“I have constantly told you that I love you, why do you still say that I don’t love you? Can’t you see my love? I have bought you so many presents.” Eng Kiong retorted.
Soo Eng gave him no chance to continue, “But I don’t feel your love, I don’t care for the presents you have given me. All I want is some time with you alone.”
“Am I not spending time with you now?” Eng Kiong replied, getting frustrated.
During chat sessions with couples, I’ve heard many of them expressing sentiments similar to Soo Eng and Eng Kiong. More often than not, their problem is not the loss of love for each other. In fact, they still truly love one another and “express” their love to one another frequently. Alas, love expressed but not received equals no love expressed!
This happens when love speaks a different language.
Michelle and I take Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages seriously. We fully subscribe to his teaching and practise “speaking” the right love language to each other daily.
If your spouse complains that you are not showering him or her with love when you have been doing it constantly, go read that book immediately. It will do wonders for your love life as it did for Michelle’s and mine.
For those who have yet to be introduced to Chapman’s love languages, let me quickly summarize what he teaches. Humans respond to different expressions of love – 1. words of affirmation, 2. acts of service, 3. receiving gifts, 4. quality time and 5. physical touch. Each of us has an innate way of feeling loved and thus expresses love in the same way to others. For example, my innate love language is receiving words of affirmation. It simply means that I will feel loved when someone uses words to encourage or build me up.
So, when Michelle says to me, “Steven, you are great and I am so proud of you,” I feel loved. For the same reason, I will naturally express my love to Michelle in the same way. It seems a little myopic but most of us are like that; live life with a filter of our heart.
The problem arises if Michelle’s love language is anything else but words of affirmation. Let’s say her love language is physical touch, which means she feels loved when I hold her hand, hug her or give a pat on her shoulder. If that is how she feels loved, then no matter how much I shower her with encouraging words or presents, she wouldn’t perceive that I love her.
Thankfully for the both of us, our top two languages of love happen to be the same – words of affirmation and physical touch! And so, we encourage each other a lot and give each other strong physical expressions of love constantly – we even hold hands to sleep!
One husband came to me and said that his wife has been asking him to go for supper after the children go to bed. He is not in the habit of having supper and has rejected her many requests. But one night, he finally relented. What he could not fathom was that when he finally brought his wife out for supper, she said she was not hungry and did not want to eat! He got quite frustrated with that.
I told him to check what her love language was. I suggested to him that it could be quality time and “having supper” was just her way of wanting to spend quality time with him; the eating wasn’t key. He took the test with his wife and the results were exactly what I predicted. And ever since he understood her love language, he has been spending quality time with her. He told me recently that they are much happier now.
Do you want to discover what you and your spouse’s love languages are? Take the test (www.5lovelanguages.com) together with your spouse and learn what love languages you both “speak”.
And once you know your spouse’s love language, start “speaking” it to him or her immediately. I guarantee that when you do so, you will experience an immediate improvement in your relationship and it will save you a lot of unnecessary pains and troubles.
Let not your love speak a different language.