It can be easy to assume that what feels loving to you is also loving to another person. But that’s not always the case.
If not communicating properly, couples can continue on in a relationship for quite some time with totally different expectations for how they should give and receive love. And when those expectations aren’t met, resentment can take root, which is no good for anyone.
With my boyfriend and me, we realized we had different expectations about how much time we should spend with one another. But because we had a candid discussion about it and got everything out in the open, we were able to create a gameplan so that we both felt we were getting what we needed from each other.
Men and women are different (duh). Because of this, they show and receive love in very distinct ways. And if it’s going to work, it’s important to be aware of those different needs so that you can meet them.
Maybe you’ve heard about the book called The Five Love Languages, or have taken the quiz. The author, Gary Chapman, defines five main ways through which people experience love:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
My love language is quality time. It means the world to me when my boyfriend takes some time out of his day to check in, give me his full attention, and reconnect. On the other hand, he needs words of affirmation. That’s not something that is a big love language for me, so it’s easy for me to overlook how important it is to say how much I appreciate him.
For me, simply spending time together communicates that. But I tell him anyway. I let him know when I’m feeling especially thankful for him in my life, or when I really admire something he did, or am proud of a decision he made. He needs to hear those things more than I do, and that’s something I have to consciously remember.
On the flip side, I love when he sends me a sweet text in the middle of the day. Or calls at bedtime to say goodnight. But those gestures aren’t nearly as meaningful in my eyes as getting to see him in person and having face-to-face time with each other. So even if it’s a short visit, or we have a week where our schedules are especially crazy, he prioritizes spending time together.
Learning our Love Languages has made a huge difference in our relationship. The more time we spend together the more we’ve figured out what makes the other person feel loved, wanted and accepted.