Speak "love"? And if so, which dialect? The answer to this question is amazing! Photo: Getty Images
By Friederike Ostermeyer [14. March 2019, 12:41 pm
Have you heard about the "Five Languages of Love" according to Gary Chapman? We spoke with couples counselor and relationship coach Eric Hegemann about the communication model and learned how just knowing about it can make a relationship happier.
Sometimes there is just something wrong: We feel misunderstood and left alone by our partner. Or he is left alone by us, which in turn is very difficult to comprehend by oneself. „You just don’t understand me", it is then said, and both feel hurt. The reason for this is rarely a lack of love, but the simple fact that each person speaks a different love language. Five different ones, according to American couple therapist Gary Chapman, who developed the model for this in the early 1990s. Because it’s so easy to follow and brings quick effects, the concept caught on all over the world. Also the Hamburg pair advisor and relationship coach Eric Hegmann puts to everyone to the heart to argue with the own love language and that of the partner. „Once you have realized what makes the other person tick in love, it quickly becomes clear what caused the imbalance in the first place", promises the relationship professional.
The five languages of love and how they differ from each other
First of all: According to the expert, we can "speak" all love languages, but usually only one of the five particularly well. If you are not quite sure which of the five is your "native" language you can take the official test according to Chapman here.
If you know this language, it’s easy to shower people with compliments, praise them or simply say: I’m proud of you! This usually does not require a special occasion, rather it is simply good for recognition supporters to let their counterpart know what a wonderful and special person he or she is. In return, their own appreciation is just as important to them, and they quickly feel set back if days go by without a word of praise coming across the lips of their partner.
To spend time with the dearest one stands for these humans in highest place. This is not about experiencing one action-packed activity after another, but about moments that you experience together consciously and intensively a nice dinner, a good conversation, an undisturbed weekend. People who speak this love language as a priority give the other person unlimited attention, but also expect this from their partner.
If you enjoy surprising the other person, thinking up crazy or unusual gifts for them- Who has the ability to notice what his partner wants, only to see his shining eyes- who is a follower of the gift language. Understandably, these people tend to be disappointed quickly, for example, if the partner forgets the hoped-for souvenir after a long trip.
Don’t talk long, just do it- that is the motto of this language category. You immediately recognize where your help is needed, take out the trash without being asked, do the dishes without grumbling, help with the tax return or put up shelves. Doing the other person’s work or supporting them is your way of showing love. If your partner does not recognize this or even overlooks the helpfulness shown to him, you will feel unappreciated and quickly react with emotional withdrawal.
For these people, caresses, long hugs or passionate kisses are the be-all and end-all in love. For a happy relationship, tender people need regular, intensive physical contact. It is less important to be constantly told how sexy and desirable you are a hot love night is rather proof enough. But even just spontaneous hand-holding in public is good for those people who focus on tenderness. In general, actions count more than words here!
Why it is important to learn each other’s language
„The beauty of this model is that everyone can immediately do something with it", emphasizes Hegmann. „Suddenly it becomes clear that what is important to me in the relationship is not the top priority for the other person. This helps immensely to develop more understanding for the other person. And with this realization also disappears the threat of differences.“ In his practice, a simple love language check has already produced many "aha" effects. An example: To whom gifts are not so important, it will also not matter if there is no big package for the birthday. As a "togetherness linguist this part is much more happy about a romantic meal than about material things. But if you were hoping for the designer bag, you might react with disappointment to the lovingly prepared dinner for two. If both know about the love language of the other, then it comes less often to such moments of incomprehension, resp. dealing with it takes place much more consciously.
What does my own love language say about me??
It is not only about understanding the partner better, but also about getting to know oneself better. Why, for example, is recognition so important to me? Is it because I often experienced rejection as a child or have already gone through many disappointing breakups? „The more we think about it, the more we come to understand what ideas and values actually shape ourselves. And this is where the real relationship work can begin", explains Hegmann. Of course, few people would speak only one love language: "We live shares of all five. But knowing which ones are prevalent in yourself and your partner can already help some problems to disappear as if by themselves or not to arise in the first place", says the expert. In this case, the "opposites attract" would usually come up-principle to bear, because- and that’s what Hegmann experiences every day in couples therapy sessions: Two people who speak absolutely the same love language rarely become a couple.