The idea of love languages comes from Dr Gary Chapman in his book ‘The Five Love Languages’ written in 1992. It is proposed that there are 5 ways in which we give and receive love in relationships, and that often people misunderstand one another and each other’s needs.
*It is to be noted that The 5 Love Languages apply to all sorts of relational dynamics; familial, intimate, friendships, colleagues, etc. In this post I am focusing on adult intimate relationships, regardless of them being heteronormative, queer, monogamous, poly or ENM.
- Words of affirmation
Words of affirmation is the communication of love through affirming language, i.e.,
- ‘You look incredible in that outfit’.
- ‘I really love that you listen to me’.
- ‘I appreciate it when you turn up on time’.
- ‘You always make me laugh’.
If this is someone’s primary love language then they will enjoy verbal praise and feeling appreciated, which is one of our deepest needs as humans. They will feel loved through compliments, a thoughtful message or a phone call.
- Quality time
Undivided attention will stand you in good stead if this is your partners primary love language. Giving them your full attention, actively listening and being present with them is how they experience feeling loved. Time is a precious resource and we all have demands on us. However, carving out dedicated time to really be with your partner will mean the world to them. Turn off the TV and put down your phone.
- Receiving gifts
Almost everything ever written about love indicates that at the heart of love is the spirit of giving. All five love languages challenge us to give to our spouse, but for some, receiving gifts, visible symbols of love, speaks the loudest. They treasure the gift, but more importantly they appreciate time and effort their partner put into it.
- Acts of service
Do things that will make their life easier, take things off of their plate. These can be chores, errands, or anticipatory acts, i.e., making them coffee in the morning. Although to be clear, doing your fair share of these tasks is not an act of service, it has to be done with the intention of lightening your partners share and most importantly, with a positive attitude.
- Physical touch
Yes sex, but not only sex and for some people, no sex. Physical touch can be hugging, kissing, holding hands, skin on skin, a touch when you enter a room, or a massage. It could be a kiss goodbye or a cuddle on the couch. If this is your partners primary love language, they want you up close and personal.
It is not often that people have the same love languages, therefore misunderstandings are bound to happen. Learning what your own, and your partner/s are can help build a more emotionally connected relationship dynamic. It seeks to strength bonds through clearer communication, as you are able to show and receive love in a more meaningful way.
You can take the quiz here https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes