The five love languages were created by Gary Chapman in his 1995 book, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.” They’ve since become a significant lens for people to understand romantic interactions. This idea of a love language is based on the theory that people communicate and receive love in certain ways. You probably identify with many or all of the love languages, but there’s usually one language that sticks out more than the rest. To identify your primary language, you can always take the quiz on Chapman’s website.
It’s valuable to identify what your own love language is so that you can ask for what you need from your partner. You can also observe your partner’s behavior, how they communicate, and what they desire from you. People tend to give love in the same way that they receive it, but this may not always be what a partner needs. Even as a single person, getting to know your love language can help you out in the future when you get into a relationship. It can be a framework to help you understand interactions and improve communication.
Here’s a bit more about each of the languages.
- Receiving gifts The concern for this love language is less about the materialistic value of the gift and more about the thought, effort, and care behind the gift. You see the act of giving or receiving as showing love and affection. Gifts speak the loudest of all the ways to communicate love. Because of how important they are to you, you’re absolutely devastated when an anniversary or birthday is missed. You also become upset if the gift that’s given to you was clearly bought in haste or no thought went into it. You feel this shows a lack of care and concern, which breaks your heart. At the end of the day, gifts are symbols of a greater showing of love. You like to be able to see that love and hold it in your hands, and that’s what the gift-giving love language is all about.
- Quality time What matters for those with the quality time love language is that you receive full and undivided attention from your lover. It’s important to you that you feel like your partner is being totally present with you. All you really desire is to spend uninterrupted time with your lover–whether it’s doing activities together or just hanging out doing nothing. You want to make sure they aren’t checking their phone, texting, or being unaware when you’re speaking. It can be really hurtful if you feel that your partner isn’t making time spent with you a priority when they’re canceling or postponing dates or they aren’t really listening to you. You value quality time spent with one another as a showing of love.
- Words of affirmation This love language is all about verbal communication, compliments, and words of support. When you speak the words of affirmation language, you care deeply about hearing the words “I love you.” You’re happiest when you’re validated often and your partner speaks words of encouragement to you. You value time spent talking together and you’re very sensitive to tone, content, and length of time spent talking. If someone insults you, is rude to you or is unclear in their verbal communication, you take this very personally. Criticism and harsh words cut very deep for you. At the end of the day, all you want is to be honestly told that you’re loved and cared about.
- Acts of service For this love language, it’s all about your partner serving you from a place of love. It’s about them doing nice things for you that make your life easier and better. Service is the whole idea of actions speaking louder than words for you. You care about the thought that goes behind the action and the consideration your partner took. Some examples of things that make your heart go pitter-patter are being cooked a meal, having your car cleaned, going grocery shopping for you, or helping you out when you’re stuck. What makes you upset is when your partner backs out of commitments. This love language is all about your partner doing things for you that you like.
- Physical touch The best way for loved as someone with the acts of service love language is for your partner to physically touch you. The way to your heart is through your partner being physically affectionate. You love to hold hands, give each other kisses, cuddle, and even have sex. To build a relationship, you need to have regular physical contact. Communication about surprise, excitement, and sadness can even be done through touch for you. On the other hand, neglect and abuse are utterly detrimental to you, but even a partner being physically distant can cause a lot of pain. You just want to be loved through physically feeling the care of your partner.