Love and affection can be communicated in many different ways. We all show our affection in different ways, but very often we forget to think about the way the other person would want to receive this affection. Because very naturally, “we love the way we want to be loved.”
Gary Chapman, an American author, realized that what couples really wanted from each other fell into five categories. He called these “The 5 Love Languages” which then went on to becoming a huge bestselling book. According to him, learning each-other’s love language can help couples express their emotions in a way that’s “deeply meaningful” to one another.
‘Love can be expressed and received in all five languages. However, if you don’t speak a person’s primary love language, that person will not feel loved, even though you may be speaking the other four. Once you are speaking his or her primary love language fluently, then you can sprinkle in the other four and they will be like icing on the cake’.
Here’s a brief overview of the 5 love languages-
#1 Words of Affirmation
People with this love language value verbal acknowledgments of appreciation and affection. Compliments, verbal encouragement, love letters and often frequent digital communication like texting and social media engagement go a long way with these people. Written and spoken forms of verbal appreciation matter the most to these people.
#2 Quality time
People whose love language is quality time feel the most adored when their partner actively wants to spend time with them and is always ready to hang out. They particularly love when active listening, eye contact, and full presence are the cornerstones in the relationship. These people have a strong desire to actively spend time with their significant other.
#3 Acts of service
This type of love language is mainly for those who believe that actions speak louder than words. Small acts of service such as making a cup of coffee or breakfast in the morning, helping in household chores is highly appreciated by these kinds of people.
Gifts is a straightforward and common love language: You feel loved when people give you “visual symbols of love,” as Chapman calls it. It’s not about the price of the gift but the symbolic thought behind the item. People with this style value the gift-giving process: the careful reflection, the deliberate choosing of the object to represent the relationship, and the emotional benefits from receiving the present. Moreover, every time they see the gift, they will be reminded that they are loved by someone.
#5 Physical Touch
These people prefer physical non-verbal expressions of love rather than gift giving/receiving and verbal compliments. Physical touch as a love language is not necessarily all about sex, although sex can be an important aspect of a romantic relationship for some. A hug, a shoulder squeeze, caressing hair or even a pat on the back can be an expression of love that is meaningful to your partner.
Every relationship has different love languages and part of understanding what your partner wants from you lies in communicating about ways that feel good for both of you.
It is not necessary that a relationship can use only one love language. One can experiment with each love language and see which ones suit their partner more appropriately.