Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor in the early 1990s started to notice that couples argued more and their loving gestures would often go unnoticed by their partners. He also noticed that couples weren’t able to recognize and appreciate the gestures presented to them by the other.
Chapman surmised that this conflict was caused by the difference in the definition of love each held. Couples were always misunderstood the other’s efforts and gestures and the need to resolve that misunderstanding drove Dr. Gary Chapman to write The Five Love Languages.
Dr. Chapman explained that there are five prominent ways a person expresses and receives love. Each person, generally, has one or two of these love languages that they prefer.
The five languages are
1. Words Of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Physical Touch
4. Acts Of Service
5. Receiving Gifts
What Are The 5 Love Languages?
● Words Of Affirmation:
Words of affirmation are just as it says. It is the act of love that is about expressing affection and appreciation through word of mouth. When a person prefers to express and voice their feelings and encouragement, they like leaving notes and cute messages for their partner.
Also Read: HOW TO PRACTICE SELF FORGIVENESS AND MOVE ON
● Quality Time
In this language, love and affection are expressed by partners giving their undivided attention to each other. Active listening, switching off your phone, and no TV is paramount in this act. People who prefer this language prefer quality over quantity. If this is your partner’s preferred love language then make sure you listen to them – really listen not just hear and avoid offering advice until asked.
● Physical Touch
A person’s preferred language is physical touch when they feel loved with physical gestures like a massage, holding hands with each other in public, or any other kind of physical gesture. A perfect example of this is when a person prefers to cuddle on the couch with a good movie and a glass of wine with their partner. Physical intimacy is their love language.
● Acts Of Service
If your partner or you feel appreciated and loved if someone does something nice for you like doing an errand or helping out with the dishes, then it is possible this is your love language. These small gestures and small acts of service can mean a lot to people whose preferred love language is acts of service.
● Receiving Gifts
If you or your partner like expressing your love and affection with gifts – no matter how big or small, then this love language of receiving gifts is your preferred language. The gesture and thought behind the gift are what counts more than the appeal that the gift holds. This thoughtfulness can communicate love and appreciation in ways that many people value. There is a The 5 Love Languages® Quiz created by Dr. Gary Chapman to understand which profile suits you. The quiz is available for couples, singles, teens & children.
How Can Your Love Language Improve Relationships?
There are different ways in which we all feel and express our love – to our parents, spouse, partner, and children & knowing your love language can have an impact on your relationship. Here’s how:
1. It promotes selflessness.
When we are able to understand someone’s love language we are more likely to understand their needs better. The entire purpose of knowing your partner’s love language is to learn how to express your love to them which makes more sense to them.
2. It creates empathy.
This understanding of each other’s love language helps people to empathize with others. It helps them step out of their comfort, pause, and look at what makes others feel happy, appreciated, and loved. This also helps people increase their emotional intelligence and how to put others’ needs before theirs.
3. It helps sustain intimacy.
This knowledge of the love language of the other helps a couple to become more understanding of each other’s needs, learn more about each other, and connect with each other – emotionally. This can help maintain the intimacy of the relationship and help to make the relationship deeper and stronger.
4. It improves personal growth.
Whenever someone is focused on other’s needs, they become less self-absorbed and become aware of their own growth and development. These five love languages require people to step out of their comfort which can help them grow and change – emotionally and mentally.
When couples start speaking (figuratively) in each other’s love language, they build stronger connections that lead them to live a positive and healthy life with each other. Things, thoughts, and gestures become more meaningful, and saying “I love you” becomes easier when it is said in a way that makes a couple feel content and happy with each other.
Dr. Chapman created The Five Love Languages, not only to help partner/spouse relationships but also the relationship with children, co-workers, friends, and parents. All love languages differ from one another. For example; I may prefer ‘quality time’ but with my sibling, I may prefer ‘acts of service’. These love languages can also change, for example; if I had a bad day at work then I would prefer ‘physical touch’ than ‘quality time’.
The key is communication. Ask and tell what your partner needs and what you need respectively. Once you understand each other’s love language, it becomes easy to put it into action. Relationships take time, love, effort, and compromise but with the help and support of these love languages, you can develop a healthy and strong relationship with your partner, spouse, parents, siblings, and children