Are your ‘expressions of love’ missing the mark with your partner?

By Liz Paul, Psychotherapist & Counsellor

When you do something nice for your partner it’s usually an ‘expression of your love’ for them.

It might be that you give them a cup of coffee in bed every morning.  Or you might tell them they look great.  Or you might give them a hug in the hallway.  And so on.

BUT, that doesn’t mean your partner sees it as an ‘expression of your love’.  They might take it for granted, or dismiss it as something lacking in value to them.  Over time, if your ‘expressions of love’ keep missing the mark, it can result in your partner not feeling loved.  And this can lead to a disconnection between you and your partner.

Why can this happen?

It’s because we don’t necessarily process ‘expressions of love’ the same way our partner does.  We don’t necessarily value the same ‘expressions of love’ that our partner values. And we therefore can’t presume our partner understands and appreciates the ‘expressions of love’ we feel comfortable giving.

We need to ask our partner which ‘expressions of love’ they are receptive to.  And then you need to tailor your ‘expressions of love’ to suit your partner.

Researchers have found there are five ‘expressions of love’:

  1. Voicing your feelings for, and complimenting, your partner (e.g. ‘I love you’, and ‘you look amazing’)
  2. Spending quality time with your partner
  3. Giving unexpected  gifts (e.g. buying a bunch of flowers, or a sweet treat)
  4. Acts of kindness  (e.g. making a cup of tea for your partner)
  5. Being physically affectionate (e.g. hugging, kissing and touching)

Ask your partner which of these ‘expressions of love’ are valued by them.  There will probably be two or maybe three.  And then you can start ‘expressing your love’, more often, in the way your partner can understand and appreciate.

You might also, of course, need to let your partner know your preferred ‘expressions of love’ if they have also been missing the mark.

What are the issues for which most people seek assistance?

  • Relationship break-ups
  • Constantly fighting with your partner
  • Loss of intimacy with your partner
  • Communication problems with your partner or child
  • Difficulty parenting toddlers or teens
  • Pre-marriage counselling
  • A child misbehaving
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Family counselling
  • Wanting to separate from their partner amicably
  • Helping the children cope after a relationship break-up
  • Trouble staying in relationships
  • HSC stress for students and their families
  • Relationship commitment issues
  • Problems at work
  • Couple counselling
  • Difficulties with step-children
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Problems with in-laws
  • Substance addiction
  • Facing major life changes
  • Making new life choices
  • Relationship counselling