This post might get a bit rambly and I might lose track of any sort of point that I was attempting to make, so please bear with me...
From what little I know of love languages, we tend to give or express love in the ways we like to receive it. And it probably works easiest (best?) if our partners share the same love language.
For me, it's touch. I'm autistic, and like a lot of other autisic people I have certain hypersensitivies. The tiniest touch will get me going, and I love it. I'd hug and snuggle all day long given half a chance. I also used to have hypersensitive hearing.
I've known my current partner since we were at school together. There were literally decades that we scarcely saw each other between leaving school and getting together as partners. He's autistic too. And loud. Very loud. When we were at school, although we got on brilliantly I would develop headaches just being near him. We didn't know about the autism thing then, and I never realised that I was hypersensitive, just that he was loud. Mercifully, over the years my hearing has dropped off a bit to a more 'normal' level. I've also learned about the hypersensitivity thing, and also become much more up-front about my needs so I was quite happy to explain what triggers the headaches and we have a simple, effective hand-signal code now if he's getting too loud, which he understands is not just me attempting to shut him up, it's just that I want him to quieten down so I can actually listen.
What I did NOT realise until after we got together is that he is hypersensitive to touch too. Like, seriously hypersensitive. With me, touch is awesome and I crave it. For him, the touch of another person is like being given a hot mug of tea to hold, but not by the handle. It's ok for a couple of seconds, but then it gets more and more urgent until he's fighting himself to not push the other person away. More to the point, he'd never really analysed it himself, and just thought he 'wasn't really into that stuff'.
But understanding love-languages has helped us work through this.
I *need* touch in a relationship. I don't need much. I'd love lots and lots and lots, but the tiniest bit is so amazing for me that I don't actually need much of it.
He *can't* do much my way of touch, but he knows how much I need it. So I get as many hugs as I need, and I try to make that as few as possible, but enjoy every moment of them. If I'm falling apart at the seams (which has been quite a lot over the last few years) he'll battle with himself to let me linger with hugs, but the cost to him is quite high. If we talk about it, the way he describes is that 'There's only so many hugs in me in a day.' And I have to understand that and not push too much, and understand that his love language is *very* different.
We're both into spending quality time with each other - driving places together, working in the garden together, fixing up bits of the new house together.
But for him the top one is probably 'acts of service'. He is incredibly touched (ha - that word again!) if I *do* anything for him. And he expresses his love to me almost constantly by doing things for me. Honestly, he'd wait on me hand and foot all day long if I let him. Which is no bad thing as both my mental and physical health have nosedived for the last three years or so and he's been an absolute rock keeping me going and getting me back on my feet. He loves to cook for me, and is utterly delighted when I express any sort of appreciation. Then I do the washing up, and that means so much to him as he absolutely hates doing that.
I just want to share something that happened a couple of weeks ago.
He wandered up to where I was sitting, took me gently by the hand, and rather sweetly compared the size of his hunky great fingers to my relatively petite ones by placing his our hands together, palms touching. I just melted at the touch and was revelling in it.
"Ah, they're so much smaller than mine!" he says.
Aw, what a sweetie.
"Can you come downstairs and fish out the bits of rubble that have ended up in the new shower drain for me - my fingers won't fit."
It's sort of funny, but I get the extra bit of touch (my love language). He gets acts-of-service (his love language) when I go to help him with something. I get acts-of-service too, as he's installing the drain as part of the install-a-shower exercise. And we *both* get quality-time together.
I really think it's important to figure out each other's love language, and find ways to make them work for you as a couple. And most importantly, to really appreciate it when they do things for you in either their own or in your love language.