You need to Know the Five Love Languages in a Relationship
If you’ve ever felt as though your partner doesn’t understand what you’re saying – even when you’re speaking very clearly, or just wished you could read their mind during a fight – you’re not alone. If you’ve been together a while, chances are there have been times where you’ve noticed your communication styles are different (especially in an argument), but for most couples, it’s not just your use of language which differs, but your love languages too.
Just as we communicate our feelings differently through words, we give and receive love differently. Understanding those differences can seriously help your relationship. Our “Love Language” is how we express, and accept, love.
Have you noticed that you feel more appreciated when your partner brings you a gift, or better still when they turn off their phone and give you undivided attention, or does your heart just melt when they put their arm around you in public?
Just as ‘opposites attract’, it’s actually very likely that you have a different love language to your partner, so knowing each other’s love language, and learning what makes each other fulfilled is integral to staying in love.
Dr Gary Chapman’s “ 5 Love Languages” –
The concept of love languages is in reference to the book “The 5 Love Languages” written by relationship counsellor Dr Gary Chapman. Its premise is that individuals show their love differently, and conflict will arise if you do not understand what language your partner speaks.
“Between busy schedules and long days, expressing love can fall by the wayside. We forget to compliment, to give gifts “just because,” to linger in our embrace. The things that say “I love you” seem to either not get said or not get through. This is a book about saying it —and hearing it—clearly. No gimmicks. No psychoanalyzing. Just learning to express love in your spouse’s language.
With over 11 million books sold, The 5 Love Languages has transformed countless relationships. Its ideas are simple and conveyed with clarity and humor, making this book practical as it is personable. You’ll be inspired by real-life stories and encouraged by its commonsense approach. reading this book feels like taking a walk with a wise friend. Applying it will forever change your relationship—starting today.”
Having taken the quiz and reading about my preferred language, I can see how it can give both individuals and couples a level of awareness that may be useful in his or her relationships. Unfortunately, Dr Chapman also appears to have very outdated ideas on marriage, sexuality, gender roles and what makes a happy partnership. Though I do not condone those ideas, Putting aside Dr Chapman’s views (which I personally do not agree with), I do agree that understanding your love language is a relationship game-changer.
If you’ve used either of our two couples’ journals ‘our love story‘ and ‘I still do‘ you may have already worked out from your prompted conversations, which love language both of you best respond to, and how you can make each other feel valued and appreciated.
What are the The Five Love Languages?
1. Words of affirmation – this language uses words to affirm others. ‘You look beautiful today’ or ‘I really appreciated it when you did X,Y,Z’
2. Acts of service – actions are used to communicate love. Think ‘actions speak louder than words’.
3. Receiving gifts – For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift. Gifting is symbolic of love and affection.
4. Quality time – This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention. If you are with a person who speaks this love language, its time to turn off the phone, shut down the computer and give your partner your full attention with no distractions!
5. Physical touch – To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than touch – not just sex and intimacy, but holding hands and embracing. This person feels affection through physical touch
Our Love Languages – and how they Impact Our Relationship
- Blair and I undertook the test, and despite having been together for almost 15 years, I was still surprised by the results.
- Most of us have one or two that are much more important to us than the others – for me, the big one was ‘Acts of Service’. I don’t like (or need) to be touched, nor do gifts swing me, but if Blair is willing to help me, that’s when I feel most loved.
- While he knows I need his help (all the time!) until now, he didn’t actually realise that this was my “love language”. He helps me wrap and send the journals every day though, so safe to say I’m getting a lot of love!
- Blair, on the other hand, responds to words of affirmation and quality time (I was surprised that gifting wasn’t his love language!). If “words of affirmation” is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—and hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
- In terms of quality time, this is where I can really improve the “language” I use – really being there, without my phone, and with chores and tasks on standby, makes him feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
How This Concept Can Change Your Relationship
Learning about love languages is an effective way to understand differences and strengthen a relationship. When you realise what your partner does and doesn’t care about, you can empathise better. Take the quiz with your partner and pay attention to his or her order of preferred language.What makes him or her feel most loved or appreciated?
Is it whenyou compliment them on their outfit (affirmation)? Is it when you are fully present and engaged in whatever activity you two are doing together (quality time)? When you surprise them with a present (receiving gifts), do the dishes for them (acts of service), or when they spontaneously give you a kiss (physical touch)?
Understanding your love language promotes self awareness and communication – when do you feel loved and appreciated the most? Has your partner previously done things that you may now realise that was them showing their love to you but in a different language?
Your Love Language in Everyday Life
Understanding your personal love language, and theirs will enable you to to become more aware of how and when your partner feels the most appreciated or unappreciated (perhaps later helping you understand how they are feeling in a future disagreement). Even if you’re not in a romantic relationship, knowing love languages can help in many different types of relationships aside from romantic ones.
Understanding your love language can also help you in other areas of your life – the concept of love languages transcends to all relationships in your life including professional relationships, friendship and family. It is unsurprising that with everyones differences and diverse backgrounds people will inevitably communicate in different ways.Your love language may be different for each relationship, but it is a useful tool to see what is important to the people around you so you can empathise and understand them more.
The important thing with understanding your love languages is to be thoughtful and celebrate each other’s differences and desires. It is such a great way to learn what your loved-one wants, and how both of you can help improve your connectedness.
Have you taken the quiz? Was your love language different to what you expected? Is this going to help you communicate to your partner how they can help you in wedding planning, for instance. Once you know your love languages, using one of our couple’s journals is a great way to continue to openly communicate and discuss what you can do for each other to strengthen your relationship and ensure each other feels loved. See some of the questions from our ‘I still do’ wedding anniversary‘ and ‘our love story’ couples journals below to inspire you.