What Are the Five Love Languages?

Illustration of woman holding a rose with hearts

Love language is a concept that describes the ways that people receive and express love in a relationship. Knowing your partner’s love language and letting them know yours can help you ensure you both feel loved and appreciated in your relationship.

Nearly everyone wants to show their partner that they care. Yet, many people struggle to do it in a way that speaks to their loved one’s heart. If you find that this describes your situation, you may want to learn more about the five love languages, developed by author, pastor, and counselor Dr. Gary Chapman.

What Are the Five Love Languages?

Although Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages,” was originally written in 1992, it continues to help couples today, selling more than 12 million copies since it was first published.

Before writing the book, Dr. Chapman spent years taking notes with couples he was counseling when he recognized a pattern. He realized that couples were misunderstanding one another and their needs. After going through his notes, he discovered that there are five “love languages” that people may respond to.

Chapman’s five love languages are:

Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation 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.

Quality Time

For those who identify with quality time as their love language, love and affection are expressed through undivided attention. This means putting down the cell phone, turning off the tablet, making eye contact, and actively listening. Make sure that you make eye contact, affirm what they’re saying, and refrain from offering advice.

People with this love language are looking for quality over quantity. They feel loved if you are present and focused on them when you are together.

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 holds their hand, touches their arm, or gives them a massage at the end of the day, for example.

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 partner physically.

Acts of Service

For acts of service, a person feels loved and appreciated when someone does nice things for them, such as helping with the dishes, running errands, vacuuming, or putting gas in the car. They love when people do little things for them and often can be found doing these acts of service for others.

Receiving Gifts

Gift-giving is symbolic of love and affection for someone with this love language. They treasure not only the gift itself but also the time and effort the gift-giver put into it.

They also do not necessarily expect large or expensive gifts; it’s 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 tells them you really know them.

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.

Identify Your Love Language

If or when you’re in a relationship, do you feel more loved when your partner:

  • Tells you “I love you” or praises something you did?
  • Surprises you with a meaningful gift?
  • Goes on a weekend trip with just the two of you?
  • Runs the errands or does the laundry?
  • Holds your hand while you’re walking?

Answering these questions could give you a hint as to what your love language might be. According to Chapman’s book, you could also try to recall what sorts of things you ask for in your relationship or consider how you express love to your partner.

It’s unlikely your partner’s love language is the same as yours. When couples have different primary languages, there are bound to be misunderstandings. However, if your partner learns to speak your love language, they often feel loved and appreciated and ultimately happier in the relationship.

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