If you’ve ever had the thought “I wish my partner understood me better,” maybe learning what your “love language” is could help you have a better relationship. The theory behind love languages is that there are five distinct ways of expressing and receiving love from someone, and that each of us prefers one of the languages in particular. It’s an idea that was created by author and pastor Gary Chapman. His first book on the theory was published in the nineties and has sold over 11 million copies to date. Here are the five love languages:
Are you the kind of person who calls themselves a “hugger”? You love ending a long day by sitting next to your partner with your arms around one another. And nothing feels worse than not being able to have that close, physical contact with people you care about. If physical touch is of great importance to you in demonstrating your affection, this is probably your love language. On the other hand, there are many people who don’t really enjoy this type of affection. If you have a partner who doesn’t go out of his or her way to touch you, it doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t love you. It just means they have a different love language. (For the record, this is my love language.)
A lot of people might see this category and think “well, who doesn’t like receiving gifts?” Having this as a love language is a little different, though. If you are part of this category, you probably feel most loved when your partner gives you things. They don’t have to be extravagant gifts either. Small tokens of affection like flowers or meaningful trinkets qualify for this language. If your partner doesn’t have this as a love language, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to buy him or her gifts. All of these languages are great ways to show someone how you feel about them. It’s just that we all have our preferences. My preferences are loose-leaf tea and honey, if anyone is asking!
This is another language that is important in any relationship. But if it’s your main love language, it’s only that much more important to you. “Quality” is the key word in this phrase – you want your partner’s full attention when you two spend time together. Our modern digital world has made it even more difficult for people in this group to have their needs fulfilled. If your partner’s love language is quality time, be sure to honor that by being fully present when you are with him or her.
Words of affirmation
If you’re the kind of person who needs to regularly hear the words “I love you,” this is probably your love language. You might also enjoy texting your significant other just to say you’re thinking about him or her. Compliments can also be included here, as well. On the other side, it’s not just the absence of affirming words and phrases that might make you or your partner upset, but if one of you is prone to speaking in a negative or hurtful way it can really wreak havoc on your relationship.
Acts of service
This means doing something for someone to express your love. Maybe you do the dishes because you know how much your partner hates it. You make your husband’s coffee for him in the morning, just to be nice. You rub your girlfriend’s shoulders when she’s feeling stressed. Doing kind things for your loved ones is how you best communicate your feelings. If your partner has this as his or her love language, make sure you find ways to demonstrate your love in a way he or she would appreciate.k
Even if you gravitate towards one particular love language, these are all important ways of showing people that you love them. Figure out what your language is, and your significant other’s – maybe even the love languages of other important people in your life – and use them as a way to strengthen your bond.