What's Your Love Language?

Cosmo.ph columnist Bianca Valerio discusses five ways we express our feelings, and how this can help us figure out our relationship problems.

The main cause of relationship failure is the age-old issue: lack of communication. However, the concept of communication is as vast as the Milky Way galaxy. And, it's quite daunting to think about where to begin.

To figure out how to get happiness in any kind of relationship (and for the other person to also get what he wants) you've got to be aware of your love language, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, marriage counselor and author of the New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages. Dr. Chapman outlines the five love languages as follows:

1. Physical affection, which can easily be mistaken for something malicious and only related to sex, but that's not necessarily the case. People who are touchy-feely and enjoy giving and receiving hugs and pats on the back, holding hands, or touching someone's face when they're trying to communicate have this love language.

2. Acts of service, like cooking, cleaning, taking the dogs out for a walk, or helping their loved ones do errands, are what people who speak this love language use to show their affection.

3. Material things. Some find it hard to actually say how much they care. So, rather than verbalize it or do an actual physical gesture, they course it through gifts and tokens.

4. Quality time is the most intangible language, but for some, it can also be the most sacred. To give time and undivided attention is how some people choose to prove their true feelings. These are people who live busy lives (or maybe very isolated ones) but step out of their daily routines to share that time with someone they feel deserves it.

5. Words of validation. Talk may be cheap for some, but others find kind words priceless. They love to hear how much they are loved, appreciated, and adored.

Everyone wants to feel validated in their relationships. We all want to feel that we aren't being taken for granted and that our efforts mean something to the people we care about. But, because there are so many ways to communicate our love, we may find ourselves in a situation where our partners are actually showing appreciation, but we aren't aware of it because we expect it to be expressed in a different manner.

We need to stop and consider that our partners may actually be showering us with affection in their own love language. But, what happens is, we are oblivious to in-your-face signals, and they, in turn, end up wrongly thinking we don't care. In the end, we become disappointed because we were assuming the worst in what is just a clear case of love miscommunication. Evidently, there is much love to go around, but we need to make the connection work!

So, you need to discuss with your partner what he responds to best: gifts, words, time, touch, or acts of services. That way, you can give him what he wants and in turn, he can give you what you want. Remember, you need to ask yourself, too: What do I respond to most? And how do I show affection? Say, you may choose to receive gifts from a loved one but personally find yourself always showing affection through words. You may even have more than one language! The key is to assess yourself and your partner, then learn to speak each other's language.

So, what is your language of love? What do you best respond to? Let's get a discussion going in the comments!

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