The concept of love languages was developed by Gary Chapman, in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. He’s a pastor and a relationship counsellor who has worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of couples over the years.
In his book he says that “The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse”
The five love languages represent different ways of expressing and receiving love. Not everyone communicates love in the same way. Likewise, people prefer to receive love in different ways.
The love languages describe how we feel loved and appreciated in a relationship - depending on our individual personality types. Being aware of the different ways of showing love can make a massive difference to the success of your relationship. You’ll be better able to understand your partner’s needs and expectations.
Although we can all probably relate to each of the 5 love languages, you’ll have a primary one that you relate to more.
Knowing yours and your partner’s love language, and speaking that language regularly, can improve your relationship. It allows you to communicate your needs more clearly to your partner and to understand why you might be feeling unloved and unappreciated.
So, what are the 5 Love Languages?
Words are really important if your partner has this love language and regularly telling them “I love you” or paying them compliments such as “You looked great tonight” or saying “thanks for the coffee” will all make them feel loved.
Praising them for who they are and what they do and telling them what you appreciate about them will all go a long way to making sure they feel loved by you.
On the other hand, negative or insulting comments can hurt them more and take them longer to forgive then people who don’t have this love language
This love language is all about giving your partner your undivided attention ie no smart phones, tv or other distractions. Your partner wants to be the centre of your attention – not all the time, but during your quality time together.
For someone who has this love language, not being listened to, not being present, not spending time together (doesn’t include watching tv together) or lack of support can be really hurtful and damaging to the relationship. It can feel like you’re more interested in other things than them.
Try and engage in activities like going for a walk together or going out to dinner together and having a meaningful conversation with no distractions.
This love language isn’t necessarily materialistic, it can actually be sentimental things that are appreciated more. Giving your partner a thoughtful or meaningful gift like a handwritten card makes them feel loved and appreciated. Simple, unexpected gifts can make a huge difference.
Missing things like anniversaries or birthdays can be particularly hurtful for people with this love language. A well thought out gift also means a lot more than something you’ve just thrown money at with no thought.
You would show this love language by doing things you know your partner would like and appreciate such as cooking the evening meal or doing the ironing.
It’s important that you know what activities your partner values you doing for them- otherwise this can still cause issues. It could mean that you do something for them that they don’t appreciate and therefore doesn’t make them feel loved.
The actions need to be done with the intention of making your partner happy though and not out of obligation. They need to be done with a positive intention.
If your partner has this as their love language, they will feel unloved without physical contact. It wouldn’t matter how many gifts and kind word you gave them - they wouldn’t feel loved without the touch. It doesn’t necessarily mean PDAs, but they want to feel you close by eg holding hands.
I’d highly recommend reading the book, whether you’re recovering from a breakup or in a happy relationship. Even if you’re single you can still learn how you need to be shown love and appreciation which will be invaluable for any future relationships.
The first time I read the book, I discovered that although I sometimes show my love through gifts, it’s not my partner’s love language which means we both end up disappointed. You need to show your love in your partner’s love language – not in the way you necessarily like to give it.
You can take a quiz here to discover what your love language is:
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