Showing Love Differently

In marriage counseling, I find that most couples are working very hard to show one another love. Typically, we show love and affection in the same way that we need it. Showing affection your way can leave your spouse feeling unloved and disconnected. This continual disconnection leads to a lack of spiritual, emotional and physical intimacy which may lead to affairs, addictions and divorce. All we really want is to be loved and accepted.

The key is to love your spouse the way they need to be loved and to be loved in the way you need to be loved. The “five love languages” is a great start, but temperament gives us deeper insight into our own needs for love and affection. For the sake of this discussion let’s talk about three, out of the five, temperament types. Try to recognize yourself and your spouse as you read over the next few paragraphs. Chances are that you married your opposite.

Relational / emotional oriented people are extremely outgoing and we love being social. We will instantaneously express what we are feeling in the moment. You will find us in any occupation that affords an outlet for being around people. We show affection through hugging, touching, words of affirmation and lots of emotional expressions. We tend to touch people – a lot! We need love in this same way. Please, cuddle, hug, hold our hand and tell us often that you love us. Romantic gestures, gifts, flattery and compliments will most definitely fill us up. A great deal of emotional expressions of love and affection is needed. Did I mention that we need to be the center of our spouse’s attention? Watch out for our hot temper and our positive and negative emotional outburst. I assure you, we can be optimistic, inspiring, outgoing and a lot of fun!

Task / cognitive oriented like quiet/alone time and we are often introverts and extremely analytical. Artist, musicians, accountants, and architects can be found among us. The few friends that we have are very close to us and we are the most loyal friend. Our love is proven through task. We will say “Look what I did for you today. I worked hard all day, I washed the dishes, I mowed the lawn, I took care of the kids and etc..” We feel loved when we are put above everyone else in our spouses life. We need to feel appreciated, not criticized and we need to be respected. When our spouse meets our expectations, then we feel loved.

Without question, we desire for our spouse to be our number one fan. We love very deeply, but rarely show our deep feelings and emotions. We feel that “you should know that I love you because, look at all these things I did for you.” Our lack of emotional expressions of affection can be interpreted as uncaring and cold. I assure you, we would give our life for those we love!

Many of us land somewhere in the middle. There is a desire to be social, but we need a genuine and personal invitation to socialize. We accept both task and emotional expressions for love and affection. Our tendency is to show love through serving and we have a very gentle spirit. Our sensitive nature is continually checking for genuine love. Typically, we are a responder to emotional love, but never initiate. We need our spouse to genuinely and consistently be assertive in expressing their love for us. We may not say “I love you” first because then your response is not a genuine gesture of love. I assure you that we are most loyal and we feel loved when we are able to take care of our closest people.

After reading all these attributes, you have most likely put yourself and your loved ones into one of these categories. I challenge you to use some of these ideas to show your spouse love and affection. See if their demeanor, attitude, expression and overall responses change when you show them love in the way they need it.

Temperament is more advanced and detailed than anyone could possibly put into a brief outline. These are merely the “cliff notes” version, to receive the complete experience you should make an appointment with a certified temperament counselor at Faithfully Guided.

by Scott Inman