Psychology Blog: The Five Love Languages

Have you ever felt that you and your partner express and receive love in entirely different ways? Do you ever find yourself not knowing how to meet their emotional needs? If so, you most likely speak different love languages.

Love Language is a concept coined and interpreted by renowned marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman. In his best-selling book, he identifies five love languages that describe how individuals experience love.

                                                         The Five Love Languages

Acts of Service-This person feels most cared for when their loved one goes out of their way to do thoughtful, task-oriented things without being asked. Acts of Service may include running errands, helping out around the house, cooking romantic dinners, anticipating ways to make life easier for your significant other, etc.

Physical Touch-This person experiences the feeling of love by being physically close to their partner. They interpret hand-holding, kissing, cuddling, massage, and making love as displays of meaningful emotional connectedness. Those who value Physical Touch as their top-ranked love language may feel distant from their partner without it.

Words of Affirmation-This love language includes verbal expressions of love, respect, and appreciation. Compliments and other encouraging language are vastly important to this receiver. Conversely, critical, and harsh comments may deeply injure someone who strongly identifies with Words of Affirmation.

Quality Time-This involves not only being physically present with your partner but also giving them meaningful attention. Positive eye contact, active listening, and engagement in conversation can accomplish this. Of course, individuals who cherish Quality Time can feel hurt or rejected if their partner is unavailable or seemingly disinterested.

Gifts-This is a tangible expression of love that shows your partner that you are thinking of them. Typically, the monetary value of the gift is not as significant as the gesture.

                                                             Your Partner’s Love Language

Knowing your partner’s love language is essential. Showing them love the way that they experience it most increases connectedness and intimacy. It creates a strong, healthy bond that communicates that you understand their needs.

On the other hand, awareness of your partner’s love language may prevent distance, conflict, and confusion. Here is an example of a person’s misguided understanding of their partner’s love language:

“I don’t get it! She doesn’t appreciate the things I do for her. Even though I picked up the kids from school and bathed the dog, she continues to question my feelings for her. I might as well stop going out of my way to try to please her.”

This individual is experiencing frustration because they are assuming that their Acts of Service are a clear indication of their love. However, what their partner may need is more Physical Touch in the relationship.

So, how do you discover your partners love language? First, you can observe how they show you love, as this is a reliable indicator of how they wish to receive love. Next, pay close attention to what they ask you to do more of and less of. Finally, ask your partner or recommend taking the love language assessment together to increase shared intimacy.