AT HEART: No word covers a wider range of feelings and experiences than love.
AT HEART: No word covers a wider range of feelings and experiences than love.

Partners need to speak the same love language

By RAKHI BEEKRUM Time of article published Feb 21, 2018

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IT’S common in therapy for me to encounter people questioning whether their partner loves them.

As we chat further, we often discover that the perception is often inaccurate. While most people speak the same language as their partners, their love languages may differ.

Many people feel that because their partner does not express love in the way they expect he/she does not love them.

It’s important to bear in mind that we are all unique individuals and have different ways of expressing feelings.

I often hear complaints such as “he never says he loves me”. What we don’t realise is that not everyone finds it easy to express their feelings verbally. Many have been raised in homes where such verbal affection was unheard of.

Having said that, it is not fair to blame one’s upbringing for anything. We should rather realise that when we were younger, all we learnt was what we were exposed to. As adults we can learn newer ways of doing things - such as expressing.

It is vital to remember, however, that just because someone says “I love you” it does not necessarily mean that they truly mean it. Actions always speak louder than words.

We all show love in different ways. We need to discover what makes our partners feel loved - and do more of that. And let your partner know what makes you feel loved.

Many people expect their partners to know, but to avoid any misunderstanding, it is okay to tell them. And if they are still getting it wrong, then some work is required.

I hear children too, doubting whether their parents love them. And when I enquire about the things the parent does for them, we realise these are expressions of love - from cooking your favourite meal to working overtime so they can send you to a good school.

In my experience with couples I have worked with, I noticed men tended to show their love by being good providers for their wives and children. They worked hard to ensure all the family’s needs were catered for.

This is their expression of love. And men seem disappointed when their efforts go unrecognised and unappreciated.

Many women feel that their husbands are not romantic and so do not love them.

This is not necessarily true.

Some wives may value quality time and feel that because their husband spends a lot of time at work, he does not prioritise her.

However, the husband works hard to be a good provider.

This is a common misunderstanding. It is therefore essential to speak to one another about your feelings and expectations to clear up misunderstandings.

Some people value gifts as an expression of love and may feel unloved and neglected if their partner does not shower them with gifts. Others may be good with words, either spoken or written to express their feelings.

It is important to recognise the ways in which you show love. So think about what you do to express your love to your partner. Is it verbal? Gift-giving? Being a dutiful partner?

Praying for your partner’s welfare? Quality time? Physical affection? Helping with their chores to lighten the load? Random acts of kindness?

Whatever it is that you do for them is an indication of what you may want in return. At the same time, we need to realise that the way in which we express love may not even be recognised as such by our partners.

Think about the things your partner does for you. Perhaps it does not make you feel loved, but in some way, he/she is surely expressing that love. Don’t shy away from talking about it and saying what you would prefer.

Many are quick to criticise when not happy.

Also, think about the things you complain about. Is it not spending quality time together? Not getting help around the house?

The things we complain about not receiving give a good indication of what we would like.

When we feel loved, we somehow feel happier and more capable of dealing with other issues in our lives.

It is never a waste of time to put some effort into making your relationship happier. Think about the impact an unhappy marriage can have on all aspects of your life. So investing even a few minutes a day to strengthen your marriages will go a long way towards ensuring a happy future.

* Rakhi Beekrum is a Durban North psychologist. Her column is published every Sunday in the Sunday Tribune Herald.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE 

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