a way they can appreciate – in the same way, your spouse knows how much physical touch means to you, so they grab your hand first, or steal a kiss, in order to make you feel loved. Love goes both ways – showing love needs to involve using your own love language, but also speaking love to your partner in a way that they can understand.
If you’re keen, try this quiz and find out which love language you are: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/
Once you are aware of your own love language, discuss it with your partner. Try to “speak each other’s language” and watch your feeling of being loved and understood grow.
Online couples therapy is a great tool to help you work out any trouble spots you may face in your relationship. The safe, virtual space allows you and your partner to connect from wherever you are at a time that suits you both. It’s a safe space where you can each share in a way that can be mediated if necessary by your therapist. Your counsellor can also give you insights, new perspectives and tools to help your relationship grow.
Online couples therapy is really relationship therapy and may be considered for any type of relationship – family, children, work, friends etc.
TherapyNow online counselling provides a variety of professional mental health services via any device on any internet connection. We make it easy to get help when you need it most – so that anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can receive assistance anytime, anywhere and at an affordable rate.