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.
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.
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. 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.
Discover your primary love language below to help you better understand yourself, as well as teach others how to love you best. Once you discover your love language, share it with your loved one. Then, ask them to share their results with you so you can both feel more fulfilled in your relationship.
For this love language, nothing is more important to you than the physical touch of your partner. It makes you feel connected, protected and safe, even with things as simple as holding your hand, hugging or a simple kiss. If this is your primary love language, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate physical touch and you will feel unloved without it.
Someone who thrives off this love language will greatly appreciate their partner’s undivided attention. For periods of time, you want to be the main focus of your partner - no TV, no smartphones, or any other distractions, simply just the two of you. Whether you’re enjoying a walk together, a chat on the couch, or participating in a hobby together, having this one-on-one time to be present allows you to feel loved, secure and important to your partner.
Words of affirmation are expressions from your partner, either verbally or written, their love or affection for you. These compliments don’t have to be complicated and sometimes are the sweetest when in the simplest form. For example, “That dress looks incredible on you!”, “You always make me laugh!”, or “I love the way your brain thinks!”. Words become very important to you and simple things such as compliments can go a long way. However, this works at both ends of the spectrum, negative connotations can also really hurt you, ultimately taking you longer to forgive.
This is a scenario where ‘actions speak louder than words’. It expresses itself when your partner does things that you will like or appreciate, such as cooking dinner or picking up the kids, anything that requires some extra thought, time and effort. These acts are done out of positivity with your ultimate happiness in mind. Done negatively and in spite, feeling ’obligated’ will not end up with the same outcome. If this sounds like your top love language, expressing that positive feeling you get when you get home to the house cleaned or a full fuel tank can make all the difference.
Receiving gifts doesn’t necessarily have to be materialistic. It can be as simple as picking a flower from the garden, however it is just something that makes you feel loved and appreciated. Different to Acts of Service, which helps to simply take tasks off your plate, receiving gifts is an extra simple thought or gesture to make you smile and feel happy. It doesn’t have to be expensive gifts, you may find joy if your partner creates playlists of your favourite songs, grabs you a coffee, or surprises you with your favourite chocolate bar.
Exercise: Now, using the above information, identify your order of love languages and list them on a piece of paper, or in the notes section on your phone. Next, work through your partner’s love language and list them too. If you are single, list the order of what you wish to see for your next partner.
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 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.