THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES
HOW DO YOU GIVE & RECEIVE LOVE?
The book that sparked the new way of thinking about love, "The 5 Love Languages", by Dr. Gary Chapman, was written in 1992. Since then, the book sold over 12 million copies and quickly became a standard in the field of relationship coaching, counseling, self-help and education.
It outlines five ways to express and experience love between romantic partners that Chapman calls "love languages." As per Chapman, each person has one primary and one secondary love language. It’s very much about knowing what it takes for a person to feel loved. So, what exactly are they and what do they mean?
According to Chapman, the five ways to express and experience love called "love languages" are:
- words of affirmation
- acts of service
- receiving gifts
- quality time
- and physical touch
After many years of counseling couples in crisis, Chapman says, “It became apparent to me that what makes one person feel loved isn’t always the same for their spouse or partner,” he explains. “I discovered every person understands and receives love in a specific language".
Chapman also says, that "taking the time to learn and really understand your partner’s primary love language, which is often different from your own, can improve communication and strengthen your bond". The key is to discover, which love language you and your partner respond to the most, then regularly putting that into practice.
Depending on our individual personality types, we may feel loved differently than how our partners do. Understanding and decoding these different ways of showing love will help take the guesswork out of your partner’s expectations and needs.
Chapman suggests that to discover another person's love language, one must observe the way they express love to others, and analyze what they complain about most often and what they request from their significant other most often. He theorizes that people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love. And better communication between couples can be accomplished when one can demonstrate caring to the other person in the love language the recipient understands.
And a side note...the most sexual problems in relationships and marriages have little to do with a physical technique, but everything to do with meeting emotional needs. And can emotional love be reborn in a relationships/marriage? You bet. The key is to learn the primary love language of your spouse and choose to speak it.
Words of Affirmations
This love language expresses love with words that build you up. Verbal compliments don’t have to be complicated; the shortest and simplest praises can be the most effective.
Words mean a lot if you or your partner have this love language. Compliments and an “I love you” can go a long way. On the other hand, negative or insulting comments can hurt your partner and it could take them longer to forgive than others.
This love language is all about undivided attention. Engaging in an activity together, particularly one you both enjoy. If this is your love language, having a distracted or distant partner that makes you feel unseen or unheard is a bit of a pitfall.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t curl up on the couch to watch Netflix or HBO; it just means that you need to make sure to dedicate time together without all of the distractions. That will help them feel comforted in the relationship.
This love language isn’t necessarily materialistic. It just means that a meaningful or thoughtful gift makes your partner feel loved and appreciated. Something as simple as picking up their favorite ice cream after a long work week can make a huge impact.
Tangible and intangible items that make you feel appreciated or noticed. Going to your partner's concert, for example, is as much of a gift as flowers or that new wine decanter you want.
Acts of Service
Your partner might have this love language if their motto is “Actions speak louder than words.”
This love language expresses itself by doing things that you know your spouse would like. Things that require some thought, time, and effort.
All of these things should be done with positivity and with your partner’s ultimate happiness in mind to be considered an expression of love. Actions out of obligation or with a negative tone are something else entirely.
To people with this love language, nothing is more impactful than the physical touch of their partner. They do feel more connected and safe in a relationship by holding hands, kissing, hugging, etc.
If Physical Touch is your partner’s primary love language, they will feel unloved without physical contact. All of the words and gifts in the world won’t change that. They want to feel you close by, not just emotionally, but physically.