I was having brunch with two good friends of mine recently. I will call them John and Jill. They were telling me of an argument they had had after Jill’s birthday party. John had worked for two days to prepare a delicious meal, lovely wine, beautiful table and invite all her good friends to celebrate. The present he was buying her had not yet arrived, but the effort that went into the celebration was huge.
All she could see was that she did not have a present to open on the day. Now, you may judge this to be ungrateful, but it wasn’t – it was simply that John and Jill have different love strategies. They know they are loved in different ways. John had made the (unknowing) mistake to use his strategy to show love rather than Jill’s. It landed on very annoyed ears!
What are these love strategies? They fall into four main categories:
1. People who need to have things done for them – things that take an effort (John’s strategy).
2. People who like to be given things (Jill’s strategy).
3. People who like to be touched in a certain way (not necessarily intimately – simply the sensation of touch).
4. People who need to hear the words “I love you”.
When we first set out dating, we tend to use all four – we are unconsciously covering all our bases. We will buy things like flowers or little presents, we will cook a lovely meal, we touch each other, and we will say we love them. Trouble is that once we are together in a committed relationship we tend to revert to our own strategy. That’s OK if our partner has the same strategy, but if, like John and Jill, they have different strategies, then John could create beautiful meals with all the effort in the world and it will not even be noticed.
Another friend of mine tells the story of his 9-month marriage in that, on the day they got married, his wife said to him, “All you have to do is bring me flowers every Friday and I will know you love me.” He, being stubborn and not liking to be told, never brought her flowers. He did lots of stuff for her, (his strategy), but never fulfilled hers. He then wondered why she left after 9 months, claiming he never told her he loved her.
The great thing is that once you know this, you never need to have your partner feel unloved ever again. You simply learn their love strategy. Watch what they do for you – that will tell you. Every time you wish to show that you love them, use it. You can also have a conversation about this with them so they use yours too! I have a different strategy than my partner and when she makes the effort to use mine I notice, and it makes it all the more special. That extra bit of effort is huge. It takes a little effort but believe me, it will land every time. If you do, your relationship will benefit hugely – as will you!