Which of the five love languages do you use to express love?
Gary Chapman has been a marriage counselor and pastor for over 35 years. He has radio shows on more than 400 stations. Along the way he developed his theory that there are five emotional love languages. Love languages are the way people express and receive emotional love. Keeping love alive in a marriage is essential for the success of the marriage, and understanding how your partner expresses love for you is very important. It might not be the same way you express your love for them. Poor communication is often be at the root of marital distress. It is important to understand the love language that your partner speaks, especially if it is not the same as yours.
The five Love Languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Psychologists who work with couples use these love languages to help couples understand how they express love and to reestablish communication. What is your primary love language and what makes you feel loved by your partner?
Words of Affirmation
This is the love language that uses words to compliment, appreciate and bolster someone up. Things like “You look pretty in that dress”, or “Thank you so much for running that errand for me” are simple examples. Everyone likes to be appreciated and sometimes, if we live with a person, we can take their good qualities for granted. Words of affirmation can make your partner feel seen and valued.
Quality time is giving someone you love your undivided attention. It means focusing on and talking with someone with no distractions. Making time for someone or having someone make time for you is a gift. If your significant other’s love language is giving you quality time, he/she wants to be with you.
I love to give gifts, and when I find just the right thing for my husband I am elated. Knowing how to receive gifts can vary from person to person. If giving and receiving gifts is not something that is important to them, a person might not realize the love and thought that went into a gift from their partner. They are not speaking the same love language. We all know couples where one person can never remember their partner’s birthday or anniversary while the other partner is very hurt every time their birthday is forgotten. That hurt and anger can build up over time. A gift is a symbol of thought and means that the giver was thinking of the person they love.
Many people show love through physical touch. They hug, kiss and touch the people they care about. Research has shown that physical touch is essential for child development. Some people grow up in ‘touchy’ families and others do not. If you did not, but it is your partner’s love language, it is easy to learn to kiss when you are leaving the house and when you return, or hug when you are having nice thoughts about your partner. Physical touch speaks volumes.
Acts of Service
These are actions you take because you know they will please your significant other. You are expressing love by doing things that make your partner feel valued. These things can be household chores, running errands, or accompanying your partner on an outing your partner cares about more than you do. They can be small things but they express thought and caring and thus express love.
It is common for couples to speak different love languages. This means that when one partner is expressing love, the other might not be receiving it as love. To be told that when your partner emptied the dishwasher he or she was expressing love through an act of service might be surprising! By identifying and learning to speak your partner’s love language, or they yours, you will be on the path for a long and happy relationship.
Gary Chapman’s first book in the Love Language series is called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. $9.46.
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