As the COVID – 19 battles rages on throughout the world a new dynamic has reframed how we interact with the people we stay with. As STAY HOME, STAY SAFE becomes the current mantra, I wonder where STAY HAPPY STAYING AT HOME fits into all of this.

Happiness is a very large word and entails many aspects. But today I am looking at happiness attained from endearing relationships. We are fulfilled when the people we love the most see and accept us for who we are. And might I add, show us love in the way we truly appreciate.

So is there more than one way to show love?

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five ways we show and receive love. In his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, he describes these five unique styles of communicating love, categories he distilled from his experience in marriage counseling and linguistics. 

What Chapman discovered was that couples who feel dissatisfied with their marital relationships were those who did not understand their partner’s love language. They showed love in the way they would have liked to receive it.

For example, if I love getting gifts – I would buy my partner more gifts to show my love. But if that is not the way he wants to be loved – both he & I feel angry, misunderstood, and underappreciated.

So let’s take a look at each of the 5 Love Languages and understand how to identify and use them to our benefit during the lockdown.

THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES

1. Words Of Affirmation

Encouraging, kind, supportive, and uplifting words go a long way with those whose love language is words of affirmation. Listening and feeling understood play a key role here.

All humans need connection but those whose love language is words of affirmation need support. For them being noticed, understood and heard is love.

How to Identify This Love Language

For yourself
  • You like hearing a lot of – I love you’s
  • You feel happy when someone appreciates a new haircut or ask them to notice if they haven’t?
  • You feel deeply appreciated with extensive thank you notes and unhappy with a passing nod.
  • You do not like being taken for granted.
  • You do not take critisism well.
For your partner
  • They seem very happy when you write a surprise note/text.
  • Do they sometimes fish for compliments on looks or achievements?
  • They seem eager to get your approval.
  • They are happy to help if asked nicely.

What You Can Do During Lockdown When Words of Affirmation Is Your Partner’s Love Language

  • Words matter here so use them extensively. Like if your partner made a new dish during lockdown you can say
    – ” Wow, that smells and tastes incredible. I’m so lucky to have you as my stay at home partner.” Share pictures of the dish with friends and family or social media to make them feel truly appreciated.
  • Compliment them in front of others when you get a chance. While doing a zoom chat or on a phone call describe in detail all the efforts they are putting in for you during this difficult time.
  • You can keep a special time in the evening to ask about each other’s days. Celebrate wins in an enthusiastic way! Offer to hear out the setbacks and give a solution only when asked. They are usually just looking for empathy not advice. To know the importance of active responses to good news read: What is the key to Happy Relationships
  • Make requests not demands. Tone also matters. For example, if you require your partner to assist you with kid’s use a gentle voice to ask for help. When requested they feel seen and are willing to contribute.
  • Instead of ‘you’ use ‘I feel’. This removes blame. For example, if your partner is not helping you clean up after dinner. Instead of – “You are so lazy. You never do anything for me. You cannot see I’m doing this and help for once?” SAY ” I’m feeling happy after such a lovely dinner. Let’s clean up together and you can tell me some wonderful jokes while we do it. I’m so blessed to have such a funny partner!”
  • Hide small love notes around the house and make it a treasure hunt. At the end make a huge romantic gesture to show your love.
  • Write one specific thing you liked what your partner did every day. Make it a weekly date to shower compliments these on them during a special dinner. If you want sing these compliments to them!
  • Share their new ventures/endeavors on WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram to show your support. Comment or Like their posts to show you care.
  • Share a funny pic during work hours to connect or if you know they are having a bad day.

What to Avoid When Words of Affirmation Is Your Partner’s Love Language

  • Avoid Blame and Shame. It deeply affects the way they look at themselves and you. During lockdown avoid using blaming tone to get things done. It will lead to stress on your relationship.
  • Avoid complaining about partner to family and friends or making fun of them. These put downs may seem harmless but will adversely affect your relationship in the long run.
  • Avoid waiting long periods of time to appreciate the little things your partner does.

2. Quality Time

Time is a limited resource but is it truly valuable and appreciated if you spend it with someone whose love language is Quality Time. Here the basic need is to connect but without distractions.

Lockdown is a blessing for those whose love language is Quality Time because now they have the one thing they always wanted – Time! So let’s make the most of it.

How to Identify This Love Language

For yourself
  • You feel loved when your partner prioritizes you in their schedule.
  • You feel appreciated when you and your partner just talk.
  • You look forward to intimate holidays.
  • You love doing activities together.
For your partner
  • They are very upset if you cancel any date/holiday.
  • They are very happy when you plan something special for them and you.
  • Creating memories is super important for them.
  • They do not like it when you are on phone during dinner.
  • They seem to always want to spend time with you.

What You Can Do During Lockdown When Quality Time Is Your Partner’s Love Language

  • Prioritize family time on weekends and make them a part of the schedule during weekdays.
  • Plan to make a special dinner for yourselves or for the whole family. Put on some music for extra zing!
  • Plan your morning physical activity together like walking, jogging, meditation, or yoga.
  • Take an online dance or painting class together.
  • Play board games together. Be competitive!
  • Create a gratitude routine to feel blessed together.
  • Talk about an imaginary holiday after COVID – 19. Be imaginative! Take out a world map and go globetrotting.
  • Plan 10 minutes in the day only to talk. Ask questions like – How are you feeling? Is your day going well? How can I help? Tell me about your day.
  • Listen actively. Here listening is an act of true love. When your partner is speaking maintain eye contact and display engaged body language. Keep phones away and shut the TV.
  • Sit close and listen. Do not interrupt. Only talk to ask follow-up questions or share your experience on a similar matter. To know the importance of listening in communication read: The Art & Craft Of Conversation

The main difference between Words of Affirmation and Quality is that the former gives more weightage to thoughtful responses and the latter to truly listening. Here also the need arises from wanting to be seen and heard. To be validated. It is essential to be intentional about how and with whom you spend your time.

What to Avoid When Quality Time Is Your Partner’s Love Language

  • Do not make promises you cannot keep. Repeated canceling of joint activities will hurt them deeply.
  • Do not make jokes on activities done together.
  • Do not use the phone while talking to your spouse.
  • Do not count watching TV or being on your device in the same room as a quality time activity.

3. Acts Of Service

The phrase ‘Actions speak louder than words’ is true for those whose love language is Acts of Service. Here action seems to hold key to show your partner that you care.

It is domestic bliss unlocked for a person whose love language is acts of service if a partner can show love through their caring actions.

How to Identify This Love Language

For yourself
  • You feel loved when your partner gets you a glass of water.
  • You feel cared for when you are tired and your partner steps in to help.
  • It makes you feel appreciated when your partner offers to do the cooking, dishes, or laundry so you can relax.
For your partner
  • Your partner keeps complaining that you say more and do less.
  • Your partner seems touched with you helping around the house or picking up groceries.
  • Your partner appreciates small gestures.

What You Can Do During Lockdown When Acts Of Service Is Your Partner’s Love Language

  • Make contribution coupons. They can be claimed when required. Examples are:
    1. I will make maggie
    2. I can take (pet name) for a walk
    3. I will teach kids (any subject)
    4. I can order the groceries
    5. I can help with research on this (subject/work-related project)
  • Make a surprise plan (maybe with kids) to set up the table beautifully randomly.
  • Ask your partner to make a list of things they would like to do by priority. Get going!
  • Be aware when your partner is having a tiresome day. Offer help in the form of putting kids to sleep, or managing dinner time. Sometimes it could be suggesting to order food too.
  • If you know your partner has an important meeting – Take care of all the doorbells, kids, calls, and any other interferences.
  • If your partner is not feeling well, actively support in talking to the doctor and getting medicines.
  • Discuss the importance of everyone contributing as a family. Plan a schedule with everyone knowing their role. And when someone is having a tough day – someone can step in to help. Maybe exchange roles to gain empathy and perspective.
  • If your partner repeatedly nags you for something – see the need behind the word. Do the task as an act of love.

What to Avoid When Acts Of Service Is Your Partner’s Love Language

  • Do not ignore repeated asks for help
  • Do not over promise and under deliver
  • Do not be self-centered in daily actions.

4. Gifts

Memories are deeply cherished with mementos when your love language is receiving gifts. The gift can be big or small but what truly matters is the thought behind it.

Sometime when a gift is received on a special occasion, its very existence reminds us of that golden time. That is why so much importance is placed on wedding rings or special birthday photo albums.

How to Identify This Love Language

For yourself
  • You feel loved when you receive a gift. Especially when it is something you need or wanted.
  • You can reminisce about a special event touchingly if you have a visual token of it.
  • You prize your wedding ring/present.
  • You like to buy mementos from holidays.
For your partner
  • They give a lot of significance to birthday/anniversary celebrations and ask indirect questions on what they are receiving. Or give you ideas on what to get.
  • They love surprise gifts and are especially happy to receive them.
  • They open gifts very carefully and care about the packaging too.
  • They keep these gifts as treasures and really take care of them.
  • They keep complaining that you do not get them anything. (And you feel otherwise)

What You Can Do During Lockdown When Receiving Gifts Is Your Partner’s Love Language

  • Keep a notebook/digital notepad and when your spouse wishes for something generally, make a note.
  • Be aware of their needs and surprise them with a gift. For example, if you feel they are struggling with their old phone/laptop – buy a new one for them.
  • Ask the help of your partner’s friend/family member to find a gift.
  • If you are planning a special dinner – seal it with a gift. It could be a card or a small token. It is the thought that counts.
  • Gift an online class to your partner
  • Donate to a charity in your partner’s name.
  • Put reminders for birthdays and anniversaries and do something special. Make a video or personalized photo collage. If you do not know how you can learn these from online videos.
  • Order a bouquet of flowers to brighten up a tough day.
  • Make a scrapbook with old photos and travel memories. Pack it with a big ribbon and present it to them with a special meal. Open it together and reminisce the good old days.
  • Call for their favorite food on any weekend and decorate the table to jazz things up.
  • Search websites and mark appropriate gifts in your budget. You need not give a gift every day but keep a target of giving something to them twice or thrice a month. With planning and budgeting, you will have a very happy spouse!
  • Another idea to shower gifts is when their birthday is coming up – Do a countdown like 10 days or a week – and every day until their birthday they will receive a gift. It can be a variety of all the ideas mentioned above. Again it’s the thought that counts.

Here I would like to also mention The Gift Of Time. It is different from quality time because this is for specific occasions. Usually which are tough and your partner needs your time as their gift and token of affection.

What to Avoid When Receiving Gifts Is Your Partner’s Love Language

  • Do not make fun of their need for gifts.
  • Do not take their requests for a gift on an occasion as childish and selfish.
  • Avoid going for a long time without giving them a gift.
  • Do not term them as expensive.

5. Physical Touch

Always looking for a hug, a kiss or touch is those whose love language is Physical Touch. The human body is made for touching to rekindle love and passion.

Here I am talking about safe and consent-given touch. The kind of touch that sparks a fire or makes you feel safe and secure. For those whose love language is physical touch, the connection is mainly through touch. And lockdown provides a haven of opportunities.

How to Identify This Love Language

For yourself
  • You look forward to hugs, kisses, and cuddles.
  • You’re okay with public displays of affection.
  • You feel loved when your family embraces you in a big hug.
  • You use a lot of hand gestures while talking.
For your partner
  • They keep on looking for reasons to touch you. Like holding hands, or putting their arm on your shoulder, or even rubbing your back.
  • They withdraw when you revoke their touch. They feel deeply hurt.
  • They complain that you are not physically there.
  • They look happy when you ask for a hug or suggest a cuddle.

What You Can Do During Lockdown When Physical Touch Is Your Partner’s Love Language

  • If you are working in different areas during the day, make it a point to connect during lunch. Rub their arms and ask about their day.
  • If they are sitting, go and give a pat on their back and ask about what’s going on.
  • While watching TV – snuggle up.
  • If appreciating a gesture, give a squeeze on the hand to commemorate the compliment. They need to feel appreciated through their body.
  • Make hugs a norm. Give them randomly and freely.
  • If they are feeling down, use gentle rubs or light holding hands to let them know you’re there for them. Here the way you touch matters. Let it be kind, gentle, and understanding.
  • Listen with your body. Use nods to understand. Ask questions with concerned facial expressions and maybe hold their shoulder lightly. Hold hands when you want to explain. Your concern needs to transmit through bodily touch.
  • Feel soft blankets, furry pillows, silky clothes together to initiate pleasurable feelings.

What to Avoid When Physical Touch Is Your Partner’s Love Language

  • Avoid recoiling from their advances. Explain if yore not up to it.
  • Avoid not touching them for long periods.
  • Do not touch in a harsh way.
  • Do not make fun of them for being ‘touchy-feely’

Now that we have understood how to identify love languages and the gestures we can do to make our partner feel loved, lets talk about steps we need to take to initiate this process.

STEPS TO UNDERSTANDING LOVE LANGUAGES

STEP 1: Understanding Your Love Language

The first step is always self awareness. So first identify from the above mentioned pointers what is your primary love language. Here I feel identifying two may also help. These two languages will jointly make up 80 percent of the way you like to be shown love. 20 percent will be for the rest.

STEP 2: Understanding Your Spouse’s Love Language

The second step is identify your spouse’s love language. A great way is to get this idea into a conversation and ask them how they like to be shown love. Also start noticing what they complain most about or request you do.

STEP 3 : Talk About Each Other’s Needs

As you talk to your partner about their needs, express your own too. Talk about how you feel appreciated and loved. It will help them to understand you better.

Another idea is to delve into how you were both shown love in your childhood. A lot of our current needs stem from childhood. Also how did your parents show love to each other. Share these insights with your spouse.

STEP 4 : Apply this in Other Relationships

Love is universal and can be applied to any loving relationship. Talk to your siblings, parents, best friends, children about this concept and get their feelings about how they would like to be shown love.

To use this concept with kids, read: Understand Your Child Using The 5 Love Languages

In my personal experience, I have seen the benefit of identifying your own love language and understanding your spouse’s love language. It may not be the only element in guaranteeing marital bliss but it definitely sets you up for success.

Some other ideas to keep you going in lockdown are:

How To Stay Happy During Lockdown

Resilience In COVID 19

15 Activities To Keep Children Busy During Lockdown

I hope you will give some thought to this idea and use it during the lockdown. It may get you on the STAY HOME and STAY HAPPY bandwagon, might I add – like me!

Do drop a comment below on what you feel is your primary love language! Would love to hear from you:)

Prachi Bansal

Hi, I am Prachi Bansal. This blog is an endeavor to increase emotional intelligence and facilitate collaboration and communication amongst parents and children, friends, family, and co-workers. Thanks for stopping by:)

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