one story tbV [the beautiful Val] enjoys telling is how after a month of us dating she had a bedside drawer full of chocolate…
why is this significant? well, i spent a lot of time giving tbV chocolate as a way of showing i loved her, but she is not a big fan of chocolate, preferring sour sweets instead and so basically i invested a month or so in making Val’s housemate very happy.
i am a big chocolate fan [no, Americaland, Hershey’s is NOT chocolate, altho peanut butter cups do qualify] and so what better way to show someone love than giving them something that makes me feel good when i receive it? the moment i realised that she preferred sour sweets and savoury as a general trend, i was able to much better show her my Love and have her receive it as well.
Gary Chapman wrote a really helpful book called ‘The Five Love Languages’ in which he explains that people give and receive Love predominantly in five different ways:
 Words of Affirmation – “You look hot!”
 Acts of Service – “I fixed your heater, so now your room will be more hot.”
 Receiving Gifts – “Here is a plate of chili nachos. It may be a little hot.”
 Quality Time – “It’s hot today. Let’s go hang out on the beach together.”
 Physical Touch – “Rrarr, let’s get you hot.”
…or something like that!
The key to the book is realising that your primary act of receiving Love might be different to that of your person and so you giving them Love in a way you like to receive it [giving gifts] might not be received with the same extent of excitement or appreciation if your person’s primary way of receiving Love is different [eg. quality time]
In fact, it could even almost produce the opposite effect. If your wife is wanting to spend time with you [as a way of receiving Love well] and you spend all your time working extra time at your job [because you are saving up money to buy her something expensive because you value gifts] then despite your act being one of focused Love-giving, your wife might end up feeling not loved at all, because her need is not being met.
It can be as easy as a conversation – sit with your person and the list above and try and identify your top two Love languages that you receive Love in, and then try and figure out the Love languages that you show Love with [they may be the same] and then help your person identify theirs.
Basically we are answering the question, “What is important to the person i Love?” and then choosing to live in such a way that when you are wanting to show them Love, you choose a way that really connects with them and demonstrates the feeling and the choice you have.
This is really just a helpful guide more than a scientific art – you will probably find that you give and receive Love in a variety of ways, but hopefully you will easily be able to identify the one or two that make you feel well and truly Loved. And armed with this information in terms of your spouse, can make showing them Love so much easier and more significant.
EXPLORING THE HATE LANGUAGES?
It goes deeper than that when you are married as well. There may be a household task [like washing the dishes] that has neutral feeling for you, but your wife HATES doing it. How easy for you to jump in every time and do that task and free her up from doing something she doesn’t enjoy. Chances are there is something [dusting] you’re not a big fan of and she will reciprocate, altho that should not be your intention for doing it. It is a great act of Love to remove something your person hates.
Similarly, you might have some bad habits [leaving the toilet seat up… i don’t!] that are not the biggest deal for you, but might be a huge deal for your person. Identify those [there is no harm in asking regularly – this could be a simple tweak in your life that could help convey a huge amount of Love] and change them.
This is worth taking some time on – trying to figure out some stuff for yourself and also inviting your spouse to share the ways they receive Love well and to perhaps point out some stuff around the house or it could be the fact that you are always late for things that drives her mad or that you arrive home from work and hang out with the tv before you hang out with her or a number of other things… figure them out and Love her better!