If you’ve never heard of the term love languages, I assure you it’s not pointless or as difficult to understand as one might think (it’s what I initially thought, don’t worry). In fact, it’s rather straight forward; you probably already know what your love language is without being aware- however, developing an understanding of them will definitely create current or future healthy, and happy relationships. The term love languages came to popularity after being published in the book The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, in which he discussed how we need to use these love languages to really understand what it is our partners want from us.
Chapman discusses how we should observe the ways in which our partners show love to others, because people tend to give love in the ways that they want to receive love. Simply put, a love language is the way in which one shows affection towards others, and this can be applied to more than just romantic relationships. Many people feel as though they aren’t being given love in the way that they need it- when sometimes this is just a cause of two people who have two different love languages and aren’t communicating the way that they want to receive affection. Of course, it’s not really a topic of conversation that arises naturally, but I’m here to help you learn how to identify someones love language so you’re able to support them in the ways that they desire.
The main love languages identified by Chapman are…
Acts of Service
Demonstrating love through actions- whether that be holding a door open for someone, washing dishes, or bringing home their favourite dessert that they’ve been craving all week. These people believe actions speak louder than words, and appreciate when others do the same for them. (100 acts of service ideas)
Spending time with people, whether that be eating out, going on adventures or staying home and doing absolutely nothing- it’s all about being near the person/s that you care about (without the distractions of a mobile phone or tv). Think togetherness rather than proximity. (Understanding quality time as a love language)
This is often mistaken to be just about sex, when it can really be as simple as hand holding, kissing good morning and goodnight, or touches on the arm- which all reinforces the idea of love, security and emotional closeness. People who value the love language of physical touch, seek to connect with the ‘in love’ emotions that were probably more prevalent when you first started dating. (Speaking love through physical touch)
Words of Affirmation
Sometimes, all someone needs is the reminder that you love them, that you support them and that you’re cheering them on. People who value words of affirmation as their love language can see you show your love for them a million times, but will hold on to the time that you raved on about how amazing you think they are. Spoken affection, praise and appreciation (Speaking to a partner who’s love language is words of affirmation)
This is not so much about materialism, but about physical reminders of love and appreciation in the form of spontaneous ‘I was thinking about you’ flowers. Gift-giving is symbolic of listening, and having someone on your mind whilst you aren’t with them. The love language of gift-giving doesn’t require you to empty your bank account, trying to impress the love of your life; think smaller, like their go-to coffee order or their favourite chocolate bar. (How to love your gift-loving partner)
It’s much easier to identify what our own love languages are than to notice them in others; you may even have more than one love language. Start working out what you and your partner value in relationships (in general), what do they love about partnerships and which parts don’t they typically like? What makes you (and them) feel appreciated and cherished in relationships? Your answers to the following will likely fit into one, or maybe even more, of the love languages. Of course it’s not the relationship bible, but it’s definitely a place to start in order to understand your partner, and maybe even yourself a bit better.
If you’re still unsure of which love language/s you prefer, try out this test to find out!