5 Love Languages: A Guide To Meaningful Connection With Your Partner Postpartum
The five love languages is a concept developed by author, speaker, and counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman. The idea is that everyone experiences and expresses love in ways that can be arranged into five different categories. While many can have multiple love languages, most have at least one or two that are the most prominent. Now why is this important? Well, an important aspect of meaningful connection with your partner postpartum, is by expressing love! Okay, duh! But what does that have to do with love languages and what even are the 5 love languages? Let me tell you!
You HAVE to make sure you are speaking your partner's love language, or they may not understand or realize that you are trying to express your love to them! Think about it this way...let's say your husband has been taking out the trash every day, washing the baby's bottles, or setting up the crib and rocking chair and changing table to be prepared for when baby comes. That's sounds wonderful, right? Yes! BUT, if your love language is not acts of service, while these are his expressions of love (coming from the right place and right intention), you might not experience them as an act of love or meaningful connection from him. Because maybe your love language is words of affirmation and in order for you to really experience love from him and sense that meaningful connection from your husband, you need him to say, "You are such an amazing mom." "You're doing so well getting her down for her nap while I'm at work." "I know this postpartum period is hard, but it won't last forever." "I love that we are going to be parents together soon! I can't wait to see you as a mom..." You get the idea.
Now the idea of love languages and ensuring you are speaking your husband's love language is important during all stages of the relationship. But it is even MORE essential postpartum, because it can be SO easy to lose sight of focusing on your relationship with your partner when you have a new little human life to focus all your attention. It's even difficult to care for yourself during this time, while you are busy caring for your baby! This can slowly cause tension in the relationship, causing resentment, and even distance. Being intentional about continuing to express love to your partner in THEIR love language so THEY feel loved is key (and of course vice versa!!). You need to feel that love from your husband as well because being a mom is HARD, and those special moments of connection with him can be your firm foundation during a challenging season.
5 Love Languages
"Communication is key in any long term relationship or marriage. The 5 Love Languages helped me have a structure for understanding my partner, and telling my partner what I need. Now that I know my husband's love language, I can express my love in a way he can feel it."
Someone whose love language is physical touch, feels the most loved when their loved one embraces them and shares a meaningful appropriate touch. An unexpected hug from behind while she's cleaning the dishes, or a random kiss on the cheek as he works at his computer, can do wonders for your relationship if physical touch is your partner's love language. This language is all about sharing that special connection through appropriate touch to add a spark to your relationship and feel connected to each other, both physically and emotionally. Try holding their hand when you walk the dog, or cuddle on the couch when you watch the kid's cartoons, or a foot massage after a long day on your feet in the third trimester.
These people cherish your undivided attention and when they receive it, they feel like the most special person in the world. Put away the electronics (yes, your phone counts!) and look your husband in the eye, really listen to what he has to say, and spend some quality time connecting with him. It's not so much about what you do or say, but more about the memories you are creating and the attention you are giving them. Pick a day, pick a place, find a babysitter, and show up with your loved one (yes, without the little ones!). Give them 100% of your time and attention, and watch your partner's face, eyes, and spirit, light up as they feel connected and loved by you.
Acts of Service
For this person, actions truly do speak louder than words. Now this can look many different ways depending on the person. They do tend to take some preparation, planning, or advance thought, but the reward of your partner feeling so loved by these actions, I guarantee will be worth it. The acts of service language could be bringing her a full cup of coffee first thing in the morning, before she gets up out of bed; unloading the dishwasher and cleaning all the dishes before he gets home from work; drawing a bubble bath for her after the kids are put to bed; or filling up his tank of gas before he leaves on a work trip out of town. These are all great ways to express love to your partner through acts of service.
The gifts language is all about receiving a heartfelt gift, making them really feel loved. You don't have to go break the bank every day, in order to ensure your partner feels loved if this is their language. It's more about the thoughtful, meaningful gifts that make these people feel cherished. Picking up his favorite candy or snack on the way home from work; creating something special and handmade that expresses how you feel about her; or even buying something small that is very thoughtful and specific to his or her interests, like the next book in the series he is reading, or a picture frame with the latest photo from a special moment to put on her nightstand, or a postpartum pressure sleep mask if that's her jam! The language of gifts is more about the thoughtfulness than the money spent.
Words of Affirmation
In this language, nothing speaks louder than the words you actually speak to each other. You have to pick your words wisely, and say something that is truly meaningful (and honest, of course!). Sometimes a quick, "I love you," or "You look beautiful," or "You smell nice today," can do the trick, but other times, you really have to put some thought into it and get creative. Leaving a sweet note in their work bag to find when they get to the office; a random text throughout the day to say you're thinking of her and miss her; placing sticky notes around the house with an encouraging message before a big meeting or stressful event; or something deeper that you don't normally say, such as something you are grateful for that they do or how they make you feel. Gratitude goes a long way in a relationship, especially spoken out loud to those who speak the words of affirmation love language!
"My love languages are Quality Time and Physical Touch. I just love being with my partner doing mostly whatever, as long as I have his full attention and time. It makes me feel so loved and connected to him. I also feel loved by physical touch. After a long day and rough bedtime routine with our newborn, snuggling on the couch, as we watch reality TV, talking and laughing about it together (with our phones put away!) makes me feel so connected and cherished by my husband!"
Practice Tips and Next Steps:
Figure out what YOUR love language is and maybe consider taking The 5 Love Languages Quiz (this can be a fun activity to do as a low key date night postpartum to learn more about your partner!)
Then, if you didn't end up doing the quiz together, find out YOUR HUSBAND'S love language, share your love language with him, and then get started speaking his language!
Lastly, reflect on creative ways to begin using The Five Love Languages to share your love and connection to your newborn, toddler, or children, as they too begin to learn all about healthy attachments, for example, skin-to-skin contact with your newborn!