Love languages

I remember reading a relationship self-help website that said a common problem in many relationships is that each person assumes the other one’s brain works more-or-less the same way – that they need the same things in order to feel loved.  But often, the two people in a relationship need different things, and this leads to a clash.

i.e., Maybe Jess gives Sam tons of compliments because Jess loves to hear sweet words and assumes everyone else does, too.  Meanwhile, Sam makes an effort to clean up around the house and do other little things to make Jess’ life easier, because that’s how Sam believes love is expressed.  And both people feel neglected because neither is getting the kind of love they crave.  “You take me for granted!  You never clean the house!”  “What do you mean I take you for granted?!?  I tell you mushy things every single day!” etc.

Sometime after reading that, I stumbled over the concept of the Five Love Languages.  My top two – by a wide margin – are Touch and Acts of Service.  Those are the things I need from someone in order to feel loved.  And I’d been assuming that I must “speak” those languages to others, too, in accordance with that other thing I read.

Clearly, someone should’ve hit me with a clue-by-four.  I’ve known for years that I don’t really have the patience or energy for Acts of Service.  I’ve also known for years that my domination style is very much in the “what a good boy you are.  What a precious little puppy” vein.  And I mentioned just recently that I don’t think I could stop telling The Pedant how pretty he is if my life depended on it.

The Love Languages I understand may be Touch and Acts of Service, but the Love Languages I speak are Touch and Words of Affirmation.  I’m all about the snuggling and compliments, baby!

I’d like to know which “languages” The Pedant most wants to hear.  It certainly seems as though he doesn’t give a shit about compliments, which is a shame since I’m so effusive with them.  I may try to ask him about his Love Languages the next time I see him – he so perfectly gives me the things I need that I’d like to return the favour – but I feel like the phrase “Love Languages” is so sappy it’ll instantly turn him off, so I’ll probably have to paraphrase.

It’s obvious that Words of Affirmation aren’t his thing, and I don’t see him giving much of a shit about receiving gifts.  My guess is he’s a Touch and Quality Time kind of guy.  I must investigate.

On a related note: before I’d ever heard of the Five Love Languages I kind of assumed that quality time was a prerequisite for any good relationship – not something a person could just take or leave.  But once I really got to thinking about it, I realized that I don’t especially need a lot of focused one-on-one special time in a relationship.  Minx and I used to spend tons of time side-by-side on the couch basically ignoring each other, each of us on the internet and absorbed in our own separate world.  It wasn’t Quality Time, by any means.  But at semi-regular intervals he would absent-mindedly reach over and pet the back of my head (which is Touch and an Act of Service, since he was petting me solely because he knew I liked it) and that’s what made me feel loved.  Even though the head-petting was such an unconscious habit for Minx that he once did it without thinking when I was in the middle of dyeing my hair, and stained his palm hot pink.

My primary Love Languages also explain why I’m not cut out for a long distance relationship (I’d never get as much touching as I need, and acts of service would be nearly impossible, too) and may explain why I am cut out for a poly relationship (I don’t need someone to be around all the time or super-focused on me, as long as they’re snuggling me and doing little nice things for me fairly regularly).

Which Love Languages do you speak?  Which ones do you most need to hear?


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4 responses to “Love languages

  1. I think the love languages thing is awesome. For me its quality time hands down. The others don’t matter much. I think discovering these things about each other leads to happier and more fulfilled relationships. And great sexy time 🙂

  2. Ooh fun 🙂 I came out strongly as Touch and Words of Affirmation. Which doesn’t surprise me now I think about it. But it did set me to thinking my answers might be skewed by the love languages my boy speaks well (and so I never want for). I think he’s all about Acts of Service, so I didn’t really identify with ‘I wish he would help more around the house’ type statements, because he’s so helpful already. But then I think he’s all about Touch too, and that didn’t prevent me from identifying that need. Hmm… *thinky face*

  3. Leah

    Blink and I took both the “married” and “single” love language tests, and were VERY annoyed at the assumptions made in the “married” section (the women’s had a lot to do with men helping them, and the men had a question specific to wishing the wife wanted more sex – which NEVER came up in mine), but it a sparked a really good conversation regardless.

    In both tests my highest score was Acts of Service – as a controlling individual raised by a controlling step-parent it feels really good not to have to worry about certain things (for example, Blink scoops the catbox, which is no easy feat with two 15-pound cats. I was always screamed at if even ONE poop was in the box when my stepdad got home as a kid – it feels amazing just letting that be his job AND I never “tasked” him with it). I feel pretty similar to you in that entire regard – I feel cared for when guys run errands without complaint and are willing to help.

    In the “marriage” section, Gifts was next, but Blink even told me that HIS questionnaire felt gift-question-heavy, as did mine. Don’t get me wrong; I love little gift surprises. But it’s not MOST IMPORTANT.Quality Time and Words of Affirmation were tied-ish, but I think my scores are a bit skewed because I don’t feel lacking in either category right now: Blink lavishes me with verbal and physical attention, sometimes to the point where I’m like, “STOP IT NOW. YOU ARE OVERWHELMING ME.” Which we talk about regularly and he doesn’t appear to control – as you said, it just comes out.

    The language I speak most probably as a result of my assumption of my needs versus others (as you mentioned) is Acts of Service or Gifts. I always think it’s nice to take the burden off of someone else, so I try to do it a lot. I also like to do little gifts, scavenger hunts, some “oh I saw this and thought of you” things. Blink needs Physical Touch and Quality Time, big time. Which doesn’t come as a surprise and I try to work on. We believe that while I may not specifically be on the autism spectrum, I have some pretty significant sensory issues that make me averse to touch and feeling like my space is invaded, and we are navigating those issues as best we can.

    Overall, awesome conversation-starter ^_^

  4. Pingback: Buying panties and reading studies – Just an ordinary day | Past the Hurt

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