Getting to truly know someone takes a long time. Every day you learn something new about your friends, significant others and family members.
So, why is it that as we get further into relationships we start assuming our loved ones can read our minds about what we want and need?
The truth is, we will never be able to read their minds. However, if you want to get pretty close to reading their minds, I recommend you learn their love language.
The concept of love languages was created by relationship counselor, Gary Chapman. The big picture of this concept is that we all express love differently, and sometimes, understanding those differences can give you insight into what your partner actually desires. There are five main ways we, as humans, express love.
Words of affirmation: Expressing love through spoken or written words. This includes written or oral reminders of appreciation, attraction, praise or affection.
Acts of service: Expressing love through helpful actions. This includes anything that makes your partner's life easier, such as: doing chores for them, making them a home-cooked meal or recording their favorite show.
Receiving gifts: Expressing love through symbolic gifts. This includes picking up souvenirs while you're away, surprising them with flowers or making a homemade gift.
Quality time: Expressing love through undivided, undistracted attention. This includes practicing a hobby together, talking about your day together or planning a date.
Physical touch: Expressing love through physical affection. This includes being intimate, hugging, public displays of affection or a shoulder to lean on.
Everyone, to some extent, values all these love languages, but most of the time, we have one or two languages that we value more than others.
For example, I know that I am a sucker for words of affirmation and acts of service. I personally feel the most loved when someone tells me out loud how much they love me. I also find it easiest to feel gracious when someone goes out of their way to make my life easier, like driving me to an appointment.
For a long time, I would often feel confused and unloved in my relationships.
After some research into this theory, and some serious self-reflection, I realized that my way of expressing and receiving love is not the only way to do it. What I viewed as my partners being distant, was actually just them having a different love language than I did.
There is a level of solace and understanding that comes when you realize you and your partner's love language. For example, my current partner is the complete opposite of me.
Of course, I am sure he appreciates how I compliment him to extremes and fold his laundry, but the reality is we have different love languages. Instead of sweet words and chores, he shows his love through signs of affection and giving me undivided attention.
When I realized "emotional mushy stuff" AKA, words of affirmation wasn't his love language, I learned to show that I care in ways that make sense to him, like hugs and building Minecraft houses together. Meanwhile, he learned that extra reassurance makes me feel extra loved. On the flip side, we also learned how we don't express affection. We both scored low on the giving and receiving gifts love language.
Love languages may not be the bandaid to every relationship issue you have, but knowing what's important to your loved ones can improve and maintain every relationship.
Learning love languages can help you communicate with your loved ones a little more efficiently, put things into perspective and may even teach you how to love yourself better too.