At every point in your relationship, it is important to understand yourself and your partner. You need to know how you communicate and understand your needs. And, you need to know how your partner communicates their needs. Having a knowledge of the 5 love languages allows you to get a better understanding and work on improving your connection. Before having a baby, you work through conflict and conversations. However, adding a baby to the mix brings new challenges (and joys, of course!) that require you to keep learning and growing. A baby changes your schedule, your thought patterns, your emotional processing and more. All of these changes can also change the way you desire to be loved and connected.
What are the 5 Love Languages?
The 5 Love Languages is a concept developed by Dr. Gary Chapman. In his book and teachings, Dr. Chapman says that “different people with different personalities express love in different ways.” This makes so much sense, and yet it is not black and white when we are in a relationship with a partner. To discover what your love language is, you and your partner can take a free quiz online. The results will be one of the 5 categories listed as a love language.
How to Find Your Love Language
When you take the quiz and explore what your love language is, try to be objective in your answers. Do not answer how you think you “should.” Instead, answer as it best reflects you, your tendencies, and your emotions. While it can be easy to try to skew towards something that we think is “better” or “right,” it is not helpful. You are wired and respond in a particular way and it is important to be as accurate as possible so that you can learn more about yourself.
The 5 Love Expression Categories
When you discover your love language, it is going to be one of 5 categories. These categories allow you to understand what you need to feel seen and appreciated. It is also common that you by default, GIVE love in this way. In a relationship you need to know what you need, but you also need to know what your partner needs and how to focus on giving in a way that may be different from the way you receive.
Words of Affirmation
Those who have words of affirmation as the top love language need verbal affirmation and appreciation. You are the person who loves to hear “I love you” and you fill your cup with compliments and acknowledgments. You get filled up verbally, through things like texts and emails, and even hand-written thank-you notes.
Love languages ideas:
To love someone who values words of affirmation try one of these:
-Write a letter
-Set a reminder to send a text each day
-Look around and say “Thank you” for the things you appreciate
If you are a physical touch person, you get your cup filled with physical affection. This could be hugs and kisses, back rubs, cuddling, or sex. This love helps you to feel comforted and desired. Physical touch is an especially tricky one for couples following the birth of a baby. Many women experience feeling touched out or experience pain with sex. If her partner’s love language is physical touch, this requires more creativity and honest conversation.
Love languages ideas:
To love someone who values physical touch try one of these:
-Hold hands during an argument/disagreement
-Offer a back rub after a long day
-Never leave the house without a hug and/or kiss
If you have gifts as your top love language, it means you feel loved when someone gives you a tangible representation of their appreciation. You enjoy knowing that someone thought of you and got a gift to show you that. You enjoy having something meaningful from those you love.
Love languages ideas:
To love someone who values gifts try one of these:
-Bring home a momento from a trip or activity
-Surprise them with a “just because” coffee or lunch
-Remember big dates and commemorate with a gift
Those who value quality time the most enjoy the energy and intention of being together. Quality time is time spent focused on one another, with limited distractions. As new parents, quality time is hard to come by with distractions and the needs of the family. If you have quality time as a top love language, you want someone to set other things aside to be able to give you their full attention. You also enjoy growing and learning together.
Love languages idea:
To love someone who values quality time try one of these:
-Turn off devices when you have time together
-Schedule a date for the two of you
-Only cancel plans if it is totally necessary
Acts of Service
If you are an acts of service person, you feel love by someone else doing something for you. You want to know that the person you love is making your life easier by completing a task or taking care of something. Someone having your coffee ready in the morning or unloading the dishwasher before you do makes you feel seen. You want to know that your teammate has your back and is working to alleviate stress for you.
Love languages ideas:
To love someone who values acts of service try one of these:
-Take care of something on the to-do list without being asked
-Ask what you can do to alleviate stress, not fix it
-Make a big day easier by prepping meals, diaper bag, etc.
Love Languages Can Change After a Baby
You may have known your love language in another season of your life. However, with big transitions, your needs and desires can shift. What made you feel most loved before might be different now that you have had a baby. The schedules change, the communication changes, your brain literally rewires itself in many ways!
Take time to understand how you have changed and how your needs may have changed. Take the love language quiz again to better understand your needs and how to communicate them.
Who’s Love Languages Come First?
Sometimes couples’ get caught up in a scorecard of who is doing what.
“I’d have more sex with him if he would do more for me.”
“I would give her more affirmation if she would turn her phone off when we spend time together.”
It can be easy to draw back from showing your partner love if you do not feel they are giving love. Keeping score is a sure way to feel resentment and disconnect. Instead, try to do these four things in order:
- Revisit your love languages individually
- Schedule a time to discuss your findings and talk about how you do (and don’t) feel loved
- Spend a week committed to focusing on giving love to your partner in their language
- Schedule a time to discuss the week of intention and appreciate, problem-solve, and get better!