The 5 Love Languages And What They Mean
Imagine you have not dated in years and you really don’t know much about men.
But you want to have a successful relationship, after all, dating is fun.
And you know that when you find your soulmate, it can be heavenly.
Or you simply are scared of having a failed relationship?
Then if this is you, you need to understand your partner’s love language(s).
Understanding your partner’s way of expressing love can be a game-changer when it comes to building a lasting relationship.
After studying people over the years, it has been discovered that everyone has at least one of 5 ways of expressing and showing love. These ways are called love languages and are basically classified into the following
Note: This article is not a replacement for getting the book. I strongly recommend that you purchase the book and then bookmark this page so you can come back to it over and over again. Treat it as a relationship handbook/companion.
In this guide, we will be exploring
- What is a love language?
- Summary of the 5 love languages
- How to identify your love language
- How to know your love language
- How to know your partner’s love language
- Mistakes people make when it comes to understanding love languages
- Why people have different love languages
What is a Love Language?
Every human being seeks love and if given opportunity, expresses love. The way we do it is different and is understood differently. We all know that the main reason for language is communication but if you do not speak a language that I understand, you haven’t succeeded in communicating. In the same vein, love has different languages spoken by different people and it is important – as someone who wants to be loved and to love – to understand the love languages that exist, identify what your primary and secondary love languages are as well as those of your partner.
Many relationships and/or marriage fail because the love languages of both partners differ and they do not take time to understand their love languages individually and see how they can best do them for their partner. Most couples love each other but feel frustrated and conflicted because they do not seem to be on the same page. For a healthy and long-lasting relationship, you have to be able to identify not just yours but your partner’s love language(s) and use that to build your relationship. Do this and watch your partner fall for you over and over again.
The love languages, luckily, are just five and well explained, moreover, they are relatable and you might just find yourself already doing those things or possibly you have paid slight or no attention to them before. Well, not to worry, once you read them here and you know, then you can set out to make your partner happy and feel loved.
Summary of The 5 Different Love Languages:
- Words of Affirmation: This is the act of expressing your love, care, concern, and gratitude to your spouse using words. Such partners feel loved and cherished when you use words consistently. Such partners love to receive messages, love communicating, love when you say ‘thank you’ when they do something, ‘please’ when you need a favour and ‘sorry’ when you are wrong. Pleasant and soothing words work like magic for them. Words of affirmation can be achieved through sincere words of kindness and affirmation, either directly, i.e. face-to-face or through texts, chats, calls, or video calls. Words matter a lot and go a long way to such a partner. So if you notice that your partner perks or lights up when you say positive words, you already have their love language down pat.
- Act of Service: This is the act of doing things that will make life easier for your partner. For example, if your wife’s language is Act of Service, then you can work your way into her heart by helping her take out the garbage, cutting up the vegetables for her while she’s cooking, watching the kids while she takes a nap and so on. And if your husband’s love language is this, then you can consider helping him load the washing machine, ironing and folding his clothes, taking the car to the washer’s, helping him set up his study desk, and so on. It is these acts that appeal to such a partner and communicate your love, care, and concern for them, thereby making you connect on a deep emotional level.
- Receiving Gifts: This is the act of giving gifts; thoughtful things that were not asked or required for and not necessarily needed. Giving gifts is universal and done mostly during important occasions like wedding anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, etc. but for some people, it is their main love language. They are usually excited when they get gifts from those they love and they tend to value and cherish such gifts for a long time. For a partner with this love language, they will love it when you give gifts randomly and occasionally, i.e. not limited to important occasions only. The thought and effort put behind getting the gift, no matter how small, counts. It conveys your love towards your partner. To do this properly, it is important to study the things that appeal to your partner. For example, if your partner loves jewellery, you can get those for her, if your husband loves comfy shoes, try getting a pair for him once in a while.
- Quality Time: This is the act of spending quality time with your partner; such partners do not care much for gifts but want to spend time with you and not just being with you all day long but having your undivided attention. Such partners enjoy productive and even unproductive talks, watching movies together, cooking together, making love, planning the future together, playing games together, and so on. They believe this helps to strengthen the relationship and doing things together as a couple make such a partner happy and loved. Therefore, if this is your partner’s love language, when you are both done with the day’s work, sit down and talk about how your day went, give them your undivided attention, this entails leaving whatever you were doing before and maintaining eye contact while contributing meaningfully. If you have to put off the TV or mute it, then do so, if you have to excuse yourself from the company of your friends to be home early enough, then do it. The primary thing here is making your partner feel safe and loved by having full access to your time.
- Physical Touch: This is the act of maintaining bodily contact and giving meaningful touches and no, it is not just about making love but also includes holding hands, giving hugs, giving a comforting pat on the back, touching the arm or hand occasionally especially during a conversation and so on. It is also known as the baby language because long before babies knew what love is, they have experienced it through non-threatening touches. When you do this to your partner who has this love language, they are reassured of your love, care, and concern. Touches have been medically proven to be healing, therefore, ensure you carry this out well and genuinely if you find that it appeals to your partner.
How to Identify your Love Language
- Have a genuine desire to actively love your spouse
- Understand what is meant by love language
- Take time to study yourself
- Take the love language test
As earlier insinuated, love language is the medium through which we express and receive love, affection, and concern. To determine what your love language is, follow these four easy steps:
- Have a genuine desire to actively love your spouse, to connect to others: According to Gary Chapman, “love is what we choose to do every day.”Therefore, make up your mind that even as you desire and want to be loved and cherished, you are also willing to do so for others, i.e. your loved ones and significant other.
- Understand what the love languages are: There is no two way about it, you just got to read up and have an understanding of what the love languages are and what they represent or mean. Luckily for you, this book already provides you with that information so you don’t have to stress out before you can get to read up on it.
- Take time to study yourself: This sounds funny, right? Yeah, until you see that it works like magic! Sometimes, you do not know categorically how you want to be loved, just that you want to feel loved. That is why it is important to study yourself and by that I mean; identify how you like to give and receive love and also identify what makes you tick. First of all, the best way to identify your love language is how you express love; how do you react and respond to your loved ones? Do you enjoy spending time with them or buying them gifts? This is likely how you want to be loved. Also, when you are around those you love, e.g. your family, what makes you light up? What makes you happy? Is it when your mum says ‘thank you’ when you help out with the cooking? Or is it when your brother offers to help you with the dishes? Or do you scream for joy when your sister passes you a gift? Or do you feel great when your family swaps stories and throws banter around? Or you are simply the kind that longs for grandma’s warm and long hugs? You probably see yourself nodding to ALL these but trust me, there will be one which will be your primary love language, i.e. it will be the main love language that you have and there will be a secondary love language. So, go on and study yourself around your friends and loved ones.
- Take a love language test: While this is not 100% guaranteed, it still helps greatly to either guide you into discovering your love language or affirming/confirming what you already know or suspected. There are a lot of such tests online structured by relationship coaches, marriage counselors, and psychologists. You can’t go wrong with a love language test.
How to Know Your Partner’s Love Language
- Stud how the show love to you and others
- Pay attention to what your partner requests the most
- Get your partner to read the book about love language
Having discovered your love language, the next thing to do is to discover that of your partner because the thing is, you can only love your partner successfully the way they want tobe loved and not the way you want to be loved. Read that again. Knowing your partner’s love language can be the most important aspect of your relationship and the most vital key to a lasting relationship. So, how do you discover your partner’s love language?
- Study how they show love to you and others: Most times, we project the way we want to be loved on our family, friends, and significant other. Therefore, the best way to know your partner’s love language is to study how they love you and their loved ones.
- Pay attention to what your partner requests the most: If your spouse’s request is consistent and follows a pattern, then you have to sit up and pay attention. For example, if every time you are traveling, your partner says ‘call me every day’ even though they said the same thing the last time you traveled, then you need to note that their primary love language will most likely be ‘Words of Affirmation’ or if your spouse makes sure that they arrange for you both to go out, at least once a week, regardless of their schedule, then there is all tendency for his/her primary love language to be Quality Time. When you pay attention, you’ll be surprised to discover all that you have hitherto missed.
- Get your partner to read this book: With the help of this book, you have not only been able to understand love languages but also to discover yours so why not share with your partner? You can also look for other helpful materials on love language and let them read up. When you are on the same level of understanding, it becomes easy to practice.
- Introduce your partner to the test: As aforementioned, there are myriad of tests online that you can take to help you discover your primary and secondary love languages. If it was helpful to you – which it will most likely be – then it will definitely be helpful to your spouse as well so go on and share.
Mistakes People Make When It Comes to Understanding Love Languages
Everybody has one or two love languages that work well for them. Now, where we get it wrong in this issue of understanding love languages as it relates to others:
- Assuming your partner wants to be loved the same way you love: Your partner’s love language isn’t yours, no matter how compatible you might be. Yes, you might share the same primary love language but maybe not the same secondary love language. It gets trickier: you might share the same love language but there is still conflict, how? Let’s take the acts of giving gifts, for example, your partner may love gifts but prefers getting antiques, relics, and crafted gifts i.e. your spouse might cherish a personal-written card over a trending set of earrings so be careful not to make assumptions because you prefer the latter. Even if you have established that your partner and yourself share the same love language, proceed to ask what appeals to them the most so that you also don’t feel that your expression of love is not fully appreciated.
- Assuming your partner knows already: That you know your partner’s love language and love them the way they want to be loved doesn’t mean that they do also. For all you know, they have never heard or read about love languages, not to talk of exhibiting them, so save yourself the heartache and involve your partner in a conversation to know their level of understanding when it comes to love languages.
- Restricting yourself: Everyone indeed has a primary and secondary love language but it is also true that everyone will like to be loved in all ways, just some more than others so don’t make the mistake of restricting your act or display of love to your partner’s primary love language. It can be stifling and mechanical. Be creative, explore!
- Taking your partner’s love language for granted: There is a tendency for you to want to shirk responsibilities when you know that your partner is always willing to help you out with chores and other duties (the act of service), there is also a tendency to cover up your flaw or inadequacy with gift-giving, this happens in domestic-violence settings or emotional neglect cases. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that gifts will cover up or replace your duty to your partner. Don’t throw ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ around when you ought to get down to work or do things that you won’t have to apologize just because you know words have a way of getting to your partner. Don’t allow quality time to replace the place of helping out with chores or giving gifts especially on important occasions and finally, don’t let physical touch be the answer to everything. Give and receive love, don’t abuse it.
Why Do People Have Different Love Languages
This is quite simple. No matter how identical twins are, they can’t have 100% the same personality. The same thing applies to people when it comes to love languages; no matter how much you and your partner ‘sync’, you will most likely have different love languages. This is because our love language is mostly influenced by several factors which include; upbringing, background, environment, culture, religious beliefs, and the likes. For example, a man may want to be loved by meaningful physical touches because, in his family, hugs, pecks, pats, and hand touches come to them easily. A woman may want to be loved by constantly hearing words of affirmation because it was sorely missing from her childhood or maybe because she didn’t have a father figure to tell her those.
Also, a person’s personality or character goes a long way to define a person’s primary love language. For instance, an extrovert may love Quality Time, i.e. hanging out with their spouse, having date nights, traveling together, and their likes.
Therefore, it is not surprising that most people differ in their love language, what truly matters is that you understand what yours is and what your spouse is and then work towards having a long-lasting, exciting and fulfilling relationship.
The 5 love languages are: word of affirmation, act of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch
The most common love language is receiving gifts
To know your love language, you need to take time to study your self and find out how you like to be loved