5 Love Languages
After many years of counseling couples in crisis, Dr. Gary Chapman says he realized that what makes a person feel loved is not necessarily the same as what his spouse or partner does. Chapman theorized that people tend to give love the way they most like to receive it, and that better communication between couples can be achieved by showing care for the other through a language of love that they best understand. In general, we show love in the way we would most like to receive love.
What are the 5 love languages?
1. Quality Time
This is – by far – the most common love language. Of course, time spent together is important for any bond, but those with this language feel MOST loved when spending quality time with their partner. Putting away the phones and focusing on each other without interruption is what makes these individuals feel connected and happy in a relationship. Long-distance relationships can be hard or almost impossible for those with this primary love language. They also highly value chatting, on the phone or in person, and sharing how their day went. Although it’s called “quality time”, in my personal experience with these individuals it’s also about quantity. Ironically, for me, this is my lowest rated love language.
2. Physical Touch
Physical touch is a common primary love language among those with an anxious preoccupied attachment. Individuals with this love language feel loved through physical expressions of intimacy and closeness. Holding hands, a good squeeze and cuddling are all great ways to show those who prefer physical touch that you truly care on a daily basis. If you’re not around to show your physical affection, you can simply use physical language in your communication. For example, try sending a text such as, “sending you a hug”.
3. Words of Affirmation
Those with words of affirmation as their primary love language feel most loved when you tell them how much you appreciate and love them – be detailed! It’s hard to be over the top with these individuals. If you like something they do, please let them know! They love to hear how awesome they are and how much they mean to you. Likewise, a harsh or critical tone can really hurt their feelings. Be careful how you express disappointment with these individuals. The more positive you are the better your message will be received. These types are actually very easy to please once you realize how they work.
4. Acts of Service
My top love language! This is also a common primary love language for those on the more dismissive side of attachment. For those with acts of service as their top language, actions do really speak louder than words. There’s a huge misconception that this language is about domestic labor. Take that out of your mindset completely! Household chores are a daily necessity and not an effective way to speak this language to your partner. Figure out what works for you regarding the division of basic household chores and treat this love language as a completely separate item.
So then what’s this love language all about? It’s about being there when needed. It’s about being dependable and having your partners best interests at heart. It’s about showing through actions how much someone is valued. It’s about noticing your partner and where they may need help; it’s about asking if they need help and giving it to them. Above all, it’s about showing through actions that you support them so that you both can feel like a team.
The most important thing is to keep your word. If they asked for your help and you agreed, it’s very important for you to follow through; this language is all about wanting to know someone has your back. Believe me, even if they asked on your second date, they will still remember years later.
There are many ways to practice this language on a daily basis, such as making coffee in the morning, picking up their package while you’re out, cooking their favorite meal with love, running them a bath, or even just doing something you’re amazing at for them. Driving them to the airport to make their life easier or doing something practical to help them achieve their personal goals will not be soon forgotten and can create a lifelong bond.
Small gestures like helping them with their coat or opening their door are never taken for granted but it goes over best when the act of service is something truly needed. For example, if your loved one falls ill you should offer – without being asked – to help in whatever way you can. Did you send them food or medicine? Make an appointment with the doctor for them? I know this language very well and it can be hard to resist a helpful suitor.
However, there is a catch 22: those with this primary love language don’t like asking for help but want you to help. Therefore those with this love language need to take responsibility for clearly communicating when they do need help. It’s not fair to expect someone to read your mind (even though it’s possible).
This is my second highest love language. The misperception with this love language is that it means you’re materialistic. That’s not necessarily true at all; an individual with any of the five languages can be materialistic or shallow. If you want to test if your partner has this love language, give them flowers and observe if they throw them out after they die or if they hang on to the dried flowers for years thereafter.
These are the types of people who will save mementos from dates and who never forget an important holiday or birthday. Likewise, it’s smart to remember important dates and celebrations if you’re partnering with this type. A simple homemade card or some cheerful flowers can communicate your love for your partner easily but the most cherished gifts are personalized and sentimental. Giving gifts is a chance to let your partner see how well you know them.
Furthermore, you can incorporate this language into your daily life by picking up your loved one a cup of green tea, their favorite chocolates 🍫, or even just remembering their favorite brands when you go grocery shopping. Expressing this language is simply about showing your partner that you are always thinking of them and how to make them happy. They cherish the symbol of love that they can feel, touch, see and keep.
I hope this brief overview of the five languages has been helpful and illuminating. Of course, all languages need to be practiced to a degree but it can truly transform your relationship when you finally see all the little ways in which someone is telling you how loved you are, everyday.