Updated: Apr 16
5 Love Languages is a tool developed by Gary Chapman, in his book 5 Love Languages - The Secret to Love That Lasts, which explored the way couples communicate, express & receive love. It is a simple tool to understand how you express your love to your partner & how you wish to receive the love from him/her. Often we express Love to our Partner in a way we wish to receive from them. For example, if you express your love by making a special meal for your partner, but your partner prefers to hear "I love you" instead, then he/she may not feel very enthusiastic about your effort of making a special meal. With their lack of enthusiasm you might feel miffed & this creates a communication gap & misunderstanding between both of you. This is where understanding each other's & our own Love languages can be helpful. Here are the 5 Languages as follows:
1. Words of Affirmations
If you are someone who loves to hear words of love, appreciation, encouragement & care, then your love language is words of affirmations. If your partner prefers this language, then communicating with Positivity, bringing out the best in your partner by seeing the good in them, if required only giving constructive criticism & avoiding destructive criticism, this shall make them feel really loved and can enhance the quality of your communication. For people with this love language, words matter the most!
2. Quality Time
People with this love language, value spending one on one quality time together. For them, it is really important to have focussed quality time without any distraction. If you or your partner have this love language, you can plan date nights together every few days. You can have uninterrupted conversation for a fixed time everyday, or set a routine of having dinner, breakfast or lunch together. Else you can plan working out together or going for a jog or run. Make sure to keep your phones away during this special time. The goal here is to make your partner a priority during the time you are together. Give undivided attention to them & listen intently!
3. Acts of Service
For many people "Actions Speak Louder than Words" quite literally. Here, acts of service like household chores, picking laundry or groceries, helping out in meal prepping, taking care of kids or any activity which gives them a feel of being taken care of can make them feel really Loved! If you are someone who gives a lot of affirmations but is lacking in acts of service & your partner's love language is service, then they might see you as someone who only speaks & does not back it up with actions, even if you were genuine with your words of encouragement. Hence a thoughtful gesture for them might speak volumes!
People with gifts as their love language, value receiving gifts as a sign of your love for them. It does not mean a materialistic thing but what they are valuing is your thought behind buying or making a gift for them. It's the emotional touch behind the gift that matters to them. So, if your partner has a gift language, gifting them can be a thoughtful gesture which can strengthen your communication!
5. Physical Touch
As straight forward as it sounds, people with Physical Touch as their Love Langauge, value receiving & expressing Love with physical gestures like touching, kissing, hugging, sex & cuddling. They feel emotionally connected when they receive & give love this way. Lack of it can be emotionally devastating for them. Thus, using body Language & expressing your Love to your partner through physical gestures can make them feel really understood & Loved.
We all have a mix of all the love languages but tend to lean towards one or two more compared to others. You can check your & your partner's love language by taking a quiz here.
Many people mistakenly use these tools to make their partner forcefully do things that they want them to do but that would be a demand based relationship, not a love based one. First, try to understand your partners' love language & try to express your love for him/her in a way they understand. Gradually make them understand your love language. By no means these styles are a guarantee that your relationship will be a success. There are some criticism also regarding these tools as some say they have become outdated. But Relationship experts feel these tools are still applicable but should not be used as the end all solution for every problem in your relationship. These languages should be adaptive as per requirement of the moment. Sometimes a person needs words of affirmation, sometimes physical touch, sometimes gifts and so on. Learning to recognise the ques & knowing what your partner likes predominantly can help you maintain harmony. All relationships are work in progress which require constant investment & work. But these love languages are definitely tools that can strengthen your communication & help you understand each other better. Comment below & share what is your love language. How do you strengthen communication in your relationships? Share your wisdom below.
Image source: mindbodygreen.com
Recommended Reading - Buy the Book