Did you know you have a love language? Your love language is what is meaningful to you to feel appreciated by your significant other. Everyone shows and receives love differently. In his well-known book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts, author, Dr. Gary Chapman, explains the 5 different love languages and how you can understand how to love other people.
Communicating affection–both giving and receiving
We all communicate our love differently. It’s easy to assume the way we show love to others is as meaningful to them as it is to us. But many relationships go south due to a misunderstanding of a how your partner prefers to give and receive affection.
Everyone has one major love language. It’s the things that others do that make you feel special. Many people have a couple of secondary preferences that aren’t as strong as the primary one. Nevertheless, they are still important.
What are the five love languages?
Here is a brief list of the five love languages Dr. Gary Chapman suggests to help you better understand yourself and your partner.
|Love language||Meaning||Positive communication||Negative|
|Affirmation||Encouraging words, caring words||“You look beautiful. I appreciate your efforts.”||Not interested, being distracted. Assume you know they love you, without telling you.|
|Time with them||Want attention, time together||Spend time with you, join activities with you.||Doesn’t plan dates, disinterested in the things you like to do.|
|Gifts||Big or small gifts are meaningful.||Little gifts of coffee, muffins. Love notes left in your car.||Gifts that were not planned. No time put into what you like.|
|Serving||Doing chores, helping around the house, running errands.||See you need help and initiate it. Run errands without being asked.||They ignore that you need help. If you ask them to help, they forget.|
|Touch||Loves kissing, cuddling, hugging. Romance is important.||You like holding hands, rubbing backs, and cuddling on the sofa.||Don’t seem interested or motivated to kiss or cuddle that much.|
The five love languages in detail
Each of the five love languages has specific details explaining what they are and what they mean. You need to understand your love language and your partner’s love language. Let’s take a detailed look at each of the five love languages.
Affirmation is defined as emotional support and encouragement. It’s love expressed with words that build up or encourage. Affirmation communicates love with phrases like
- “Your hair looks great today.”
- “You always make me feel happy.”
- “I’m lucky to have you in my life.”
- “I’m proud of you!”
- “I love being with you.”
If this is your partner’s love language, be sure to compliment them, encourage them, and be specific with your affirmation. They don’t appreciate sarcasm or wicked humor. Watch your words. Saying hurtful things even if you’re joking goes deep for these folks. They feel it more than others.
Important to know: Your affirmation must be genuine. Folks who need this affirmation care deeply about the emotions behind the words. If you say empty sounding words, they will feel like you don’t really mean what you’re saying.
Spending time with them
This special someone is all about spending time together. If this is your partner’s love language, they will want your undivided attention. They will love it when you hang with you to watch their favorite television or go shopping with them. Plus, they want you to turn off your phone, to look them in the eye and talk with them and listen to them. They will feel like you don’t care if you always cancel your times together or if you forget. Quality time for them isn’t out at a restaurant with a group of friends. It’s attention and focus and being there. Here are three things you can do to spend quality time with your partner, whose love language is time. Your time with them should be.
- Deliberate-This means effort and planning time with them. It’s their special time with you.
- Focus-Be focused on them only. Look at them, talk with them in an undistracted way. Ask them questions. Listen with your complete attention.
- Loving-Be affection and loving. Show them you love them.
Those who have this as their love language enjoy small gifts. The gifts don’t need to be expensive or luxurious. They love little surprise notes, flowers, or food gifts. They will be sentimental and keep your gifts for years. Knowing you care enough to take the time to give them something is extremely meaningful and makes them feel loved. Here are some suggestions for gifts you can give your better half.
- Pick up a coffee for them
- Order the book they want to read
- Hand lotions
- A funny card
- Write a sweet note on the bathroom mirror
Someone who prefers serving feels that actions are a lot louder than your words. Expressions of doing means the most because they take your time and your energy. If the service is done grudgingly or with complaining, the person feels unloved. Acts of affection done spontaneously mean the most to those who speak this love language. Doing things for them to ease their burden means a lot.
- Doing the dishes
- Taking care of the baby in the middle of the night
- Spontaneously vacuuming the living room
- Cooking dinner or ordering out, so they don’t need to cook
- Taking the kids out for a walk to give them a break
Like the other love languages, acts of service don’t need to be extravagant to be meaningful. It’s the little things that are meaningful to them.
Physical touch is the love language of many people. This doesn’t mean that you are interested in extreme PDA, but you want to feel connected to your partner by kissing, hand holding, or hugging. The physical touch love language isn’t necessarily about sex, or even showing you’re interested in sex at the moment. It’s more about feeling close. Examples of physical touch love language look like these:
- Holding hands while you’re at a restaurant
- Putting your head on their shoulder
- Sitting close on the sofa
- Giving a back rub
- Running your hair through their hair
Of course, physical touch is important in all romantic relationships. But some people feel most loved by touching.
How to communicate your love language
Many couples are together for years without understanding the love language of one another. It’s important to communicate your love language to your partner and to figure out their love language. Watch closely how your partner expresses their love to you. Do they touch a lot or bring home little gifts all the time? Good chance, that’s their preferred style.
Growing up, your parents probably showed their love for you by taking care of you, physical affection, and affirmation. They may have showered you with gifts all the time. You often pick up your parents’ love language and express affection in this way. But once you’re in a relationship, you may find out that your partner doesn’t express or seem interested in communicating love in this way. This is what causes the disconnect for couples who aren’t aware of one another’s love language. Here’s a quick test to figure out what you and your partner’s love language might be.
- What do they (you) complain about the most in your relationship?
- How do they (you) express love to others?
- What do they (you) request most often from your partner?
These are great indicators of which love language matters most to you or your partner.
Final Thoughts on Growing Closer to Your Partner by Understanding the Five Love Languages
Everyone communicates love differently. These sweet expressions are meaningful ways in which you receive and show your affection for each other. The five love languages are affirmation, gifts, serving, spending time, and physical touch. Your love language expresses how you personally like your partner’s adoration to be communicated and shown to you. Once you and your partner understand one another’s love language, your relationship can flourish and grow.