This being Valentine’s Day, and me not being a fan of commercial holidays, I thought I’d write about something that really changed the way I understand love.
Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages is a book that teaches about the five different ways love can be both expressed and received. The basic premise is that we all have one of five different “languages” that we either use or interpret to mean, “I love you.” In other words, people understand the signs of love differently. What makes me feel loved may not make you feel loved, and vice versa.
Let’s take a look at the 5 different languages.
1. Words of Affirmation
This language speaks love with positive words. People whose love language is Words of Affirmation need compliments, encouragement, reinforcement, attention, and verbal acknowledgement in order to feel loved.
2. Quality Time
Sharing focused together time to discuss experiences, thoughts, self-revelation, feelings, and desires is the language of someone who feels love with Quality Time. It’s not just about being in the same room, it’s about being someone’s centre of attention.
3. Receiving Gifts
The love language of Receiving Gifts is about receiving a physical or visual symbol of love. It doesn’t have to be expensive because it isn’t about money spent – it’s about the thoughtful surprise, the personal keepsake, the investment in the relationship. For people who speak this love language, a gift is a tangible representation of love.
4. Acts of Service
Acts of service shows love by doing – doing the dishes, the laundry, the yard work, the taxes. People who feel loved with Acts of Service are not looking for a servant, but someone who wants to help them out of love, not obligation.
5. Physical Touch
This love language speaks love with physical contact. Love is understood when being held or touched according to each individual’s comforts and desires. Not everyone likes a backrub – find out what type of physical touch is right for someone with this love language.
The great part about knowing how to interpret love languages is that it allows you to understand how you need love to be expressed to you, and it teaches you how your partner needs to be shown love. It can change the way you speak “love” to each other.
If you’re interested in learning more about this approach to showing and feeling love, you can do a quick quiz here to learn what your love language is, and the 5 languages are explained in further detail here.
Can you identify your own love language? If it is different from your partner’s language, can you see what misunderstandings might arise between you?