“If we learn to meet each other’s deep emotional need to feel loved, and choose to do it, the love we share will be exciting beyond anything we’ve ever felt.” —Gary Chapman

Do you really know how to love your partner? You do? What’s their love language?

I’ve asked a lot of people this question and they usually look at me as if I had a third eye. The truth is, until recently, I had no idea what it meant either. Being a married and divorced woman, I thought I knew everything there was to know about love and how to get it right this time.

But then one day, my fiancé asks me the question, “do you know what your love languages are?” My reply came swiftly, “to love me and communicate with me…period!” Right ladies!?! We all just want to feel loved and to be with someone we can trust and respect. Duh.

Except, I was wrong. One little book, called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, changed everything. Until then, I hadn’t realized my love language, or how I feel love, is much different than my fiance’s. According to Chapman, there are only five languages and they are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. After a quick survey, I learned that my primary love language is quality time and my secondary love language is receiving gifts. My fiance’s love languages are words of affirmation and service. I need my lover to make time for me. He needs to hear words of appreciation. So here, the golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated proves totally wrong – even worse, it can cause serious misunderstandings and frustration between couples. In loving your partner, it’s important to love them as theywant to be loved not as you want to be loved.

So how do I make it happen? Luckily, I have the service part down packed. I don’t mind taking care of my partner. I enjoy doing all the little things for him, made even easier with my slight case of OCD. But when I’m honest with myself, it’s the words of affirmation where I have had a harder time. Some of you reading this may say, “but why? Just say nice things, Arsi!!” I’m the type of person that when I give compliments or tell someone how great of a job they are doing or how much I appreciate them, I’m 100% sincere about it. I am a “say what I mean and mean what I say” type person. So if we’re butting heads, those sweet words aren’t rolling off my tongue.

But here’s the beautiful part. Once he understood how I feel love, and started making a bigger effort to make time for me — involving me in some of his work activities, planning weeknight dates, or fun activities we could do together on the weekend — and I started to feel the relationship become more of a “we” rather than a “you,” “me” or “I,” the words of affirmation started coming in….happily and naturally. Bottom line, love is a two way street: when you feel love, it is much easier to love your partner the way they want to be loved.

So I ask you again, do you know your love language? If not, spend a few minutes taking this survey and find out! Better yet, once you finish it, send it to your lover too.

You can thank me later,

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Elena Scheiner