Updated: Sep 7
We build stronger connections with people around us, in friendships and relationships, when we speak in words or actions that bring about positive emotions. Years ago, Gary Chapman – a pastor and marriage counselor - developed a concept that educated people to “the secret of love that lasts” by opening a new avenue for a romantic connection with his 1992 book, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.” With this book, Chapman proposed that every individual has a primary and secondary love language and that each love language represents the avenue of emotional connection they prefer. Simply put, it breaks down five ways in which humans may experience or interpret love. These avenues, in which one receives stimuli and interprets them as a gesture of love, are called “love languages.”
The problem with many relationships nowadays is that they expect their significant other to love them in a certain way and to do certain things in a certain way, but the reality is that everyone generally has their primary love languages for receiving and giving love. It may be the same for giving/receiving, and it may be different. The concept of “5 love languages” was developed to help you and your partner understand each other better. Here’s everything that you need to know about the languages and what they mean.
Words of Affirmation Examples:
Simply put, these are words of praise and adoration. This language is all about expressing your love with words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. If this is your partner’s love language, they may appreciate a nice gift, a favor, and a hug, but what he or she really wants is to hear or read how much you care. Whether expressed vocally, in a letter, love notes, or a text message, words mean a lot. Words of affirmation can build a meaningful basis of love for some people. Words are important to everyone, yet for people with this love language, they are that much more important — they are essential for their emotional needs. Examples of words that will build up or help you express your feelings to this kind of person are:
*You did an excellent job
*I look forward to waking up with you every day
*I love being in love with you
*Thank you for always being there for me
*I love your smile
*You are simply gorgeous/handsome
*Thinking of you makes me smile
*I love you
For words of affirmation to have any impact, it’s necessary to put time, thought, and love, into them. Insults also have a massive impact on those whose love language is words of affirmation, the choice of words and tone of certain words easily hurt them.
Acts of Service Examples:
As its name implies, “Acts of Service” entails putting in the time to show your partner that you care for them through action. It can be romantic or something intended to ease their daily burden. You could take out the trash for them or prepare breakfast in bed—anything to communicate your love through service. Because for some of us, actions speak louder than words. Some examples of what your partner would like to hear from you if their love language is indeed acts of service, are “how can I help you,” or “what can I do?” You can also try out these gestures:
*Cleaning the kitchen or the bathroom
*Fixing things that the other cannot fix
*Carrying the Groceries
*Cooking a special meal that you know he/she likes
*Doing the laundry and folding their clothes
Special note- if this is your partner's love language then the acts must be freely given. Meaning, they cannot hint at or tell you that they would like these things done. Yes, to express yourself this way it will take more creativity and time, but the outcome is going to be great.
Receiving Gifts Love Language:
This language is often misunderstood because many assume these people are high maintenance, selfish and materialistic – and of course, none of these things are true by assumption. For people that have this love language, receiving gifts is a way for them to understand and truly believe that the love is thoughtful and true. It’s not necessarily about spending a lot of money—even little gifts like picking up a few roses from the grocery store or bringing home your partner’s favorite wine can speak volumes, the receiver of gifts thrives on the thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If your partner receives love this way, try out these phrases:
*Babe, I bought this cologne for you because I would love to smell it on you
*I got your favorite roses/wine
*I went to the store and got this watch/necklace for you because I just knew it would look great on you
Those with this love language need the visible symbols of love to feel the connection between themselves and their partner. They are people that understand love through unspoken physical representations of thoughts. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are loved and cared for.
Quality Time Love Language:
Now, this one might be a little obvious, but people who receive love with this language can be very demanding – especially for those of us who have busy schedules, quality time seems more high maintenance than just gifting something to someone like you would with the love language “Receiving Gifts.” But however busy our lives get, if you are dating or are married to someone who receives love with this language, then attention is the best gift of them all. People with this love language feel most loved when their partner switches into airplane mode and gives them the undivided attention that they’ve been craving. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—everything on standby—doing this makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. And I get it, sometimes life doesn’t allow you the simple notion of having a day off, however, there are simple things that you can do to expand on quality time with your partner. Here are a few:
*Plan a romantic getaway
*Take a road trip
*Date night (phones off)
*Take a long walk together
*Spend a night at home playing board games
*Go out for a few drinks
Special Note: Quality Time love language has very little to do with the actual amount of time together and everything to do with Quality (keyword) and how you spend the time you do have together.
Physical Touch Love Language:
Physical touch is straightforward, but in a society where a touch can be misinterpreted on all kinds of levels, it is a misunderstood love language because of its overly sexualized connotation. This Love Language is, however, pure and lovely at its core. Physical touch language isn’t all about sex. The best way for us to feel loved is to physically connect. People with this love language crave physical touch because it’s assuring and makes them feel loved and wanted. There’s nothing better than getting a hug after a long, exhausting day. In the times we’re living in, you can’t escape negativity and it’s hard to find joy in the normal. But knowing that you can go home to a warm embrace is invaluable. You can do these things if your partner has this love language:
*Give her/him a hug from behind
*Touch her/him gently as you walk past
*Go for a walk and hold hands as you do so
*Get in the shower together and wash her/his back
*A good make-out session
The truth is, everyone has a different love language and that is completely normal. However, being able to identify that distinction is what will take your love and relationship to the next level. If you are unsure of what your language is, you can take the quiz here and find out!
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