Emotional needs are something that many people ignore. The five love languages can be ways that we have our emotional needs met. There’s a concept that Gary Chapman refers to as a love tank. The idea is that we function better when our emotional needs are bring met and our love tanks are full. Chapman asserts that one of the main problems in relationships is that couples don’t do the necessary things to ensure that their partner’s love tank is full. That being said, many people live in the negative in this context. This means that they exist by living off bare minimums emotionally. So their love tank is never full. Instead it’s just a little above empty and stays that way. The almost empty tank becomes their baseline because they’ve had to adjust multiple times. They are literally living in the negative because the amount of emotional needs being met is incongruent with the amount of emotional needs that exist. And this is one of the reasons people can be in relationships and friendships without ever shaking the alone feeling.
Learning or knowing someone’s love language has been something that I’ve always encouraged my clients to do for themselves and their partner. Especially when both say that “communication problems” are the reason why they’re in counseling. “Communication problems” are usually just the symptom of a bigger issue going on on the relationship. I usually encourage my couples to take the test and then discuss the results with each other. Then I’ll encourage them to start to learn their partner’s love language and let that show in their actions. I took the test myself and discovered that my love language is Physical Touch. I talked about it a little in the “Meaningless Affection” blog post. I’m the kind of person who likes things that are tangible. I enjoy activities that use one of my five senses. I’m not as excited by abstract things. Ironically, my second love language is quality time. I’m pretty particular how I spend my time. Mostly because I know that I can’t get back time that I’ve lost. I’m a big fan of self awareness because the first step in change is knowing that you actually need to. Discovering your love language can be really helpful as you navigate through your friendships and relationships.