Being in a relationship is a wonderful thing, but it takes effort on both sides to create a loving and supportive atmosphere. And for quite a few people when they first get into a new and passionate relationship, that can be tricky to do.
After all, you haven’t had the time to figure out how your partner either gives or expresses the way they feel, and they’re navigating the same waters when it comes to you. Even when you’ve been in a relationship for a few years, you can reach a point where you no longer feel the affection and have to find your way back to each other again.
But that’s where the 5 love languages come in. When you know how to ‘speak’ to your partner when it comes to expressing love, and how to receive it in return, it’s much easier to create that stable foundation you’re looking for.
The 5 Love Languages
As proposed by Gary Chapman in has famous book: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, there are 5 separate love languages we each give and recognize love through:
- Words of Affirmation: Using words to tell your partner how you feel/be supportive
- Quality Time: Being physically there for your partner and spending one on one time with them
- Receiving Gifts: Buying presents for your partner to let them know how you think and feel about them
- Acts of Service: Doing things for your partner in order to reduce their own workload
- Physical Touch: Being as tactile as possible with your partner
But what do they mean? And how do they fit into a relationship? Let’s delve into these different love languages in more detail (and with some examples) below.
Words of Affirmation
Do you like being told you’re loved, or that your partner is proud of you, or that they’re thinking of you during the day? Chances are this is your love language! Indeed, talking about feelings tends to be the most common way love is communicated.
But words of affirmation aren’t just those three little words; they can also be fond, supportive, and simply joyful. As long as the words are positive and targeted and they’re really meant, feelings and accomplishments can be affirmed.
Texting your partner during work hours to tell them you’re thinking of them, or wishing them luck on a big day, are good examples of words of affirmation. Or if your partner does these things and it always puts a smile on your face and warmth in your chest, this might be the love language you communicate the best through.
Do you enjoy having alone time with your partner? Are you always looking forward to those moments when it’s just the two of you? Does it make you feel incredibly special to know your partner cleared time just to be with you? Then quality time is your love language.
Spending time together is one of the pre-requisites of relationships. But it’s still a major love language just because of how much people can bond when they make an effort to clear their diary for one another.
Heading out on dates once or twice a month, or romantic planning mini breaks together, are both big ways to showcase love through quality time. However, even just a night in on the sofa can be enjoyed just as much if this is your love language.
Do you love it when your partner brings home something for you just because they were thinking of you? Maybe it always manages to cheer your partner up? Then you recognize and/or express love the most when receiving gifts.
It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, and it doesn’t have to be something you or your partner have been wanting for a long time. For example, picking up their favorite takeaway on the way home from work, or buying them a little novelty item from a gift shop on the high street.
If it made you think about your partner, and you know they love a gift, this is a surefire way to show them how much you love them.
Acts of Service
Does your partner have a long list of house chores ahead of them? Do you have quite a few errands to run? And does it make either of you feel loved and cherished when your partner takes on some of the burden for you? Then acts of service could be the main way you see love.
Acts of service are a big sign your partner cares about what you go through. For some people, that’s the ultimate way to show love.
Do you love a kiss and a cuddle? Does your partner like lounging in bed with you during lazy weekend mornings? Maybe the two of you are always touching each other in some way or another, even if it’s just knees knocked together when lounging on the sofa? If so, physical touch could be how you feel love.
Not everyone is tactile in this manner, and it can be hard for a ‘touchy-feely’ person to date someone who doesn’t really like hugs. However, if you know this is how your partner feels love (and vice versa), making this effort will mean a lot to them.
Love Languages and What They Mean for Your Relationship
Using the right love language can go a long way to both giving and receiving the affection you’ve been looking for. After all, if you know the way you ‘speak’ love, and you know the way your partner ‘hears’ it, you can begin to strengthen your relationship in a sustainable way.
Everyone has a different love language, and you may have more than one that you speak or hear through. Take some time to explore this with your partner. Talk to them about what affection means to them, and how different your love expressions may be. All love languages can rub along well together, and there’s no incompatibility between the 5 listed above.
You should also try this Love Language Test. It will tell you which love languages are most important to you and perhaps you can have your partner try it also!
Getting Started with Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy in the Denver Area
If you are experiencing Love Language issues, we invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation with a therapy specialist or click to learn more about our Marriage and Couples Counseling Services.
We have offices in Lakewood CO & Longmont CO and also do teletherapy.
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