Have you ever heard of Love Languages? It’s a concept developed by Dr Gary Chapman and explained in his bestselling book The 5 Love Languages, which gives light to the truth that not every person is the same, especially when it comes to love.
Why are love languages important? Because by knowing your love language and that of the people around you, especially your life partner, you have the opportunity to explain how you need to be loved, and to love others in a way they will truly feel and receive it.
Ever received a gift, and you loved it, but getting a gift itself didn't do anything for you? All you wanted was for that person to hang out with you at that coffee date last week. How about birthday cards? Do you get disappointed when it's a generic "best wishes" instead of something more meaningful? I know I do.
Let me tell you why.
There are five major love languages; physical touch; gifts; words of affirmation; acts of service; and quality time. It’s important to note that some people have two that are equally important, while others have one primary one and a secondary one. It’s also possible that just because you receive love one way (e.g. through physical touch) doesn’t mean you give or show it in the same way (you may show it through gift-giving). Think of it this way: everyone has a love tank that only takes one to two types of fuel; while other fuels might make the car go, it won’t go as far or for as long as it could if the right fuel went into the tank. But let’s get into the details of what the love languages are before we go much further.
If physical touch is your love language, this means you either receive or give love through physical contact with those you care about.
This can look different depending on who you’re with. With your life partner, this often means kissing, sex, holding hands, etc. but it doesn’t have to be sexual. Sometimes the touches that feel the most meaningful are the casual ones; a neck-rub; hugs; an arm around the waist or hand on their shoulder when chatting with friends. With a close friend or even an acquaintance, physical touch can mean hugs in greeting, a handshake, a high-five or a shoulder bump.
With gifts as a love language, you feel loved when receiving visual symbols of love. The monetary value may speak to you, but the thought and intent of the gift is what really makes it special. A meaningful gift, one that shows careful consideration of who you are and what would spark joy within you is what really makes gifts important to you. Simply put, it’s the thought that counts.
Words of affirmation
This love language is all about using words to show appreciation or affection. Verbal or written encouragement, affirmation, acknowledgement of affection, and compliments are what lift your spirit and make your heart light.
Depending on the person, a written word can hit more strongly because there’s purposeful intent behind it; it’s not a throwaway comment of “hey, you did great”, it’s a deeper statement of “I noticed you did this thing and I really appreciate your effort and work, so thank you”.
Acts of service
Acts of service simply means doing something on the other's behalf. In the context of a life partner, you value when they perform a task for you that makes your life easier; maybe it’s something that’s usually your responsibility like laundry; or maybe it’s something you needed to do, like run to the post office, but you haven’t had a chance and so your partner does it. This time, actions are speaking louder than words.
Hanging out means a lot of things these days (Netflix and chill, anyone?), but for those whose love language is quality time, Netflix might not always do it. Quality time is about actively spending time together developing emotional intimacy through conversation, active listening, eye contact and being fully present. If your partner is distracted by their phone or the TV that doesn’t fulfil your love tank the way you need it to.
Everyone has a love language, but it’s something that can change as we grow and go through life. Oftentimes our experiences, lack of one expression of love during our childhood or key moments in our lives, will help to shape what our love language is.
Even more important is knowing that the way someone feels love is often also the way they can be most hurt. For example, as some whose love language is words of affirmation, hearing and receiving negative words from your partner will impact more than their refusal to do the dishes that night. On the flip side, if you’re an acts of service person, refusing to do dishes or not helping out at home, in general, or during stressful periods, can be damaging to the relationship.
We all want to love our partners, friends and family well, so now, take the time to learn what their love languages are and love them well. Don’t forget to learn your own as well, so you better understand yourself, your needs, how other’s can take care of you, but how you can take care of yourself.
To find out what yours is by heading to https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/ and complete the quiz - the results might surprise you!
Until next time, keep making your special moments unforgettable x
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