What Are The Five Love Languages?
The term “five love languages” was introduced in 1995 by marriage counselor Gary Chapman. Dr. Chapman uses this term in his book The 5 Love Languages to explain how couples meet one another’s needs for affection and connection. Working as a couples counselor for years, Dr. Chapman recognized a pattern in most couples’ complaints that falls into five categories. Dr. Chapman proposes these five categories are actually ways of expressing and receiving love. They involve:
- Words of affirmation
- Gift giving
- Acts of service
- Quality time
- Physical touch
What It Takes for a Person to Feel Loved?
Different people express love in different ways and prefer a particular love language above the others. The other four love languages are just as important as they offer ways of expressing love and connection.
Problems in relationships often stem from different ways partners prefer to show and receive love. If you express affection in ways that your partner doesn’t understand or like, he or she may not recognize your love signals.
For example, your partner may need to hear words of affirmation to feel loved and appreciated, while you believe that taking her out for dinner will make her happy. Although you showed her care, your girlfriend is not pleased. You are confused, not realizing that what she actually wants is to hear a few kind words. So, your love language somehow got lost in translation.
Identifying your own and your partner’s love language can help you better understand each other, maintain closeness and intimacy, and function as a team. However, the five love languages apply to all other relationships in your life, not only romantic relationships.
How to effectively love one another and make your relationship lasts? Here are the five love languages that can help you maintain a healthy connection with your partner.
1) Words of Affirmation
Although we tend to believe that it is not what we say but what we do that counts, that is not entirely true for people with this love language. For these individuals, words matter. People who speak words of affirmation language feel deeply connected to their partner after hearing phrases such as “I love you. I care for you. Thank you. You make me happy.”
They need to feel appreciated, so words of affirmation are more about recognition, not so much about the desire to be showered with compliments. If you speak this love language, you need to hear your partner say a few kind words so you can save these tokens of love to reflect on later. In other words, if you speak words of affirmation language, you need to hear words of love to feel acknowledged, happy and connected.
2) Gift Giving
Identifying with the love language of gift-giving doesn’t mean that you are selfish or greedy. Catering to this love language doesn’t have to spin around elaborate or expensive gifts. Gift-giving is about thoughtfulness, and it can be as simple as picking her up a flower during your walk or buying her favorite chocolate on your way home.
Those who love this language thrive on the thoughtfulness and effort behind the gift, not on the materialistic aspects of it. The act of gift-giving tells your loved one that you cared enough to think of them when you are not together and get something that will make your spouse happy.
If you speak gift giving language, you are using gifts to send your partner a message that you care and think of him.
3) Acts of Service
If acts of service are love language that resonates with you, you value actions more than words. What proves more significant is your spouse putting effort into doing something nice or caring for you, such as cooking a meal, taking kids to school, or doing a household chore without being asked.
For people who speak this love language, taking care of the small details of day-to-day life speaks louder than words. Acts of service language include anything you do to relieve your loved one’s burden of daily tasks and make their life easier. Through acts of service, you show your partner how much you value, love, and care for them.
4) Quality Time
If your partner speaks this love language, they more than anything else value your undivided attention. This love language is about the time you spend together with no cell phones, TV, kids, or chores.
Quality time means carving time to spend with your partner, being present for them, and giving them your full attention and focus. It is about being together, paying attention to each other, listening, and communicating. Quality time is about doing something together, whether it is going for a walk, preparing diner, or making love.
Being there for your partner is how they know you care about them.
5) Physical Touch
Physical touch love language is not just about sex. People who identify with physical touch language tend to feel most connected to their partner when touch is involved. If your partner values physical contact, they most likely enjoy hand-holding, long hugs, snuggling up close to you, and cuddling. For most people, physical touch is the most powerful way to communicate love as nothing can soothe, reassure, and heal like physical gestures of affection.
We all express our love in different ways. Likewise, different people prefer different ways of showing affection and care.
Taking the time to learn your partner’s primary love language (and understanding that it might be different from your own) can help you recognize their needs so you can improve communication and emotional connection. Understanding how you and your partner’s love languages are different can help you realize when he or she is sending you love. It can also help understand the roots of your relationship anxiety. Learning to love your partner in his or her favorite way is an effective strategy to improve your relationship, rekindle closeness, and strengthen your bond.