Abby Van Egdom, MA, LMFTA
If You Loved Me...
If you loved me, you would take time out of your day for me. If you loved me, you would wash the dishes. If you loved me, you would cuddle with me in bed. If you loved me, you would compliment me. If you loved me, you would think to get me something.
Many partners in relationship use those phrases, desperately trying to feel loved and appreciated by the ones they love most. It is incredibly devastating to feel unimportant or unloved. It can also be confusing and form a sense of inadequacy when you don’t understand why your partner is not feeling loved.
Think about it: I feel most loved by my partner when ________________.
The difficult part is that you or your partner may be expressing their love in a different way than you crave. They also might not understand exactly what you need. Most people express their love in ways that they personally crave and long from their partner. These different expressions of love are known as the Five Love Languages, developed by Gary Chapman. This theory has enhanced how couples talk about, tune in to, and express love in their relationships.
1. Words of Affirmation - “I love you.”
Language and words are powerful for you. You feel loved when your partner verbally expresses their love through compliments, saying, “I love you,” saying what they appreciate about you, or stating their gratitude.
Tips for Partner: be specific, consider their strengths
2. Acts of Service - “Let me do that for you.”
Actions speak louder than words for you. When your partner takes time out of their day to do something for you, you feel that you are worth their time. You appreciate when your partner does a task around the house that you don’t enjoy doing. It is a reminder that they care about you.
Tips for Partner: routine or surprises, ask what you can do for them
3. Receiving Gifts - “I was thinking of you and got you something.”
Receiving physical gifts from your partner are the most meaningful to you. The gifts are visual reminders and symbols of how much you are loved that you can hold on to. When your partner comes home from the day and gives you a memento from their day, you know they were thinking about you.
Tips for Partner: does not need to be expensive, purchased/made/found items
4. Quality Time - Taking a walk together
When you are spending time with your partner, you feel most connected and desired. You value experiencing life together through sharing about their day with no distractions and doing activities together that you both enjoy. If your partner plans a date, you feel special and valued.
Tips for Partner: plan time, put down your phone, involve them in your day even if apart
5. Physical Touch – Cuddling in the morning
You feel the most wanted and loved when your partner is physically affectionate. Sitting close, hugging, kissing, holding hands, cuddling, and receiving a massage goes a long way. Your sexual relationship is also very important to you because that’s when you feel the most close and desired.
Tips for Partner: does not have to be sexual, random moments to connect physically
Do any of these love languages resonate with you?
Each love language is just what is most natural and comforting to you or your partner, with none of them being right or wrong ways to feel loved. It just might not be the most natural to you. It can be difficult to imagine but they feel as loved, wanted, and cared for when you express your love in their language as it does in yours.
Becoming a better “lover” is using the right language!
If you would like to take a quiz, go to the Five Love Languages website.
Book: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman (1995)