• Why accidentally (or intentionally) weaponizing your partner’s love language could be a recipe for heartache.

    Ah, love languages! The magical keys that unlock the doors to our hearts and, occasionally, to our favorite dessert spots. As a licensed marriage and family therapist, I’ve had my fair share of couples who’ve approached me with quizzical expressions, wondering why their partner insists on receiving love in a completely foreign language. Fear not, lovebirds, for today we’re digging into the world of weaponizing your partner’s love language – not to start World War III, but to create a more harmony.

    The Five Love Languages

    Before we dive into the battlefield of love, let’s quickly review Gary Chapman’s five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Each of us tends to lean towards one or two of these languages, like a compass pointing towards the nearest coffee shop. Understanding your partner’s language can make the difference between smooth sailing and navigating a cross-country trip without a GPS.

    Weaponizing Your Partner’s Love Language

    Words of Affirmation

    “You are the peanut butter to my jelly.” Sounds cute, right? But before you start buttering up your partner with praise, remember that authenticity is key. Instead of spouting compliments like a malfunctioning robot, sprinkle them in your conversations naturally. Compliments should be genuine.  Other ways that we could weaponize words of affirmation are by withholding them altogether or through criticism or name calling.  Doing those things to your partner would feel like a knife to the gut. Remember that your words hold power.  That whole “sticks and stones” mentality is a big lie. Words can build up and tear down.

    Acts of Service

    Picture this: you’re on a quest to conquer your partner’s heart, armed with a vacuum cleaner and a determined spirit. While using chores as weapons might seem counterintuitive, it’s all about showing that you care enough to make their life easier. Just don’t turn into a doormat – nobody wants to step on a soggy rug. The opposite also holds true, if you expect your partner to wait on you hand and foot while you refuse to lift a finger, then your actions (or lack thereof) will begin to build resentment and distrust instead of love and admiration.  Remember: actions speak louder than words.

    Receiving Gifts

    Hold your horses, gift-givers! While showering your partner with presents might seem like a grand strategy, let’s give your UPS driver a break with all the Amazon packages. It’s about thoughtful gifts that show you’ve been paying attention, that you see and appreciate them… not an attempt to buy your way out of trouble. When you surprise your partner with a well-thought-out gift, he or she will melt because the gesture says “I know you and I appreciate you.”  This doesn’t have to be on a large scale, it can be as simple as picking up their favorite candy when you stopped by the grocery store.

    Quality Time

    Are you giving your partner the time of day? Using quality time as your weapon could look like giving time to everyone and everything except for them or spending time with them but staying on your phone or computer.  Try to engage in activities that your partner enjoys, like going to the Perry Dogwood Festival, trying out new dishes during Perry Restaurant week, or going kayaking together.

    Physical Touch

    Ah, the language of intimacy and affection! You may be asking, well how do I weaponize this one? I don’t beat my wife/husband.  One common way that physical touch is weaponized is by withholding affection or sex.  Maybe your partner loves to snuggle on the sofa while watching a show, but you are angry with them, so you give them the cold shoulder.  Or maybe you told them that you would consider sleeping with them again if they lost some weight.  These types of actions are hurtful and damaging to your relationship.

    This all can seem like a lot to remember, especially if you two have different love languages.  But, by seeking to understand and adapt to each other’s dialect, it can lead to a deeper connection and friendship. Remember, the grass is greener where you water it.  The amount of time and effort you put into loving your partner well will determine if your relationship flourishes or fails.

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