As a Psychologist and Marriage Counselor I have repeatedly seen the difference between falling in love and being in love. It is almost as if falling in love happens to us. In fact, physiological studies have shown that many neurochemicals and hormones are released during the falling in love phase. This physiological process actually narrows an individual’s awareness. While over stated, the old saying “love is blind” is not so far from the truth. Especially if you are referring to falling in love.
Being in love is a bit different. It follows the seemingly nonstop intense fireworks of falling in love. The blinders come off. This is when love can be looked at more as a choice. Something that requires more purposeful intention.
A number of years ago I came across the work of Dr. Gary Chapman. He speaks of love languages. In fact, he identifies five:
1) words of affirmation,
2) acts of service,
3) quality time,
4) physical touch, and
5) receiving gifts.
I would contend that all of these expressions of love are important in a relationship. However, typically one can be the “golden key” that unlocks feelings of love in your partner.
Early in a relationship we likely don’t figure out what are partner’s primary love language is. This is because in the falling in love phase we likely do them all. As a relationship moves into the being in love phase we likely fall into our own language. If I am a word guy, I may say “I love you”, “I love you”, “I love you”. It won’t unlock the deepest experience of being loved if it does not match my partner’s primary love language.
I challenge you to make your relationship a priority. If you are having challenges in your relationship, it may be due in part to speaking the wrong language.
You may be asking yourself, “How can I figure out my partner’s love language?”. Great question! I am glad you asked. I’ll identify two ways. The first is to listen to the criticism given to you by your partner. If you hear “You are never home” — you got it — Time is it. You can also conduct experiments. Do all of them over a period of time and pay attention to the results.
Remember, the best way to get love is to give love. However, make sure you’re speaking the right language.