One of the things that come up repeatedly during my coaching and counselling sessions is about relationships with partners and feelings that they aren't valued or loved. Whatever recognised over many years is that the reason for feeling this way it's often down to a disconnect in the way people express their feelings and emotions in other words their love language.
We express ourselves in many different ways and when it comes to love we express ourselves in different ways, with each of us having a preferred way of doing so. This can be through, words, touch, acts of service, spending quality time together, or giving gifts. Certain ways of doing this have different meanings for individuals.
An example of this would be a client who came to me with concerns that despite being married for many years she felt that the husband didn't love or care for her as they never expressed that they did in words or actions.
Having discussed with her what her concerns were it became obvious that despite the fact she loved him dearly she was feeling that the love only went one way.
I asked her to talk to me about the way that she showed her husband that she loved him and she gave me a list of things that included telling him what she did, hugging him and looking after him ensuring he had clean clothes to wear and always thinking about what he liked to eat when preparing meals ready for when he got home from work.
I asked her what he did for her and she struggled because she told me he never tells me he loves me he never just gives me a hug I really don't think he cares. Even when she asked him directly if he loved her his response was usually you know I do, but he never used the words.
I asked her to do some homework which was to go home and have a conversation with her husband asking him how he demonstrated his love for her.
When I saw her in the next session, I asked the question about how the conversation had gone and what his response was, and this is what she told me.
She started by saying that initially, she wasn't overly impressed with his answers because he said amongst other things, I take the bin out for you, and I always ensure that oil and water is topped up in the car for you.
She told me that her response had been to say, “but you live here too, so why shouldn't you take the bin out I do that on occasion too but that doesn't show me you care and how does putting oil and water in the car show that you love me?”
The husband replied I take the bin out whenever I see that it's nearly full because I know you don't like doing it and I check the oil and water in the car because I want to know the car is working properly so that when you go out in it then it won’t break down and that you're coming back home to me safely.
When I asked how she now felt about whether her husband loved her, she responded by telling me that she realised he did love her but was different from her in terms of how he expressed his emotions and feelings. She also said that since they had the conversation where she had also explained what she needed to feel loved her husband had understood how important hearing the words and hugs were to her to enable her to feel loved, so he was actively trying to change and be more proactive in ensuring she felt loved.
But she also voiced how knowing how he viewed the things he was doing for her as acts of love had actually changed the way she felt about him. Now when he did things for her like taking the bins out it made her smile, and it was like she could hear his voice in her ear saying I love you.
Below are some suggestions of things we can do to demonstrate how we feel by using words, touch, doing things for each other, spending time together, or giving meaningful gifts to demonstrate how we feel about someone.
Words of love
Saying I love you
Actively listening Encourage
Sit Close together
Acts of service
Make them a meal
Acts of kindness
Breakfast in bed
Doing chores together
Help with their workload
Spending quality time together
Go on dates
Plan things to do together
Go for walks
Have quality conversations
Giving thoughtful gifts.
Remember special occasions
Listen to what they want and surprise them
Give small tokens of appreciation
Make them something
Buy them things for hobbies (craft supplies, golf balls, etc)