It’s a sad truth that not every couple that walks down the aisle will find the happiness they’re looking for. On the contrary, in 2020, the year in which 1,676,911 marriages were reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 630,505 divorces and annulments were also announced. However, this is not to say that most marriages are doomed. With proper communication, effort, and appreciation, a relationship can blossom into one of the most fulfilling aspects of a person’s life.
But when it comes to how we give and receive love, there are some people who must be extremely cautious about their marriage and its potential for breakdown. Your love language can say a lot about you – whether or not your union will last. Read on to discover the love language that relationship experts say means you’re more likely to get divorced.
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For starters, what are the five love languages? “Love languages is a concept developed by author and pastor Gary Chapman to describe different ways people express love and enjoy having love expressed to them,” says Suzannah Weiss, sex and love coach and certified sex educator. “It’s gifts, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation and physical touch.” To learn your love language, you can simply take an online quiz.
Once you know your love language and your partner’s love language, you can use this information to discover ways to make each other happier. “For example, if your love language is gifts, you might assume that the sweetest way to help your partner recover from a bad day is to give them a gift,” says Weiss. “But if their love language is physical touch, they might prefer a cuddle session or a massage.” While these preferences can vary from day to day, knowing your love language can help guide your overall approach.
Unfortunately, there may be one love language that may signal splitsville more often than the others. According to Rori Sassoon, relationship expert and co-owner of dating agency Platinum Poire, this language of love is a gift. “A person whose preferred love language is gift giving will have a harder time connecting with the remaining four love languages,” says Sassoon. “Whether it’s time, touch, service or words, a gift lover may not see the value of precious moments over gifts.” This can lead to fights and incompatibility if the other partner doesn’t understand the gift giver’s approach.
Things can especially go south if there is a change of fortune in a relationship with a person whose love language is gifts. “Let’s say your partner has gone through a rough patch, financially,” says Sassoon. “If they could no longer provide ‘love’ through gifts, is the relationship in danger of falling apart? When the foundation of love involves a gift over a person, the relationship is fragile to begin with.”
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Other love languages may also be at risk for marital conflict. “The hardest combination of love languages in my experience is when one person needs words of affirmation and the other is not good at expressing love in words and has acts of service as their number one language,” says Amy Armstrong, Independent Licensee Social. worker and co-founder of The Center for Family Resolution.
Keresse Thompson, licensed clinical social worker and host of the Diary of An Empath podcast, agrees that these two love languages can occasionally conflict. “The affirmation partner’s words just need to hear validation,” Thompson says. “While the acts of service partner just want their partner to get out of their way or do things that make their life easier.” Fortunately, healthy communication can correct this problem and allow both members of the couple to feel seen, heard, and appreciated.
The best thing about delving into the knowledge of the five love languages is that you can use it to improve your marriage – even if you feel like it’s a little in tatters. The easiest way to start is to determine the love language of you and your partner. Then learn everything you can about each of these love languages. “Take time, alone or together, to research and learn about your partner’s love language,” says Sophie Mona Pagès, queer, relationship expert at BIPOC and founder and CEO of the Campfire dating app. “It’s also important to learn and gain a better understanding of your own love language so you can explain it much better.”
So come back together and talk. “It’s essential to sit down with your partner, discuss your findings, and ask the important question: How would you like me to speak your love language?” says Pages. “These categories are mere guidelines; Love languages manifest differently in different people and you need to understand the individual experiences and needs of your loved ones.” Pagès notes that it is important to be vulnerable and honest during this stage.
Finally, take action and continue to discuss your love languages and how you can best show affection for each other. “Relationships are always a work in progress and check-ins are necessary along the way,” says Pagè. “Once in a while, schedule some time with your partner to sit down and discuss how you are speaking each other’s languages and what you can do better going forward.” From there, you’ll be on your way to getting on the same page and making each other feel more valued than ever before.
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