The Five Love Languages: The Covid-19 Edition
We've previously discussed how using the 5 love languages can make your relationships stronger. They let us show our love in ways that our partner can best understand and feel. How does this apply during the COVID-19 era? How do we show love to people we can't see because of isolation and social distancing? How can we better we care for people we're now sharing space with 24/7? And how can we make sure that we are truly paying attention to our partner's language rather than focusing on our own? Sex and intimacy can be a challenge during the restrictions that come with COVID-19, but there are ways to use the love languages even in these strange times.
Focus on the Other
It's great to know our own love languages. We can only expect our partner to know what's important to us if we're able to communicate with them. Though many of us are intuitive and observant of our partners, we also need to take responsibility for communicating our own needs. However, some of us can forget that the goal of this tool is also to be curious about learning our partner's love language so that we can show our love for them in a way that makes them feel equally special.
It is easy to get caught up in what we think might help a partner at this tough time, but it behooves us to ensure we reflect on what a partner might prefer. Speaking words of affirmation when our partner really just wants quality time together means that those words fall on deaf and potentially even resentful ears. Take some time to consider what might help them to feel loved. Ask your partner to take the love languages quiz if they haven't already done so and make sure you know yours too.
The Five Languages With COVID-19 Considerations
Words of Affirmation
Use different methods to express your feelings. Speaking them out loud is fabulous. Be creative: send a text, a hand-written letter, create a short video or audio recording. Make a poster, write a few words in lipstick on the mirror, arrange food to spell a word that states a quality that you love about them, or send a photo of the two of you together and share what made them so special to you at that moment. And when you have a sexy time together, remember to affirm what you find hot about them, both physically as well as other qualities such as their humour, kindness, or intelligence. Words of affirmation don’t have to take much time, but with sincerity, their impact can be deep.
Acts of Service
If you live together, take time to offer a foot rub, make their favourite snack, or clean up the breakfast dishes. Stay current on your own chores and do a little bit more (clear out the junk drawer or do a deeper clean of one area of the home). When you are planning intimate time, think about what vibrators, lubricants, oils, sensations, or activities your partner might be into. If you don't live together, research a new book they might like to read, prepare a meal and drop it off, or create a physical or digital scrapbook with your special memories together.
The quality is more important than the price of a gift. Choosing something that's meaningful and suited to your partner will be better received than something expensive that doesn't resonate with them. Picking a flower from the backyard or standing in line to get their favourite cookie can be as impactful as a fancy gift. A sex toy, lubricant, or new game can be a welcome gift for a lover to spice up pleasure time.
During times of social distancing and isolation, quality time can look different than before. If you live together, this is a good time to complete a project together that your partner has been wanting to finish. Get creative about how you spend time together: make a funny video, sing or play music no matter how good you are, play board games, research your next trip, or plan a long lovemaking session. You can do some of these together even while apart, as technology enables us to play board games online, watch a movie together with Netflix Party, and cook, work, eat, workout, or do almost anything together on Zoom.
If you live together, ensure that physical touch extends beyond just intimate time. Give a shoulder rub while they're at the computer, stroke them as they fall asleep, and sit close together on the couch while you watch TV or read together. If your partner has this love language, this can be challenging if you're physically separated. Add a physical aspect to your phone or video dates with the We-Connect app that lets one partner use a sex toy while the other controls the intensity and rhythm of the sensations. Love language author Gary Chapman has a few good additional suggestions: trace the outline of your hand on a piece of paper and mail it with instructions to place a hand on top of the drawing every time your partner wants to hold hands. Wearing someone's clothes can be a substitute when you want to feel a hug from them. The emotional connection that comes with some of these can help to almost feel the physical sensations.
Love languages are one way to ensure that our partner feels loved during tough times of uncertainty, anxiety, and isolation from regular connections. With love, our ability to manage adverse times is much better. If you find that your partner is having a hard time, try to reach out in a way that they might appreciate. And, if you are having a hard time yourself, go easy on the expectations. Even just telling your partner what you would like to do if you had more energy can help them know that you're thinking of them and that you love them in a way that shows that you understand them and care.