Are Love Languages Unloving?
This question has been in the back of my mind for awhile, already. Than, it popped to the forefront with a discussion I had awhile back, with 2 friends.
One friend said she gets so upset because her LL is gifts, and gifts hardly register on her DH’s radar. So, when he does get her a gift, its very rarely, and its not something that she can really use. So he feels bad, doesn’t buy her gifts since he doesn’t know what to get, and she’s upset because she isn’t getting any.
The other friend felt that LL are a selfish thing, and that we shouldn’t expect others to speak our LL.
What does everybody think? How does it work in your marriage?
P.S. Are there any couples whose LL are the same?
I don’t understand how LL are a selfish thing. That’s like saying being an extrovert is selfish. It’s just who we are.
I don’t think you should expect your spouse to read your mind and know what your LL is without telling him/her. Part of that is explaining what that particular language would ideally look like to you. For example, if your LL is gifts, maybe that just means little things like love notes left in drawers, or a single flower once a week. Or maybe you appreciate jewelry on your birthday. Spell it out.
I think it’s the responsibility of each spouse to tell the other exactly how they want love to be shown.
I get what you are saying, Brynna. If my LL is words of affirmation and my DH’s LL is acts of service, it can seem like I am simply letting go of my needs if I am advised to say, “Well, his LL is acts of service, so I should appreciate that as his way of showing his love and not expect words of affirmation.” But that is a one-sided approach and we’ve established over and over that nothing about marriage is one-sided.
What it really means is that when I am disappointed that he hasn’t verbally affirmed me lately, but he has filled my van with gas, emptied the dishwasher, fed the cats before he left for work, and picked up milk on the way home; I can remind myself that he has in fact shown his love for me, so when I talk to him about feeling under-affirmed, there’s no need to waste effort on the silly discussion where I tell him I feel like he doesn’t love me but can go straight to the more constructive part where I point out that what he does is great, but I need just a little more, and in this specific way, please. And I also know that no matter how many times I tell him how wonderful and handsome and awesome he is, or text him eggplants to thank him for last night, or cast adoring eyes on him, he would feel a lot more loved if I would finally get around to baking that cheesecake he loves that I keep meaning to make but somehow never take time for, and he would feel really adored if I remember to wash his jeans when he asks me to. Then when I hand him a clean pair, I can tell him how much I like looking at his ass and he will appreciate the sentiment a lot more.
It’s really the same theme we are always embracing here: communication and sacrificial love.
Nice answers everyone! This is something I settled in my own heart several months ago. So I was asking from curiosity more than anything. And for all those furture discussion on the subject!
For years, I felt unloved and uncared for. My LL is Words of Affirmation and it was not spoken at all, in my childhood home. DH is a man of few words and so I don’t hear a lot now, either.
So through the years, I felt utterly starved for compliments, etc. I knew DH loved me, but I would say I didn’t ‘feel’ it. Yet, he was busy doing all these things for me, without me ever asking, and doing far more for me, than any other husbands that I know.
One day I woke up to the realization that all these things that he was doing, was his way of showing love. And that maybe it was foolish to keep hanging on to how I thought he should show me love. He does so much, from keeping the vehicle filled with gas, to checking how charged my phone battery is. And here I was, feeling unloved.
It’s like something changed in me that day. I feel loved beyond measure, and after reading all these replies, I asked myself if my love tank was full. And I can honestly say yes! Right to the brim. And I always thought, somehow those affirming words will have to pour in to fill this huge starving love tank.
When it comes to filling DH’s love tank, I’ve asked him over and over, what I can do to make him feel loved. The only thing he has ever come up with is that he likes it if I help him outside in our busy seasons. That makes him feel loved.
BTW, last night DH told me that my outfit looked good on me! I said wow, thank you. I haven’t heard that for a year. He laughed, of course. And I went on to tell him about this question, but I left off that I had started it.
More thoughts/ discussion are welcome!
They shouldn’t be! But, when misunderstood or misused or unfulfilled, they may become unloving and even harmful.
DW and I do not have overly similar LLs. But they are complimentary. I think I focus on them more than she does. Yet, I would say that both of have made sincere efforts in adjusting to our spouses LL.
I find that it has been helpful in our relationship to be aware of each other’s LL and to honor that person and their LL without trying to change them or belittle them, or ignore them.
Love languages can serve to help a couple better understand each other. As so many ‘handles’ to aid in communication and relationship, they serve as a valuable aid to strengthen and deepen love and appreciation for each other. If misused or misunderstood they can be of no use and even weaken or hurt the relationship.
We know a husband of a dear friend of Mrs. Oldbear that blurted out, “Those aren’t your love languages!” after his wife shared her top two. He then proceeded to declare that her love languages included one of his own. They struggled with communication in their marriage – this was a telltale piece of evidence. He is a very ‘needy’ spouse who cared more about himself than understanding, appreciating, and meeting his wife’s desires and needs.
Certainly LL can be used selfishly to demand/expect your spouse to treat you a certain way. Of course, then it’s not about LOVE at all…
We’ve found them to be a good way to understand each other. I know how to best bless my wife, even though I may also bless her in other ways at times.
I think that when used correctly, they lead to selflessness and a better way to honor one’s spouse. For example, my husband and I are very different in ours. In order to meet his needs, I really have to die to self a bit and do something that is not natural for for me. I have to be more empathetic to him. Whether or not he reciprocates with my LL is up to me to deal with.
I agree with LuckyInLove that your L L is part of who you are. It’s typically not selfish to be true to yourself. Mine is Words of Affirmation. I thrive on them. I’ve tried to change it because Dh almost never uses them. Ultimately, I had to come to grips with the fact that this is who I am. I shouldn’t have to feel as though there is something wrong with me because I don’t receive something that I need in order to feel loved.
I agree with what everyone is saying and don’t have much to add. Love languages help us understand ourselves and others.
Although my husband and I are opposites on the scale of LLs, my sister and bil have the same (physical touch). I have always been a little envious of those whom things seem to be easier, but I also know that they had their own problems in marriage to work through.
A few more thoughts after reading the other comments that have been made. LL can change throughout your life, so it’s important to be sensitive to that and not just view them as a targeted way to score points with your spouse. The true goal is to love them unconditionally and lay down your life for them (love them like Jesus).
If we have a deficit for our primary LL, it can mask other LLs that might otherwise speak to us. Touch is my #1, and for much of our marriage my wife limited most touch to times she was willing to have sex. When we talked about this several months ago it turned out this was because of something her only other serious boyfriend had said to her once about it being unkind to get a guy wound up without being willing to “unwind” him. Once she knew that I would much rather kiss and touch regularly regardless of if it lead anywhere and that I would feel much more loved, she became far more generous in that arena. Now I enjoy quality time far more, because my other love needs are getting met much more often.
I look at it sort of like why not try to know what is meaningful (or perhaps more meaningful) to your spouse. You could do A or B, but if B carries more weight, there is nothing wrong with that. Everyone is different.
This sort of gets into the area a little bit of “I’m going to tell you how to love me” which I don’t think is so healthy.
So I think it is how you approach it, whether it is a positive thing or not – and unsurprisingly – it comes down to selfishness. “This is the way I want to be loved”=selfish vs. “I want to love her by doing something I know will be valuable to her”=unselfish.