What Is Your Love Language?
Do you know your love language? I didn't have the foggiest until I read the book I want to share with you this month. The 5 Love Languages is a framework developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, a relationship counsellor and pastor. In his eponymous book, he outlines the different love languages, explaining how we can identify our love language and use this template to better meet our and our partner’s needs in our relationship.
What are the 5 love languages?
The 5 love languages are:
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Receiving gifts
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
Our love language is the things that help us feel loved in our relationships. For example, if our primary love language is quality time, our partner’s time and attention is going to represent an act of love to us. It’s also how we’ll show love to our partner.None of the love languages are better or worse or more or less healthy than the others, they are just different. We need to know our personal love language so we can make specific requests and give ourselves the best chance of being in a relationship that meets our needs. We also need to know our partner’s love language so we can help them meet their needs and make the relationship as win-win as possible.
Most of us will have a different love language to our partner
And this is where the fun begins. My husband’s love language is acts of service. For him, showing me how to do something techy or helping me out with something is his expression of love. It’s meaningful to him when I do things for him too.My love language is words of affirmation. Words are meaningful to me (not surprising, given how much I love writing), so I appreciate it when my husband expresses love and appreciation through words, either verbally or in writing.Before knowing about the concept of love languages, we could totally miss each other in these areas without understanding why. He didn’t understand that words of affirmation were so important to me (and I often wrote off my desire for them as shallow and needy). Equally, I couldn’t understand why what I now recognise to be requests for acts of service were so important to him, and perceived these requests as criticisms or demands.Without care and attention, these are the kinds of things that start small but can snowball in long-term relationships. Knowing each other’s love language is by no means the cure for everything that might ail a relationship. Our respective childhoods and the resulting baggage usually have a lot of influence in the matter too. But it does help each partner feel more secure, loved and appreciated. Now I know what my husband’s love language is, I can not only help him meet his needs in the relationship and be clearer about meeting mine, but I can also see and appreciate when he is expressing love to me—and vice versa.This graphic from Fiercemarriage.com shows the different ways of communicating each love language, as well as things to avoid:© 2015, Ryan & Selena Frederick, Fierce Marriage. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.fiercemarriage.com.
Struggling to identify your love language? Think about what hurts you most…
When I started exploring what my love language might be, I found it hard to decide between words of affirmation, physical touch and quality time. Receiving gifts and acts of service didn’t resonate with me, but all three of those things felt important.When love languages seem tied, Gary Chapman recommends thinking about what hurts you the most. For me, it was clear. Withdrawal of affection and a lack of quality time, neither of those things are ideal, but it’s unconstructive criticism and a lack of acknowledgement that really cut to the bone. So, while physical touch and quality time are important, words of affirmation is my primary love language.What do you think your primary love language is? Leave a comment and share!