What are the 5 love languages and what do they mean? Let’s try and figure it out. We’re here to help you decode them to understand the different ways people express love.
There are a lot of things that we are never taught while growing up – things that are never included in the school coursework, and even though we do get hits of it at home, there’s no conscious learning of the matter. One such thing is knowing about ‘Love Languages’.
Growing up in an urban middle-class Hindu family, I’ve always attended weddings that had more of worshipping Gods & Goddesses, rather than delving deeper into the love of the bride & the groom.
It took me years to understand that marriage is something beyond those rituals. A few years back, I was attending a friend’s sister’s wedding where things were much more simplistic, and they let the guests know the bride & the groom more closely.
It was then when I got to learn about Gary Chapman’s famous book – The 5 Love Languages.
Returning back home, I ordered the book and was hooked to it for the next couple of days.
Well, to be honest, it was making me realize how we actually express our feelings of love and also make me understand others’ gestures in a better light.
So, what is a “love language,” and how understanding it might help our relationships?
After many years of counseling couples in crisis, Chapman says, “It became apparent to me that what makes one person feel loved isn’t always the same for their spouse or partner,” he explains.
“I discovered every person understands and receives love in a specific language, one of five to be precise. The other four are just as important and offer [other] ways to express love to each other.”
The book 5 love languages describe the way we feel loved and appreciated. Depending on our individual personality types, we may feel loved differently than how our partners do.
Understanding and decoding these different ways of showing love will help take the guesswork out of your partner’s expectations and needs.
1. Words of Affirmation
People with words of affirmation as a love language value verbal acknowledgments of affection, including frequent “I love you”, compliments, words of appreciation, verbal encouragement, and often frequent digital communication like texting and social media engagement.
Verbal compliments don’t have to be complicated; the shortest and simplest praises can be the most effective.
“That dress looks incredible on you!”
“You are looking so gorgeous today!”
“What a delicious meal you’ve cooked!”
Words mean a lot if your partner has this love language. Compliments and an “I love you” can go a long way. On the other hand, negative or insulting comments can hurt your partner and it could take them longer to forgive than others.
Understanding if ‘Words of Affirmation’ is your Love Language:
You really like hearing your partner say, “I love you.” Those three words are particularly meaningful, special, and reassuring for you to hear. Again and again and again.
You appreciate it when you are being acknowledged and praised. It’s nice to have your efforts recognized with kind words, no matter how small it is. It lets you know that you are valued. Extra points if it’s out of the blue.
The details matter, and it’s important your partner remarks on things like if you changed your hair or actually put on work clothes instead of your pajamas for your Zoom work call. It shows they are paying attention, which helps you feel cherished.
You feel valued when they take the time to thoughtfully reflect and comment on something positive they notice you doing.
When you do something nice for your partner, they say, “Thank you,” which makes you feel recognized and affirmed.
2. Acts of Service
Your partner might have this love language if their motto is “Actions speak louder than words.”
If your love language is acts of service, you value when your partner goes out of their way to make your life easier.
This love language expresses itself by doing things that you know your spouse would like.
Cooking their favorite meal, doing the laundry, and picking up the regular grocery, inviting their friends for dinner are all acts of service. They require some thought, time, and effort.
All of these things should be done with positivity and with your partner’s ultimate happiness in mind to be considered an expression of love.
Actions out of obligation or with a negative tone are something else entirely, and that would probably cause more harm than you can ever imagine.
Understanding if ‘Acts of Service’ is your Love Language:
You feel taken care of when your partner supports you and helps ease your responsibilities when they do little chores or tasks for you. Domestic bliss unlocked.
It means a lot when someone follows through on something, especially if they were paying attention and stepped in to help. When they do this, you trust your partner to pay attention to the little details.
You think talk is cheap; action means everything. You need someone to come through and to know you can rely on them. Show, not tell.
You love it when your partner steps in to do little things for you to make your life easier.
If you’re feeling stressed or tired, it would be nice if your partner saw it as an opportunity to step up and alleviate your burden by taking something off your plate that’s easy for them to do. That small act helps you feel taken care of.
3. Receiving Gifts
Don’t think that this denotes a materialistic love language – well, it doesn’t! It just means that a meaningful or thoughtful gift makes your partner feel loved and appreciated.
Needless to say, gifting indeed is a pretty straightforward love language: You feel loved when people give you “visual symbols of love,” as Chapman calls it.
It’s not about the monetary value but the symbolic thought behind the item. People with this style recognize and value the gift-giving process: the careful reflection, the deliberate choice of the object to represent the relationship, and the emotional benefits from receiving the present.
Something as simple as picking up a pint of their favorite ice cream after a long work week can make a huge impact.
Understanding if ‘Receiving Gifts’ is your Love Language:
You feel loved when you receive a gift. The present itself is nice, but it’s really the thought behind it that counts: The gift becomes an object that helps you remember they were thinking of you, which fills you with love.
After a date or a trip, it’s special to take a memento home with you. Seeing the item reminds you of those sentimental moments.
The best gifts are meaningful ones. If it’s a surprise gift, even better. It strengthens the bond and builds a deeper connection for you.
During holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries, you want to commemorate it with a present of some kind. Those days are extra special, and you love using those days as a reminder of your commitment.
The gesture of receiving a gift demonstrates that you are seen, cared for, and prized. You really thrive on the thoughtfulness behind the gesture and treasure nostalgic items.
4. Quality Time
On today’s date, we are so engrossed in the virtual world, that we often forget what it’s like to live in the real world – to actually give quality time to our partners without any sort of distraction. If this is your partner’s primary language, they don’t just want to be included during this period of time, they want to be the center of your attention.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t curl up on the couch to watch Netflix – it just means that you need to make sure to dedicate time together without all of the distractions. That will help them feel comforted in the relationship.
Every time you cancel a date, postpone time together or aren’t present during your time together, it can be extremely hurtful to your partner as it can make them feel like you care more about other things or activities than them.
Understanding if ‘Quality Time’ is your Love Language:
You like to spend uninterrupted time with your partner. It’s critical you have enough time to hang out and enjoy each other with undivided attention. No distractions, please.
It’s meaningful when they make time for you, prioritize you in their schedule, and don’t cancel plans.
Creating memories and special moments together is super important. Sharing new experiences means the world to you.
Time is precious, and it’s meaningful to soak in every second of your time together.
You feel content and happy when you are around your partner, even if you aren’t really doing anything. The important thing is you are spending focused time together.
5. Physical Touch
For me, a hug can do wonders! If you’re also someone who feels alive after a hug, then you know what’s your love language 🙂
People with touch as their love language feel loved when they receive physical signs of affection, including kissing, holding hands, cuddling on the couch, hugging, so on and so forth.
Physical intimacy and touch can be incredibly affirming and serve as a powerful emotional connector for people with this love language.
Understanding if ‘Physical Touch’ is your Love Language:
You look forward to hugs, cuddles, and kissing. Nothing beats tactile, physical intimacy.
You feel grounded in a relationship when physical affection is accessible and often cultivated. Holding hands, long embraces, and kisses are common and welcome occurrences.
You’re game for public displays of affection. It helps you feel wanted and desired.
If your partner is sitting next to you, you would rather sit side-to-side and cuddle up. The closer, the better.
Sexual intimacy makes you feel loved and closer to your partner.
While it’s extremely important for us to understand our love languages – we should also work upon being open, so that we can embrace all that comes our way and rejoice life to the fullest. After all, can there be anything better than being loved?
If you know what’s your love language, and what makes you feel amazing – do let us know in the comments below 🙂
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