June 07, 2024

Loving Your Partner in the Way They Desire to Be Loved.

“Somebody said your love language is based on what you didn’t receive as a child, and I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Unknown Author

Understanding how to love your partner in the way they yearn to be loved is crucial for maintaining a lasting bond between couples. There is a tendency to love your partner how you want to be loved, which makes sense because that’s all we know about how to love someone. However, this approach can become problematic in the long run, as you may spend all your time and energy only to find out that your partner feels unloved by your efforts.

 

In fact, many couples seeking therapy for communication, emotional connection, and intimacy discover this issue to be a factor getting in the way of feeling loved by their partner. When there is a mismatch in loving someone, we often feel like “we have given everything we have, but it is not enough for the other person. You might say to your partner:

  • “What else do you want from me? I have bought you expensive stuff and have taken you on multiple vacations.”
  • “I have always told you how great you are at what you do. What else do you want from me?”
  • “I have been a faithful parent to our children. Why is that not enough?”

The list can go on, and you might have your own version of such statements. The takeaway is that we feel we have loved our partner, and they do not appreciate our love. But have you asked yourself how your partner wants to be loved?

Finding out how our partner wants to be loved is an amazing hack that could save you a lot of heartache and result in a much better relationship.

Active Listening

How Your Partner Wants to Be Loved

Every individual has unique needs and desires when it comes to feeling loved. Our specific way of being loved stems from our upbringing, past experiences, and personality. Therefore, it is crucial to communicate with your partner and understand what makes them feel loved.

 

Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, suggests that understanding how someone wants to be loved can empower us to communicate love in a simple way. While the concept of the Five Love Languages is still being researched for its significance, it does offer a starting point for couples to communicate how they want to be loved. Let’s go over each of the love languages suggested in Gary Chapman’s book.

Types of Love Languages

  1. Words of Affirmation: This love language involves expressing love through words. Compliments, verbal encouragement, and affirmations fall into this category. For example, telling your partner, “I appreciate everything you do,” can significantly boost their sense of being loved.
  2. Acts of Service: For those who value acts of service, actions speak louder than words. This might include cooking a meal, taking care of chores, or running errands for your partner. These acts show your partner that you care about their well-being and are willing to support them in practical ways.
  3. Receiving Gifts: Some people feel most loved when they receive thoughtful gifts. It’s not about the material value but the thought and effort behind the gesture. A handwritten note, a surprise dessert, or a small token that shows you were thinking of them can make a significant impact.
  4. Quality Time: Spending undistracted time together is crucial for those who value quality time. This means putting away phones, engaging in meaningful conversations, and doing activities you enjoy together. It’s about being present and attentive.
  5. Physical Touch: Physical touch can range from holding hands, hugs, and kisses to more intimate physical connections. For those who value physical touch, these actions provide a sense of security and warmth.

There are countless quizzes available online to help you identify your love language, but you can also take some time to think about what you appreciate when others do for you. Upon self-reflection, you may be surprised to realize that how you want to be loved is obvious.

Couples bonding over a cup of coffee

The ABCs of Loving Your Partner

Understanding your partner’s love languages is important, but creating emotional safety in your relationship is crucial for ensuring your love is received as intended.

 

Being loved involves more than words; it includes actions, emotions, and intentions. Love is about feeling valued, respected, and supported. It’s about knowing that your partner sees you, understands you, and accepts you for who you are.

 

This sense of belonging and security is essential for a healthy and fulfilling relationship. For helpful tips on achieving nurturing communication, consider reading this article on creating emotional safety.

 

Ask yourself if the above qualities are practiced in your relationship. Do you feel valued, respected, and supported by your partner? Do you feel understood by them? Do you offer the same qualities in your relationship?

Are Your Needs at Odds with Your Partner's Limitations?

It’s important to recognize that sometimes your preferred love language may not align perfectly with your partner’s capabilities or circumstances. The following examples are some of the many issues to be taken into consideration: For example:

  • Finding a balance can be challenging if you value quality time, but your partner has a demanding job.
  • If physical touch is essential for you, but your partner has physical boundaries or personal space preferences, finding common ground and respecting each other’s limits is crucial.
  • When one partner cherishes words of affirmation, and the other is not naturally expressive, it may require intentional effort and patience to bridge this gap.
  • Receiving gifts might be one partner’s love language, but if the other has financial constraints or different perspectives on material expressions of love, open communication is key to finding a mutually satisfying approach.
  • In scenarios where acts of service are highly valued, yet the other partner is under significant stress or has other responsibilities, it’s essential to understand and adapt to each other’s limitations without resentment.

Understanding whether your and your partner’s needs are conflicting can help avoid blaming and shift the conversation towards a more constructive discussion and solution. Sometimes, the differences between you and your partner can be complex, and seeking a couples therapy can help identify the issues and reach a compromise.

Emotional Safety in relationships

The Impact of Past Traumas on Relationship

It’s common for couples to express worries about past trauma and emotional pain during therapy sessions. Previous traumatic experiences can have a profound impact on current relationships, making it challenging to feel secure and valued.

 

For example, growing up in a dysfunctional family environment can lead to attachment injury, which may continue to affect adult relationships later on. We may engage in reassurance-seeking behavior from our partner to feel safe in the relationship. Similarly, experiencing abusive relationships during adolescence and adulthood can make it challenging to identify our needs for love and acceptance. Here are seven questions to help determine if past wounds are interfering with your relationship:

 

  1. Do you find it hard to trust your partner, even when they’ve given you no reason to doubt them?
  2. Are there certain situations or behaviors that trigger intense emotional reactions in you?
  3. Do you avoid vulnerability with your partner out of fear of being hurt or rejected?
  4. Have you noticed patterns in your relationships that reflect unresolved issues from your past?
  5. Do you feel a constant need for reassurance from your partner?
  6. Are you often anxious about your partner’s commitment to the relationship?
  7. Do you struggle with feelings of unworthiness or self-doubt in your relationship?

If you or your partner answered ‘yes’ to several of these questions, it may be helpful to seek professional guidance. Therapy can provide a safe space to address and heal past traumas, paving the way for a healthier and more secure relationship.

Conclusion

Loving your partner the way they want to be loved involves:

  • Understanding their love language.
  • Expressing love in ways that resonate with them.
  • Addressing any underlying issues that may hinder your connection.

Also, seeking couples therapy does not mean your relationship is doomed to fail. If you feel this way, please read the “9 Frequently Asked Questions About Couples Therapy” article to dispel this misunderstanding. Most couples who seek help in a timely manner find couples therapy to be very helpful for their relationship.

Couples Therapy

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