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How You Are Loving Your Partner Wrong

In my masters program one of my colleagues discovered that after 18 years of being married him and his wife had been going about getting what they want completely backwards. For example, he always planned big elaborate birthday parties for her and she made sure his birthday was at home with the family. In reality, he wanted the elaborate party and she wanted the cozy night in with their kids. We do this in relationships. We express our love based on our own love language and expect our partner to receive it (and return it) accordingly.

The reality is that what you need and what your partner needs are likely very different things. If you keep expecting your partner to appreciate it the way you would and then return their love the same way, you are likely to be left disappointed and hurt. Sometimes we have to accept that each thing we do won’t always be received the way we want it to be because what makes us feel loved may not be what makes our partner feel loved.

For example, perhaps you are someone who likes to share how much you love your partner by sending them texts or leaving them notes letting them know they are thought of. This is incredibly sweet and a wonderful thing to do. The only challenge is that if that is not what makes your partner feel loved, these notes may not make the impact you are wanting them to.

So what do you do if you and your partners love languages aren’t compatible and its leaving you feeling unfulfilled? Talk about it.

First off, I would recommend that you actually take the love language quiz (which you can find here) and then discuss what you both need. You also need to work on meeting your partner where they are at. In other words, stop throwing the surprise party when what they want is an evening at home just the two of you. Stop expecting your partner to be the same person as you. They aren’t. Instead, listen to what makes them feel loved and meet their needs, not yours, when trying to make them feel special. Doing so will not only increase connection but it will also decrease disappointment.

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