“I’ll try not to get too deep, but what I will say is that it all depends on whom the romantic gesture is for. I know that sounds like a cop out, or a cliché, but it’s true, and probably one of the most important things in any relationship. We as humans give and receive love in a variety of ways and the way that both partners in a relationship give/receive love can differ from one another. If this happens and is unrecognized, it can lead to a lot of confusion and resentment. Both partners can think that they are continually and sometimes desperately trying to show their love for each other, but it is lost in translation. To add even more confusion some people give love one way and receive love an entirely different way and many times in more than one way.
Here’s a quick, not all-inclusive list:
The simplest way to figure all of this out is to just sit down and talk about it. Ask each other questions like, ‘What am I doing when you feel the most loved?’, ‘What do I do that makes you feel unloved?’ Sometimes, it’s not always easy to have those talks, so you can just observe your partner. Look for things from the list above that they do for you, and you can probably identify the ways they are trying to show you their love. Listen to them to try to find clues as to how they receive love. Is there something that they frequently comment or complain about? Do they ask you to do more around the house? Or complain you aren’t focused on them when you’re together? Things like that can clue you in.
You can easily see how things can get mixed up. If your partner receives love via small acts of kindness and time, and you give love through physicality and providing, things can get hairy real quick. They will ask you if you still love them because they don’t feel it, and in your head you are screaming, ‘I work 12 hours a day so we can vacation together, and every time I walk by you, I brush against your arm or shoulder, or give you a quick kiss.’
Now you feel like your love is unappreciated and they feel unloved, deepening your divide.
And this understanding can help both ways. If you both understand the ways that you love, it’s easier to recognize your partner’s attempts to love you. Keep in mind, this isn’t a direct replacement for adapting and learning to show love the way that they would like it, but they can certainly supplement each other.
This is based on what I learned from a seminar I received in post-deployment training several years ago, but this was eye-opening information for me and my wife. I wouldn’t say it saved our marriage, but it was immensely helpful to us.”