Jenny has been in a relationship with her boyfriend Mike for two years. When they first started dating, they would spend a lot of their free time together. They would go to the movies, try out new restaurants, or sometimes just stay in at one of their apartments. On those days, Jenny would just lie on Mike's lap and he’d stroke her hair while doing nothing else in particular. It was pure bliss for her. It would often lead to hot sex. That was bliss for him.
Six months ago, Jenny and Mike decided to move in together. Jenny says that is when the romance went downhill. Mike was not as keen on taking her out to the movies or just sitting back to relax and spend quality time with each other. 'We don’t have to go out as much. We also don't have to around and do nothing anymore because we now live together and we see each other every day,' he told her one day.
'He actually asked me what more quality time I needed since we wake up next to each other and go to bed together. I felt frustrated.'
According to Jenny, 'when it came time to get intimate, he couldn’t get enough quality time doing that. I felt used. It was like he just wanted to be with me for sex.'
Out of frustration, Jenny confided in a close friend about what she was going through. She loved Mike, but she just didn’t know how to get back his love and time anymore.
Jenny’s friend recommended that she read The 5 Languages Of Love* by Gary Chapman. According to Chapman, the five love languages are receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch.
Here is a brief description of each love language:
Words of affirmation – using words to build up the other person. This includes verbal compliments or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love. Good examples are 'You look incredible in that dress!' and 'I really like how you're always on time to pick me up at work.'
Gifts – a gift says gives the impression that someone was thinking about you. In any case, you must be thinking of someone to give him or her a gift.
Acts of Service – this involves doing something for your spouse that you know they would like. This may include cooking a meal, washing dishes, giving a massage. Generally, you seek to please your significant other by serving them.
Quality time – this means giving your spouse your undivided attention. This may mean taking a walk together or sitting on the couch with the TV off – talking andlistening.
Physical touch – physical touch is a common way of communicating emotional love. This may mean holding hands, hugging, kissing, and sexual intercourse.
'My friend said that if after reading the book I still felt like Mike didn’t love me then I could take a different action.' While reading the book, Jenny said she found out that different people express love differently. They also feel loved in different ways. 'It should have been common sense for me really. Many things that Mike did should have shown me he loved me. I wanted that love to be given my way though.'
The more that Jenny read, the more she felt like she should share this with Mike. At first, she wasn’t sure how he would take it. 'Would he make fun of the whole thing? Would he appreciate the fact that I am trying to work on our relationship? Will he think we are fine and don't need help?' Jenny was scared to find out what the answer could be.
Mike's idea of expressing love was getting intimate, and that's okay! Before they moved in together, he used to go out of his way to make date nights special because they didn’t get to see each other every day. But once they lived together, he thought waking up together was enough.
Jenny discussed the love languages with Mike, and together they agreed to actively put effort into fulfilling each other’s love languages. Now although Jenny would much rather spend most weekends relaxing with her boyfriend on the couch and getting her dose of quality time, she now sets the time to satisfy her man who likes to devour her body. Mike, on the other hand, has learned that being in the same house does not equal to quality time. He too is slowly getting back to the habit of planning for special evenings for the two of them. 'Our bond has definitely grown stronger,' reports Jenny with a big smile.
Do you and your partner have different love languages? How can you both strike a balance to strengthen your relationship? Send us your response to our discussion board, on Facebook, or leave a comment below.
*The five languages of love, according to Gary Chapman, are quality time, acts of service, receiving gifts, physical touch, and words of affirmation.