Couples Counseling

Are You and Your Partner Speaking the Same Love Language?

Learning Your Partner’s Love Language is the Best Valentines Day Gift

As a family, we have been watching Marvel Comic Movies in chronological order. It was no surprise the movies brought up conversations about superheroes and superpowers at the dinner table. One night in particular, my children were discussing what superpower they would want. Going around the table each person described their desire to fly or be invisible with excitement. So when it came time for me to share my dream superpower I was met with puzzled faces.

The superpower I would want to have is to be able to speak and understand all the languages in the world. 

I have dreamed of speaking another language for most of my adult life. In reality, I find it very challenging to learn a new language despite my efforts and time on Duolingo. It may not come as a surprise to you because I am a counselor in training but I love connecting with people. My desire to speak another language does not come from a curiosity about linguistics but rather a desire to connect with others. 

When two people speak the same language the connection can happen so easily (most of the time). When communication is hindered, a misunderstanding can be so frustrating and cause challenges. This is even more true when both people involved speak different languages. 

I am not saying communication isn’t possible. In fact, with the help of google translate and my 8th-grade French class, I can order a meal and find my hotel if visiting France. What I am saying is it is difficult to feel a connection when you do not speak or understand the language. 

This concept of connection through language is also true in love.

Love has many languages and ways of being communicated. If you don’t speak the same language as your partner it can leave you feeling very disconnected. 

Gary Chapman, the author of “The 5 Love Languages”, says “Love is the most important word in the English language – and the most confusing.” 

A List of the Five Love Languages with a pink background and hearts
1. Words of Affirmation 
2. Gifts
3. Acts of Service
4. Quality Time
5. Physical Touch

In his book, Chapman identifies five love languages that are common avenues by which people feel love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.  

We all want to be and feel loved. In relationships, love can often be misunderstood or even missing altogether especially if our love languages are different. 

Many couples I talk to are familiar with the idea of “Love Languages”. They might even know their own love language. But they have never taken the time to learn how their partner receives love. 

It is easy to think we know our own love language and that is enough. But that is only one small piece of the equation.

If you know your own love language but not your partners, you’re missing half of the puzzle. 

This is because it is not uncommon for a person to give love in the way that they receive love. For example, if you feel loved when someone buys you a gift (receiving gifts), then it makes sense you would buy someone you love a gift. If you feel loved when someone writes you a quick email saying they love you (words of affirmation), then it seems obvious to you to do the same for someone else you love. 

But here is the thing, what if your attempts to show love aren’t being translated into the receiver’s love language? What if the gift you give to show love is received as something nice but not as an act of love? 

This can be so frustrating. You could be doing everything that would make you feel loved and wishing your partner would do the same in return. Instead, your partner wants to snuggle and hold hands and barely ever buys you gifts. 

This can leave you feeling unloved and tired from trying to love and feeling unloved in return. At the same time, your partner could have similar feelings. They are loving you the way they want to be loved and you aren’t getting the message. This leaves them feeling frustrated too. 

This cycle can be so exhausting and debilitating. Leaving couples feeling lonely or stuck in their relationship. These feelings may be a result of speaking a different love language than your partner. There is often a simple fix to this frustrating cycle:

Learn a new language. Learn what language of love your partner speaks and then speak it to them. 

pink and red speech bubbles with hearts inside

By exploring love languages together, you and your partner can begin to understand each other better. When you learn your partner’s love language, you can speak it to them in a way where they feel loved by you. And if your partner knows your love language, they can speak love to you in a way that you feel most loved. 

Take some time to talk with your partner and ask them when they feel most loved. Be ready to share with them how you feel most loved. You might be surprised at their answer. 

If you want help learning love languages with your partner, couples counseling could be right for you!

And even when you know your partner’s love language, relationships are difficult. There may be past hurts in the relationship that make it hard to hear from your partner. Couples counseling is a helpful way to navigate difficulties that can come up. With the help of a couples counselor, you and your partner can work through hurts from the past and the present. Couples Counseling is also a great way to grow in your relationship with your partner. Couples counseling can provide your relationships with the tools needed to build a healthy relationship.

Check out the awesome team of couples counselors and contact us to get started today.

About The Author

Kelli Carter, couples counselor intern

Kelli Carter is a Clinical Mental Health Intern at Montgomery Counseling Center, in Rockville, Maryland. Kelli is a graduate student working toward her clinical mental health counseling masters degree. This training training has given her experience in a variety of evidenced based counseling practices. Kelli is currently completing Training in Level 1 Gottman’s Method.

Through counseling she explores how to build relationships with others and yourself that will help you in your daily life. She aims to help clients gain more self-awareness and give resources to be your best self and grow in healthy relationships with others. Kelli is currently accepting new clients at MCCC at a reduced-rate. Kelli is directly supervised by MCCC founder Laura Goldstein, LCMFT.

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