There are some excellent books on the market regarding love languages. These are not the same as English, Spanish, and French. The authors of these guides refer to more personal methods of communication within a relationship. People express love in various ways but don’t necessarily need the same expression they would show another person in order to feel loved. Let’s break that down.
Types of Love Languages
Typically, men want to be touched. They respond to a very physical sort of love; demonstrative affection. Men want the women in their lives to touch them in both intimate and gentle ways: almost all touch is good as far as they are concerned.
Some women really love gifts, but that means different things to different women. A girlfriend might love to receive flowers every so often as an expression of affection. A woman married many years could be responsive to smaller gifts like cards and love notes. The other partner learns over time what a meaningful gift looks like.
It is not uncommon for the gift of time to be important to certain individuals. They don’t care what happens during that time — shopping, browsing for bolts and nails, or going for a walk — so long as they are together and there are no distractions. Even holding hands isn’t important.
Receiving Love and Giving Love
The first example above regarding touch is highly ironic. Men really do love to be touched but they often forget to do something as simple as holding the other person’s hand. Instead of showing love this way, the man might be more likely to purchase gifts or give his time. In other words, the language expressed does not have to be the one a person appreciates and neither love language is more valid than the other.
A relationship can work if two people show affection one way or another and understand and appreciate their differences, but it’s possible for one of these expressions to become unhealthy. For instance, it is unhealthy for someone to buy another person’s love. This is not about love at all but possession and control. One should not expect or give constant touch as this is obsessive and inappropriate, especially in public. When one partner touches the other all the time by rubbing her back, holding, or kissing her too much, this is more of an announcement to others that she is not to be shared than a show of affection.
One partner should not expect to receive expensive gifts on a regular basis. When every token seems like a gift, that’s not hard to handle but no party should feel pressured to produce jewelry and holidays at every turn or face rejection.
A Healthy Exchange
It’s also valid for one party to ask the other to express love in different ways, but the most important part is feeling loved. To feel loved one need only analyze behaviors fairly and ask “is my partner showing me love in one of these ways?” Often this is the case: two people with a successful relationship respect each other’s methods of expression.