Have you heard of The 5 Love Languages® by Dr. Gary Chapman? This book, written in 1995, has gotten more popular again as people delve deeper into the inner workings of their relationships. While this book doesn’t resonate with every person, it reveals that some people find it easiest to communicate via the way they like to give and receive love. No matter how you prefer to communicate, clearly communicating your caring intentions to your partner is important in every relationship, and this book is just one of the many tools that can be used!
So, what is a love language?
A love language is a tool used to describe the ways in which we feel most loved and appreciated. Since each person is different, the way you feel most loved in your relationship may be different than your partner’s. This can sometimes cause a disconnect if you’re expecting your partner to speak your love language if theirs is different.
According to Dr. Chapman, there are five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Understanding and expressing these different ways of showing love can help gain insight into another person’s expectations and needs.
Words of Affirmation
This love language uses words that build up your partner and lets them know you love them. It doesn’t need to be a sonnet or a novel. Sometimes it’s the short, genuine, simple praises that can be the most effective.
“I love the sound of your laugh!” “You make me smile.” “You look beautiful today.”
If your partner has this love language, words are key. A simple compliment and an “I love you” can go a long way.
Acts of Service
If actions speak louder than words with your partner, this may be their love language.
People with this love language express themselves by doing things that they know their partner will enjoy. Cooking their favorite meal just because, picking up their favorite flowers, doing the laundry, or doing some other task so that your partner doesn’t have to are all different acts of service. At times, this can require some thought and effort, but the acts of service should be done with positivity and because you want to make your partner happy. Doing something because you “should” or “have to” does not have the same effect.
When people hear someone’s love language is giving or receiving gifts, they may assume that person is materialistic, but that’s not necessarily the case.
People with this love language enjoy sentimentality and want their partner to know they were thinking of them, or enjoy knowing they were being thought of. These gifts don’t always need to be expensive; it can be something as small as finding a four-leaf clover and giving it to your partner.
The small, meaningful tokens that make them feel loved and appreciated are just as important as the grandiose gifts.
When you spend time with your partner, is it quality time? People with this love language appreciate undivided attention; not in front of a TV, not sitting on the couch together scrolling away, but true quality time with just the two of you, together.
Now, that’s not to say you can’t curl up on the couch together to watch the latest comedy special on Netflix or head to a concert that you’ve both been dying to see. It just means that within the fun activities, make sure you’re dedicating time to each other without other distractions. This makes your partner feel loved, comforted, and safe in the relationship.
So, each time you aren’t truly present during one-on-one time, it can be hurtful and make your partner feel as if you care more about other things than them.
For people with Physical Touch as their love language, it’s pretty straightforward. These people feel most connected in a relationship when they’re holding their partner’s hand, wrapped in a hug, or being given a kiss. This doesn’t mean it has to be all PDA, all the time, but physical contact is key. Something as small as a hand on their knee as you sit next to them or a kiss on the forehead as you walk by will bring them joy.
If Physical Touch is your partner’s primary love language, lack of physical contact can make them feel unloved or insecure, no matter how many poems you write them, bags of trash you take out or pints of ice cream you give them. They want to physically feel you close to them.
While there are five main love languages, don’t be discouraged if one doesn’t speak to you fully. Lots of times they can overlap. Each individual person should feel validated and empowered to express love in their own special way. Learning your partner’s and your own love language or love languages, whatever they may be, can help create a stronger bond in your relationship as you write the next chapter of your love story.
Looking to take your relationship to the next level? Consider Couples Therapy with Donna! Reach out today to learn more.