The 5 Love Languages

A woman holding a red fabric heart.

Your 'love language' refers to how you like to show or be shown love. (Image: Llaszlo via Dreamstime)

Your “love language” refers to how you like to show, or be shown, love. According to Dr. Garry Chapman, speaker, marriage counselor, and author of The 5 Love Languages, there are five primary ways people receive and express love in a relationship.

The 5 love languages include quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, and acts of service. That said, try to understand your love language and that of your partner because it helps you understand each other better. 

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So what are the 5 love languages? And how do you use the 5 love languages in your relationship?

How do the 5 love languages work?

1. Quality time

People with this type of love language look forward to spending quality time with their loved ones. They need you to actively pay attention to them, listen to them, and be uninterrupted by your phone or computer.

Some actions you can take to make this type of person feel loved and appreciated include maintaining eye contact during your conversations and actively participating in the discussion. Also, complement what they say and make them feel you are present.

If their love language is quality time, you can make them feel loved and appreciated by maintaining eye contact during your conversations and by complementing what they say.
If their love language is quality time, you can make them feel loved and appreciated by maintaining eye contact during your conversations and by complementing what they say. (Image: Konstantin Sutyagin via Dreamstime)

Make spending time together a prime concern by arranging date nights or weekends. You can also suggest staycations or mini vacations regularly to make them feel that you have their best interests at heart.

2. Affirmative words

These people need loving words and constant reassurance that you love and care for them. Besides just saying it verbally, your words of affirmation can be sent as simple text messages, cute love notes, or cards. 

You don’t need to be a poet to make this person feel appreciated. Simple affirmations like “I love you,” “I appreciate what you did,” “I am grateful to have you as my partner,” “You look gorgeous today,” or “You did a great job” are enough. 

Remember, these people need to hear literal positive words.

3. Physical touch

These people need non-verbal communication or body language, such as touching, to express or show them love. They need to be near their partner or loved one physically.

Besides sex, they may appreciate cuddling on the couch with a glass of wine while watching a movie, hugging, kissing, or just holding hands to be romantic.

For your loved ones, such as your siblings, non-intimate touching, such as giving them a back rub, sitting close to them during dinner or a movie night, or tickling can be great expressions of affection.

4. Gifts

Some people feel loved or show love to others by receiving and giving gifts. People who like to receive gifts as their primary love language appreciate every little gift. They cherish every present and every bit of time and effort put into getting them and delivering them.

These people treasure moments and memories through gifts. They remember events such as birthdays and will definitely bring back a gift for their loved ones from a trip. Their presents don’t have to be big or expensive, and they will be thrilled with the smallest, random and unexpected gifts. 

You can make their day with small gestures such as bringing them a bar of chocolate from the store. 

A woman holds a gift box while a man holds his hands on hers.
Some people feel loved or show love to others by receiving and giving gifts. (Image: Sarayuth Punnasuriyaporn via Dreamstime)

5. Simple acts of service

People with this love language will notice and value every little thing you do for them. Doing little pleasant things for your loved ones, such as making them breakfast, will make them feel treasured. 

These people are the easiest to please because they notice and appreciate simple gestures like folding laundry, doing the dishes, putting away the groceries, or taking out the garbage.

Actions speak louder than words, and doing something for them or on their behalf is the language they understand best.

How to know your love language

What could your love language be? Well, you can ask yourself a few questions to help you understand yourself better. For instance, when in a relationship, when do you feel loved most?

Is it when your spouse spends time with you, tells you they love you, cuddles with you, buys you a gift, or makes breakfast when you wake up?

Also, there are online surveys by Dr. Garry Chapman to help you know your love language.

Love language in your daily routine

Love language applies to other relationships, too, such as with coworkers, parents, children, and friends. For instance, your child may constantly need words of affirmation as motivation to remain focused on their academics. On the other hand, a coworker may appreciate you running an errand on their behalf.

Constant communication is crucial in understanding a person’s love language. So it is important to ask your loved ones what makes them feel loved, cherished, and appreciated. 

Speaking your partner’s or loved ones’ love language may be challenging. It requires constant effort and willingness to try, particularly if their love language differs from yours.

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