Five Love Languages
Do you know what the Five Love Languages are and how this concept can solve your relationship problems?
In 10 years of practicing individual and couples therapy, I’ve found that the five love languages helps pretty much any relationship, not just romantic ones.
It is useful to understand what matters to people and what type of love they want to receive from you! It is different if they are a romantic partner.
The Five Love Languages was created by relationship expert Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts in 1992.
It outlines five ways to express and experience love between romantic partners that Chapman calls “love languages.”
It takes more than the occasional great date to keep your relationship afloat. In fact, Dr. Gary Chapman, says the key to a lasting relationship is learning love languages.
Getting to know a person in a romantic relationship is a gradual process. Over time, you learn more and more about them, including their likes and dislikes and how they think.
When you realize what your partner does and doesn’t care about, you can have a better relationship.
The concept of love languages is actually quite simple. There are five of them, each describing an expression of—you guessed it—love. The key, according to Chapman, is discovering which love language you and your partner respond to the most, then regularly putting that into practice.
The Five Love Languages Defined
This love language might seem materialistic, but you don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars if this is your partner’s love language. It could be one flower or a favorite chocolate or dessert.
A gift says, “my partner was thinking about me.” Gifts could be tangible or intangible items that make you feel appreciated or noticed.
Going to your partner’s favorite concert, for example, is as much of a gift as flowers or that new wine decanter you want.
To individuals who favor this love language, the absence of everyday gestures that show you remember them or a missed special occasions can be particularly harmful.
This means giving your partner your undivided attention! Taking a walk together or sitting on the couch with the TV and cell phones off – talking AND listening.
Put phones aside, turn all noise off, and just be with each other.
Try your hardest not to flake on a date or check your phone when you’re together, because this can be hurtful to a quality time person.
Acts of Service:
Doing something for your spouse that you know they would like. Cooking a meal, washing dishes, vacuuming floors, are all acts of service.
Another part of acts of service is not doing what you need to do to take care of yourself.
On the flip side, the way to disappoint a partner who appreciates act of service is through inaction. Either being too lazy or too disengaged to notice that you are making a mess or taking away your partner’s free time by the extra work you create.
If you are someone who leaves a mess behind, sometimes this hurts your partner, because it increases your partner’s workload.
Physical expressions of love, whether sexual or cuddling are important! These include: holding hands, a back massage, a hug, making out, sexual connection, or dancing.
The absence of physical touch can leave some individuals feeling isolated in a relationship.
This one can sometimes be seen as particularly important in monogamous relationships where one partner has no other choice for physical connection.
Words of Affirmation:
These are verbal expressions of care and affection.
“Thanks for putting the kids to bed” or “you looked really nice today.”
Other examples include: writing a poem, or sending your partner a song that reminds you of them and telling them to listen to the lyrics.
Also consider telling your partner what you love about them, and writing a list of their greatest characteristics.
Insults can be particularly upsetting to people who favor words of affirmation.
How Do I Know My Love Languages?
To learn which love language best represents you, head to 5lovelanguages.com and take their quiz. Then, you will get scored from 1 to 12 on all five love languages.
The one you score highest on is your primary language, while the lower scores are languages that you use less often and have less of an emotional affect on you.
You and your partner can consider taking this quiz together, then you both know how to best communicate and act to support each other’s needs.
Love languages can’t fix everything, of course. But the concept does go a long way in communicating better, and we all know how much that matters in a relationship.
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