5 Ways to Show Love

You’re told that the inner workings of your significant other are impossible to understand. Sometimes they speak in code, and it’s up to you to translate. Men and women may be from different planets, but they all want the same thing: love. A typical scenario may look like this: She wants him to want to do chores, and he wants her to play football in the front yard. She wants to have a long conversation about the future, and he can’t figure out why she isn’t satisfied with the flowers he brought her.Every person has five basic needs in a relationship, although you may value some over the others. What you think is miscommunication may simply be a difference in the dialect of love you are speaking.

“I need you to spend time with me…”

The first need of every person is to spend time – quality time – with the people in his or her life. This does not include a distracted conversation with the television blaring in the background. It means valuing time together, whether you sit across from each other at dinner and talk about the future, or strap on bicycle helmets and take an afternoon ride. Ask your significant other what activities he or she would most like to do and make it a priority to spend that time together.

Professional Opinion: Michelle Hollomon, M.A., LPC

Q: Why is spending quality time together so important for couples?

A: “Often times, your busy schedules drain you. Spending quality time together puts deposits in your emotional accounts and encourages your partner, while giving you both time to unwind.”

“I need to know how you feel about me…”

Encouraging words are a great way to show your affection. It may be a simple compliment when you notice a new shirt, or telling him or her that you love the way he or she care about friends. Tell your significant other that you appreciate the things that he or she does for you and acknowledge the things that make you happy. Talk about partners when they aren’t present, telling people how wonderful you think they are. When they hear that you have been speaking highly of them, they may feel even more loved than if you had said the same kind words to their faces.

Professional Opinion:

Q: Why do people need to be encouraged? What affect does that have on the relationship?

A: “When we believe and communicate the best about someone else, they start to live up to those statements. They want to perform better and live up to the encouraging things that you say about them.”

“I need you to help me…”

The 2006 movie, “The Breakup,” followed a couple through one fight after another, which led to their inevitable end. In one scene, the female character asked her boyfriend to help her with the dishes after a dinner party. Her request was met with obvious discontent. The conversation went as follows:

Gary: Fine. I’ll help you do the dishes.

Brooke: No, that’s not what I want.

Gary: You just said you want me to help do the dishes.

Brooke: I want you to want to do the dishes.

Gary: Why would I want to do dishes?

What Brooke wanted was for her boyfriend to want to help her. The task was not really of importance. It spoke of love to her when he would joyfully and willingly take some of the load off of her. This goes for women as well. One way to show your man that you love and appreciate him is doing selfless acts of service.

Professional Opinion:

Q: How can people change their attitudes about doing things for their significant others? What perspective should they take?

A: “Always treat other people the way that you want to be treated, even if you don’t think they deserve it. One person in a relationship has to start doing the right thing – and we all want it to be the other person. Someone has to start doing things for the other and put the other person before themselves.”

“I need a hug…”

Physical touch is one of the most important facets of expressing love. This physical touch is not necessarily sex. Think simpler. While walking next to her, take her hand. If he is sitting down after a hard day, stand behind him and massage his shoulders. Surprise him with a bear hug when he walks in the door. When you stand together in a room full of people, touch her arm or put your hand on her back to let her know that you are glad that she is there with you. This speaks security and appreciation to your significant other.

Professional Opinion:

Q: What happens when one person doesn’t feel loved by their partner in this way? Why is physical touch so important?

A: “When someone in a relationship feels like the other is avoiding touching them, they internalize that there is something wrong with them. When someone is deprived in this way, they feel neglected, alone and uncared for.”

“For me?”

Giving gifts may be an obvious way to show them that you care, but it’s one that never gets old. The most important thing is to be creative. You know better than anyone what will make him or her happy. Shower him with small gifts throughout the day if you know he is having a hard week. The next time you take a walk, pick her a flower. Homemade gifts are also a great idea. The more thought you put into your gift, the more he or she will feel loved and satisfied.

Professional Opinion:

Q: What does receiving a gift say to a person?

A: “Receiving a gift communicates that your partner cared enough to go an extra mile for you. The motivation should be to please the other person and should be from the heart. It should be centered on your partner and not self gratification.”

Frisco Professional Counseling: Michelle Hollomon, M.A., LPC