In any romantic or pair bond relationship, there are myriad ways that a couple communicates to each other. Words, actions, expressions, mannerisms… we’re looking for and sending endless signals to and from our mate.
And while there are a million things each person says (both verbally and non-verbally) every day, it could be argued that there really is only one thing we’re actually looking for: the answer to the question, “Do you love me?”
According to Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” we all express love a little differently. In Chapman’s model, the 5 primary ways are:
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Gift Giving
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
(For a quick reference listen to the Personality Hacker podcast “The 5 Love Languages.” For more in-depth information, read Chapman’s book of the same title. It’s a great read – we highly recommend it.)
These are five very important modalities of communicating love, and knowing which one you and your mate favor can make or break the relationship. That said, while we communicate love in different ways, we are also looking for very specific markers that transcend the form of communication – we’re looking for specific criteria which means love to different types.
For example, we might have a “Words of Affirmation” Love Language and we’ll always feel good when someone praises us. But what are they praising us for? Does it match our internal ‘list’ of important things? For example, one woman might be over to moon to hear her husband praise her beauty to his friends, and another woman might feel marginalized.
How “Evaluation” Becomes “Love”
In our program “Personality Types in Marriage & Relationship” we discuss how different personality types both ask the question, “Do you love me?” and how they answer it, “Yes! I do love you!” Here’s where it gets tricky: each personality type asks it in a slightly different way, and concurrently answers it in a slightly different way.
Here’s a refresher on how the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types correlate to the Genius System:
The “decision-making” mental processes (Harmony, Authenticity, Effectiveness, Accuracy) are ways we evaluate the world and determine their rightfulness, truthfulness and importance to us as people.
Every personality type has a tendency to overvalue their criteria, and unless you understand the concept of different types it’s very easy to assume others are using the same criteria to make evaluations and decisions. That is, if you’re an Effectiveness person it may be very difficult to understand another person who is using, say, Accuracy. When they come to a conclusion that favors conceptual analysis over what works, the assumption is that person is being short-sighted, and somewhat stupid.
Since we all do this (to some extent), in a romantic relationship this can be disastrous. On some level we ‘get’ that other people see the world differently than we do, but without a solid model these differences end up becoming gender stereotypes. “Women just want men to listen to them and not solve problems,” or “Men just want to be alone in their ‘man cave’ when they have problems.”
Since there is definitely a gender skew in personality types, these stereotypes play out often enough that we take them for granted. Real trouble surfaces when we’re a personality type not common to our gender but we’re still expected to play out the normal ‘script’. When our mate can’t ‘read’ or ‘predict’ us (or vice versa!) it can become a serious issue.
It’s a frustrating exercise trying to communicate love (and look for markers of love from your mate) only to watch the attempts fall flat. In most things to ‘fail again, fail better’ is a noble pursuit, but in love if we believe the answer to our question “Do you love me?” is “No” or “I’m not sure” too often, you can do real damage to your own heart and your mate’s.
Knowing your own decision-making process and your lover’s is a much easier way of being able to say clearly, “When I look for love, this is what I’m looking at.”
How “Harmony” asks “Do you love me?”
Myers-Briggs types: ENFJ, INFJ, ESFJ, ISFJ
- Do you feel connected to me?
- Will you check in and make sure I’m okay?
- Will you acknowledge and take care of my needs?
- Am I safe with you?
- Do you accept and approve of me?
How “Harmony” answers: “Yes! I love you!”
- I will meet your needs before I meet my own.
- I will check in regularly and make sure you’re okay.
- I will do my best to keep morale up.
- I will show you appreciation in whatever way I’d like to be shown appreciation.
How it can be misinterpreted by other types: Smothering, intrusive.
How “Authenticity” asks, “Do you love me?”
Myers-Briggs types: ENFP, INFP, ESFP, ISFP
- Do you think I’m being real with you?
- Do you trust my motives and my intent?
- Will you support me no matter what – do you have my back?
- Will you give me space to be “me?”
How “Authenticity” answers, “Yes! I love you!”
- I will be patient with your honest expressions.
- I will honor your feelings and identity, even if it’s a struggle for both of us.
- I will hold space for you, and give you alone time when you need it.
- I will have your back no matter what the fight is.
- I will trust you have my best interests at heart.
How it can be misinterpreted by other types: Passive, self-absorbed
How “Effectiveness” asks, “Do you love me?”
Myers-Briggs types: ENTJ, INTJ, ESTJ, ISTJ
- Will you handle things – can I rely on you?
- Will you make my life easier, can I relax knowing you’re “on it?”
- Will you support my career and/or goals and be self-sufficient?
- Are you loyal?
How “Effectiveness” answers, “Yes! I love you!”
- I will be endlessly loyal on principle.
- I will educate myself on you and learn how you operate.
- I will take pride in you, boasting about your accomplishments even before my own.
- I will protect you.
- I chose you. I continue to choose you. Case closed.
How it can be misinterpreted by other types: Controlling, distant, “unromantic”
How “Accuracy” asks, “Do you Love Me?”
Myers-Briggs types: ENTP, INTP, ESTP, ISTP
- Do you think I’m totally competent?
- Are you impressed with my performance?
- Do you trust that I’m not lying to you or B.S.’ing you in any way?
- Does it make sense that you love me? That you stay with me?
How “Accuracy” answers, “Yes! I love you!”
- I will be rigorously honest with you. If I have a ‘wandering eye’ I will tell you, and provide a solution.
- I will gift you with my precision. I will learn you and give high performance at all levels.
- I will protect you from others, but not from yourself.
- I will never judge you. Instead, I will be there for you when things go bad, no matter why they went bad.
How it can be misinterpreted by other types: Harsh, insensitive, cold
Did this resonate with you and what you know of your type? Were you able to spot your lover’s decision-making criteria, and how can it help you communicate to them that you love them in a way that’s meaningful to them?
Let us know! Leave a comment and share your experience.
Interested in gaining deep insight into how you and your lover operate within your relationship? Want to get to the next level of intimacy on a deep, cognitive level? This article is just a taste of our full course “Personality Types in Marriage & Relationships.“
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