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Understanding the language of love, and how it can improve your relationships

Updated on:19 February 2021, 12:58pm IST
If you’re someone who is looking to improve their relationships, then follow these five love languages and see a difference.
Raisa Kaur
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how it can improve your relationships
The language of love is important to understand. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Yesterday, I went out for dinner with a couple of my friends to a place that reminded me somehow of an 80s Calcutta club. I wasn’t even born in the 80s neither have I been born in Kolkata, but the majestic chandelier, yellow lights and retro music gave a very Parineeta Calcutta vibe. It instantly put me in a very nostalgic mood, just reminiscing growing up in the 90s and everything I missed about it. 

A friend of mine handles social media for a startup, which is in contrast all about the 21st century. She was telling us about the most millennial concept ever: the various abbreviations that exist today. Tbh, bae, ama, irl and some other random alphabets put together. 

I am a 90s kid through and through, and my heart perhaps belongs in the 80s. You could call me a 27-year-old, who is technologically challenged and would happily use a flip phone, provided instagram worked on it. So a 3/10 score was not surprising to me. But as I sat there smh (shaking my head) and laughing at my own mind ageing before my body (although my back would disagree), it got me thinking about how we communicate with each other in today’s world. 

For the longest time, I was a firm believer in the principle of ‘communication is the key to a healthy relationship’, until I came across another quote that said ‘comprehension is key to a healthy, long lasting relationship’. For me, it was like one of those a-ha moments! It didn’t just change my approach to my relationships, but also how I approached my clients, seeking help for their relationship struggles. 

Are you able to get through to your partner or loved one about what you are trying to communicate? More so, are you able to understand your partner or loved one about what they are trying to communicate with you?

how to improve your relationships
Love plays a very integral role in your life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What got to me even more was how it is impacting the way we approach any relationship. Are the shortening of words also leading to or a contributor to the shortening duration of our relationships? Is comfort, convenience and ease the new aphrodisiac?

Here’s what I found out

In 1992, Dr Gary Chapman, a counsellor and American author wrote a book that simplifies this challenge of communication and comprehension, especially when it comes to love. His book titled The 5 Love Languages that has been the saviour of several marriages even today. Dr Chapman defines the language of love, as a way to express and receive love and through extensive explorations of his own clients, has categorised them into 5 basic languages. 

This book makes it easier to understand what language you speak and what others around you prefer. This is not only in terms of how you show it, but also receive it. How you like to show your affection may vary from how you would like to receive it as well. Here’s a little brief about these languages but with my own little twist of understanding: 

Love as a language and as a feeling is highly driven by our primary senses and the body parts that determine them. What we see, what we feel, what we hear contributes highly to how we may grow to feel about a person and this, perhaps, can be seen as part of these 5 languages.

1. Gift giving / the touch / what we feel / skin

The tangible measure of love. Touch is the very first sense that develops and is most often the primary language of love. Gift giving is not just a simple transaction but a process of finding something that you know your loved one would adore and not what you would like to give them. It communicates an understanding of their wants and needs.

how to improve your relationships
Do you know, A trusting romantic relationship can literally save a breast cancer patient’s life? Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Quality time / the talking / what we say / mouth

The no distractions clause. Quality time is talking time. Not just tv watching, music listening or boogie dancing, but also taking out time for one another to really look into each other’s eyes and talk, where the only movement required is that of the mouth to taste the words.

3. Physical contact / the smell / what we smell

The aur-paas moments. This can most directly be connected to the touch, as it is undoubtedly skin to skin contact. But what comes with touch here is also our association of a strong sense of smell that we assign to a person. The hugging, kissing, holding hands, stolen pecks on the cheek carry with it deeply that strong whiff of your loved one’s scent.

4. Words of affirmation / the hearing / what we hear

The verbal validation. Studies have shown that prenatal experiences tend to affect the choices we make after birth. Hearing develops in the uterus and we are able to distinguish the different sounds. Need for positive affirmations and sense of appreciation through words develops very early on. A simple ‘thank you’ or ‘I am proud of you’ can go a long way into developing a strong bond.

5. Acts of service / the seeing / what we see

The equal distribution of responsibilities. ‘Honey, why don’t I put the bed cover today for us?’ or ‘Sweetheart, the petrol in your car was low so I went ahead and filled it up’. A two-minute act = a smile throughout the day.

how to improve your relationships
Lack of communication isn’t good for your relation. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
6. We often come to a point in the relationship where we know that the love is there but are unable to feel it.

Perhaps because we end up giving or receiving a healthy grilled chicken salad when what is really desired is a double cheeseburger with a fried chicken patty and extra fries.

What gives you that cozy, fuzzy, warm feeling? Is it that cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter afternoon with extra marshmallows, indulging in cute stationery or simply spending an evening talking under the stars? Is it the same for your partner?

“I hope you find someone who speaks your language so you don’t have to spend a lifetime translating your spirit.” –@dr.thema Or be willing to put in that time and effort to recognise this language of your love.

Raisa Kaur Raisa Kaur

Raisa Kaur is a counselling psychologist at BetterLyf, an online counselling platform. She is passionate about working with kids and has done a diploma in special education and alternate therapies like animal assisted therapy and autism movement therapy. Currently she works with adults and young adults, and specialises in relationships and general stress and anxiety issues.