Understanding the 5 Love Languages
How to Love Better
Humans' greatest desire in life is to be loved. It makes everything tick, and it's honestly the focus of so much of our lives. We're almost programmed to want to cohabitate, even from an early age. With that said, I wanted to dive into this because I have been studying love languages since my college psych classes because this is a fundamental element of relationships. Gary Chapman wrote The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. To put it simply, the book outlines five general ways that romantic partners express and experience love, which he then began calling "love languages".
What are the five love languages?
Words of affirmation // Words of affirmation are words that communicate your love, appreciation, and respect for another person. They're positive words and phrases used to uplift someone. What's more, these compliments and words of encouragement don't have to be said directly to the person.Dec 19, 2021
Quality time // Quality time is one of the five love languages, and it refers to showing love and affection by spending dedicated time together. For people whose love language is quality time, "nothing says 'I love you' like full, undivided attention from those you love," (Gary Chapman, mindbodygreen).
Receiving gifts // If your top love language is Receiving Gifts, that means you feel love from all of those small presents that your partner gets you! Now, many people may assume receiving gifts is materialistic and all about the items, but that isn't necessarily true (crated with love).
Acts of service // In terms of intimate relationships, Acts of Service is a language that can best be described as doing something for your partner that you know they would like, such as filling up their gas, watering their plants, or cooking them a meal. When you give Acts of Service, you give up your time (Very Well Mind.)
Physical touch // If your love language is physical touch, then that means you prefer physical expressions of love over all over expressions (such as verbal compliments or gifts). This may seem self-explanatory, but there are both intimate and non-intimate touches that can and should be used to show your partner love (Very Well Mind.)
My primary love language(s): Acts of Service, Physical Touch
Aaron's primary love language(s): Words of affirmation, Quality Time
Understanding each other's love language is important. When I first met Aaron, I loved the idea of gifts, but over time I realized I'd rather just buy myself what I personally want than put pressure on someone else to get me things I could buy for myself. This goes to show that your love language can change over time, but I love when Aaron makes my cup of coffee in the morning. It warms my heart from the inside out. I know it's a strange thing if you're not an acts of service person, but it just really shows me he loves me. Alternatively for him, me being positive and kind and giving words of affirmation is important to him. He also loves quality time, and I find that one harder for me since I feel like we're always together so why would we need separate quality time, but I have learned that working in the same space doesn't mean we're spending real time together.
How to use love languages
After figuring out which love languages pertain to you and your partner, you can do a few things (per Gary's recommendations) to check in with yourself and your partner. Oftentimes we become complacent in a relationship because we're comfortable and things are good. You always want to be working on the relationship.
1. Ask each other once or twice a week if you're feeling loved. We generally don't do this often enough. When was the last time you asked your partner if they're feeling loved? When was the last time you got this question sent your way?
2. Try to do 1 specific thing to adhere to your partner's love language as often as you can. I would say once a week, but that's ambitious. You may not be able to have quality time (date night) every week. Life gets in the way, but make sure it does have some kind of consistency. On the flip side, make sure you also have your love tank filled.
3. Keep the communication open. This was not something discussed in detail in the book, but there's a lot of assumptions that you would have to communicate with your partner. Communicate your love language, your feelings, how your love tank is doing, and everything in between. While you don't need to explain every tidbit about your day, communication is key so make sure there's discussion happening on a regular basis.