We all give and receive love in different ways. You and your partner may express affection to each other regularly, but are you actually taking the time to communicate it the way you both truly want to receive it? Even love can sometimes get lost in translation when two partners speak different love languages.
Some of us love when our partner touches our hair when greeting us, or holding our hands in public - or maybe when they whisper “I love you”. Perhaps you’re someone who feels most cared for with a bunch of flowers? Whatever makes you feel best, is important - not only for you to understand, but also your partner and visa versa.
Essentially, by recognizing your primary love language in yourself and in your partner, you can learn to identify the root of your conflicts, connect more profoundly, strengthen your relationship and truly begin to flourish together.
The concept of love languages was developed by Gary Chapman, Ph.D., in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. The five love languages are five different ways of expressing and receiving love: Physical Touch, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, and Receiving Gifts. I dive deeper into these five love languages here.
New research by Truity in February 2022 however, shows that there might actually be seven love languages, not five. These new and updated love languages are thought to be more representative of modern relationships, being more inclusive and current.
The survey of over 500,000 people came up with a list of seven love styles: Activity, appreciation, emotional, financial, intellectual, physical, and practical.
Here’s the breakdown as written on Truity.com:
Activity: People who focus on the Activity love language feel special and valued when their partner takes an interest in their hobbies and activities and makes an effort to enjoy hobbies and interests together.
Appreciation: People who focus on the Appreciation love language feel loved when their partner gives them compliments, praise and thanks. They appreciate hearing explicitly what their partner likes and admires about them.
Emotional: Those who focus on the Emotional love language feel loved when their partner connects with them and supports them through difficult and scary emotions. Being present for the highs and lows is very important to those with the Emotional love language.
Financial: People with the Financial love language feel loved when their partner is generous with resources and sees value in spending money to bring their partner pleasure and joy. This love language may be expressed through gifts or just making space in the family budget for your partner's enjoyment.
Intellectual: People with the Intellectual love language like to connect through the mind. They feel loved when their partner values their intelligence, respects their opinion and thoughtfully discusses important issues.
Physical: People with the Physical love language feel loved when they receive physical affection—hugs, holding hands and snuggles. They want their partners to show they're attracted to them and initiate loving touch.
Practical: People with the Practical love language feel loved when their partner chips in with everyday duties and responsibilities. They feel cared for when their loved ones do chores and offer help.
What’s your modern love style? Hop over to Truity's 7 Love Styles test to discover yours.
The important thing to remember is that these new love styles do not outweigh Chapman's original five love languages. They, like the new ones, are just a framework for better understanding yourself, your partner, and your relationship. Chapman’s love languages just happen to be a little older than Truity’s and reflective of the time when they were conceptualized.
Remember, love languages are a useful tool to improve how we understand, communicate and express ourselves to each other, but they aren’t a one-way ticket to happiness in a relationship. Romantic relationships require ongoing attention and commitment for love to flourish. As long as the health of your relationship remains important to you, it is going to require your attention and effort in order for it to grow. And as it grows, your love will only get better and better. Read more about How To Grow In Your Relationship.
I dive deeper into the five original love languages, how to recognise yours, what they mean and how they can shape your relationships, in my Flourish & Fulfilled with Sophie Guidolin podcast. You can listen to the full episode ‘Discover Your Love Language’ on Apple Podcast or Spotify.