Bend Marriage Counseling: What Spells “Love” to Your Partner?

January 28, 2015 by

“It’s like we’re speaking two different languages!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a version of this phrase spoken by couples that come into my office. Oftentimes, frustrated partners argue that they are unable connect or communicate because the other can’t understand simple English.

While these feelings may come from a place of frustration, they’re not entirely unfounded. In a sense, people do speak different languages—everyone is different, and everyone expresses love and interprets actions differently. One partner might “spell” love one way, while another spells it completely differently.

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical example:

You may feel your relationship is going perfectly because you spend plenty of time together—eating, sleeping, and watching Netflix. You happily devote all of your spare time to your partner, so you are confused and upset when he or she begins to pull away from you.

Your partner sees things differently. He or she is worried that your relationship is falling apart, since the two of you never go out anymore and just hang around the house watching Netflix. Your partner starts to fear you are losing interest, since you never do anything special anymore.

In this instance, both you and your partner spell love in different ways—you spell love as sharing intimate everyday moments together, while your partner interprets love as making the effort to perform special romantic gestures.

Because individuals in relationships will often communicate and express love in vastly different ways, it’s important to work together to try and translate each other’s languages. To understand how your partner spells love, you need to discuss what kinds of things make them him or her feel loved, and what kinds of things make him or her feel neglected. Remember, there is no correct or wrong way to spell love. Each of you will interpret love in a unique language—the way that makes the most sense to you.

The Many Ways People Express Love

A variety of factors contribute to the way we interpret and show love, including our family upbringing, our cultural background, and our personal experiences. As a result, there is a countless array of ways that human beings express love. Some of the most common include:

Touch. Many people express love through affectionate touch, such as kisses, cuddling, and hugs.

Compliments. You may think your partner doesn’t need to hear constant words of affirmation, but for many, sincere compliments will really help them realize they are appreciated and loved.

Time. When some people are in love, they devote their spare time to another person to demonstrate affection. This could include going on dates together, or simply cuddling over a movie or eating together.

Gifts. From handmade paper napkin roses to fancy jewelry, both the smallest tokens and grandest of gifts are sometimes used to show how much someone cares for another.

Service. Some people go out of their way to perform tasks for the person they love, such as repairing their car, driving them to the airport, or bringing them soup when they’re sick.

Contact Tim Higdon for more indepth relationship help, workshops and more and find out how to learn to communicate better!