The 5 Love Languages

We all want to feel appreciated and wanted. We all want to feel understood and cared for.

We all want to feel loved.

Whether you're single, dating or married, the thought of loving and being loved is what life is all about.

Last weekend, during a girls brunch, the book, The 5 Languages of Love by Dr. Gary Chapman, was brought up. I'd never heard of it before. One of my friends starting explaining the concept behind it and suddenly it cliqued. It made perfect sense!

We all love differently, therefore, the way we want to be loved is different. It doesn't necessarily fit into the "one size fits all" box.

That theory is behind New York Times Best Seller's The 5 Languages of Love book.

Unhappiness in a relationship often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages, believes Dr. Gary Chapman.

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While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, he identified five love languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch.

In a friendly, often humorous style, he unpacks each one. Some men or women may crave focused attention; another needs regular praise. Gifts are highly important to one person, while another sees fixing a leaky faucet, ironing a shirt, or cooking a meal as filling their "love tank." Some partners might find physical touch makes them feel valued: holding hands, giving back rubs, and sexual contact. Chapman illustrates each love language with real-life examples from his counseling practice.

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How do you discover your partner’s – and your own – love language?

Chapman’s short questionnaires are one of several ways to find out. Take the quiz here.

Once you have established which love language holds higher importance in both yours and your partner's life, it's time to learn how to speak it.

Learning how to speak it is just as important as identifying it. 

If you're not showing the correct type of love your significant other needs, then your efforts won't be appreciated as expected.

For example, you buy your spouse gifts or clean around the house, thinking you're showing them how much you care, but in reality, you won't be fulfilling their needs if their most important love language is Touch.

Why?

Because what they truly desire is to be touched. A hug, a kiss, an embrace, etc. That's what they need the most in order to feel loved.

What you want might not be what the other person wants.

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Love Language: Words of Affirmation

  • How to communicate: Encourage, affirm, appreciate, empathize.
  • Actions to take: Send an unexpected note, text, or card. Encourage genuinely and often.
  • Avoid: Non-constructive criticism, not recognizing or appreciating effort.

Love Language: Physical Touch

  • How to communicate: Non-verbal – use body language and touch to emphasize love.
  • Actions to take: Hug, kiss, hold hands, show physical affection regularly. Make intimacy a thoughtful priority.
  • Avoid: Physical neglect, long stints without intimacy, receiving affection coldly.

Love Language: Receiving Gifts

  • How to communicate: Thoughtfulness, make your spouse a priority, speak purposefully.
  • Actions to take: Give gestures and gifts thoughtfully, with and without special occasion. Even small things matter in a big way. Express gratitude when you’re given a gift.
  • Avoid: Forgetting special occasions.

Love Language: Quality Time

  • How to communicate: Uninterrupted and focused conversations. One-on-one time is critical.
  • Actions to take: Create special moments together, take walks and do small things with your spouse. Weekend getaways are huge.
  • Avoid: Distractions when spending time together, long stints without focused one-on-one time.

Love Language: Acts of Service

  • How to communicate: Use action phrases like “I will” and “I’ll help…”. They want to know you’re with them, partnered with them.
  • Actions to take: Do chores together or make them breakfast in bed. Go out of your way to help alleviate their daily workload.
  • Avoid: Making the requests of others a higher priority, lacking follow-through on tasks

I took the quiz and my love language is: Words of Affirmation.

I'm the type of person that likes to be praised. I like hearing and seeing it. Growing up, my parents would constantly give me words of encouragement and instill in me that I am beautiful, smart, and capable of doing anything I set my mind to.

No matter how big or small my accomplishment was, it was always celebrated. Naturally, Words of Affirmation is my most important love language- and one that I hope to receive someday from my future husband.

To purchase the book, click here.

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For more information about the 5 Love Languages, watch the interview below with Dr. Gary Chapman and Oprah.


Posted on February 11, 2015 and filed under Mind & Body.