One of the most common relationship issues people face today is the struggle to express love in an intentional and meaningful way to someone else. Nearly everyone wants to show their partner that they care. Yet, many people struggle to do it in a way that speaks to their heart. If you find that this describes your situation, you may want to learn more about the Five Love Languages.
History has shown that learning how your partner receives love will help you know the best way to demonstrate your love and caring.
You may show your love to your partner on a regular basis, but do you take the time to make sure you’re communicating it in the way your partner wants? When two partners speak different love languages, sometimes love can be mistranslated.
What Are The 5 Love Languages?
The five love languages are five different ways of expressing and receiving love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
Not everyone communicates love in the same way, and likewise, people have different ways they prefer to receive love. The concept of love languages was developed by Gary Chapman, Ph.D., in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, where he describes these five unique styles of communicating love, categories he distilled from his experience in marriage counseling and linguistics.
We all may relate to most of these languages, but each of us has one that speaks to us the most. Discovering you and your partner’s primary love language and speaking that language regularly can create a better understanding of each other’s needs and support each other’s growth.
1. Words Of Affirmation
In simple terms, the words of affirmation love language is about expressing affection through spoken words, praise, or appreciation. When this is someone’s primary love language, they enjoy kind words and encouragement. They also enjoy uplifting quotes, love notes, and cute text messages. You can make this person’s day by complimenting them or pointing out what they do well.
2. Quality Time
Love and affection are expressed through this love language when someone gives someone else their undivided attention. This means putting down the phone and turning off the iPad, making eye contact and actively listening, having meaningful conversations or sharing recreational activities. People with this love language are looking for quality over quantity. So, when you get together, they feel loved if you are present and focused on them. Make sure that you make eye contact, affirm what the other person is saying, and refrain from offering advice.
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3. Physical Touch
A person with this love language feels loved through physical affection. Aside from sex, those who have physical touch as their primary love language feel loved when their partner shows physical affection in some way like holding their hand, touching their arm, or giving them a massage at the end of the day. Additionally, their idea of a perfect date might include cuddling on the couch with a glass of wine and a good movie. They simply want to be close to their partners physically.
4. Acts Of Service
When someone’s primary love language is acts of service, they feel loved and appreciated when people do nice things for them. Whether it’s helping with the dishes or putting gas in the car, little acts of service go straight to the person’s heart. They love when people do little things for them and often can be found doing little things for others. This love language is for people who believe that actions speak louder than words. Unlike those who prefer to hear how much they’re cared for, people on this list like to be shown how they’re appreciated. Doing the smaller and bigger chores to make their lives easier or more comfortable is highly cherished.
5. Receiving Gifts
To a person whose love language is receiving gifts, gift-giving is symbolic of love and affection in their mind. They treasure not only the gift itself but also the time and effort the gift giver put into it. What’s more, they do not necessarily expect large or expensive gifts, the love language receiving gifts is more what is behind the gift that appeals to them. In other words, when you take the time to pick out a gift specifically for them, it communicates to them that you really know them. Additionally, people with this love language can often remember every little gift they have received from their loved ones because it makes such an impact on them.
How Relationships Benefit From Love Languages
We all have different ways of expressing and feeling love. As a result, knowing those differences can have a significant impact on your relationship. In fact, according to Dr. Chapman, it is one of the simplest ways to improve your relationships. Here are some other ways that the five love languages can improve your relationship.
When you are committed to learning someone else’s love language, you are focused on their needs rather than your own. And, this is the central premise of Dr. Chapman’s theory. Couples should work to learn their partner’s love language rather than trying to convince their partner to learn theirs. Ideally, both people will want to express love in a way that is meaningful to the other. But the entire purpose of the love languages is that you would learn how to love your partner in a way that makes sense to them.
Love languages Creates Empathy
Couples learn to empathise with someone who is different from them as they discover more about how their partners experience love. It allows people to take a step outside of themselves and consider what makes another person feel relevant and cherished. As a result, when couples commit to learning and using the love languages, they develop emotional intelligence and learn to prioritise the needs of others over their own. Instead of speaking their own love language to their partner, they learn how to communicate in a language that will be understood by their partner.
Love Languages Maintains Intimacy
When couples talk about what keeps their love tanks full on a regular basis, it leads to greater understanding and, ultimately, intimacy in their relationship. They not only learn more about one another, but they also form deeper and more meaningful bonds with one another and their relationship becomes more intimate as a result of this.
Knowing Love Languages Supports Personal Growth
Personal growth occurs whenever someone’s attention is drawn to something or someone other than themselves. Too often, society encourages people to become self-absorbed and unconcerned about anyone or anything else. People are pushed to develop and evolve because Dr. Chapman’s Five Love languages require them to love others in ways that are outside of their comfort zone.
Sharing Love In Meaningful Ways
When couples learn to speak each other’s love language, the things they do for each other become not only more intentional, but also more meaningful. Part of this is due to the fact that they are expressing their love for their partner in ways that make sense to them. And their partners are comfortable and delighted when they do so.
Don’t Put Your Partner In A Love Language Box
A relationship is a place for transformation and growth. When we limit each other with a specific love language, we do not allow room for change. The broad concepts, which lean on its practical simplicity, can also feel too simplistic since it’s not completely inclusive of: sexuality, culture, trauma, and intergenerational differences in nuanced communities.
There needs to be an understanding that human relationships are a complicated reflection of their childhood wounds and attachment style. I believe that once the person heals the wounds of their past relationships and develops a healthy attachment style, their love language also changes.
In general, it’s important not to use love languages as a universal salve to remedy issues but rather a method for deeper connection. It’s clear we need more skill sets than those in our tool kit to face problems that may exist below the surface of our relationship.
The Bottom Line
Love languages are a useful tool to improve how we communicate and express ourselves to each other, but they shouldn’t be the be-all-and-end-all solution for happiness. Instead, it should function as a starting point that sets couples on a journey to meet each other in a more profound way and self-regulate better. But the work shouldn’t stop there.
Once you know each other’s love language, you will see that it is easy to put it into action. Speaking your partner’s love language just takes a little bit of effort and intentionality. Remember, healthy relationships aren’t born, they’re developed through attention and effort.
The good news is that you can enhance your relationship by learning your partner’s love language and putting it into practice. And, if you both are committed to loving one another in the way that speaks to the other, you will find yourself not only deeper in love, but also in a happy and fulfilling relationship.