Updated: Nov 30
In honour of Valentine’s Day, this weeks’ blog is dedicated to understanding “love languages,” which have the power to improve the quality of your relationship.
These concepts are based on the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, where he describes the 5 main ways that we all give and receive love. The book has continued to be wildly popular for decades because the messages within it are so valuable.
Dr. Chapman describes how the strongest relationships have what he calls, “full love tanks,” meaning that both partners have their personal needs met and are feeling satisfied and happy in the relationship.
One of the best ways to fill up the love tank is to understand love languages. This way, you can ask for what you need and also offer up love in the ways that really work for your partner.
So, what are these love languages? Read them over and see which ones resonate with you.
1. Words of Affirmation: Using words to complement, encourage or uplift the other person. Examples of this love language could be expressing appreciation for something your partner has done or saying what you love about them.
2. Quality Time: Giving your partner your time and undivided attention. An example of quality time might involve a daily routine of putting away your phone, turning off the TV and talking about your day with your spouse.
3. Acts of Service: Doing activities for the other person. This can be things like getting their oil changed, bringing them coffee or making them a meal.
4. Gifts: Giving thoughtful gifts that show that you were thinking of the other person. It’s important to recognize that the gifts don’t have to be expensive. For example, it might be that your partner has run out of toothpaste and you noticed and picked some up for them.
5. Physical Touch: Using appropriate touch to communicate love. Some examples are giving a foot massage, holding hands when out in public or cuddling while watching TV.
I’m sure in looking at this list, you can see one or more love languages that stand out as your favourites. What about your partner? Can you guess what they prefer as their love language?
One common error I see when it comes to love languages is that we offer our own love language to our partners rather than thinking about what might be their love language. Really think about this. I bet you’ve fallen into this trap before.
For example, my primary love language is acts of service, so to show my love, I often make dinner, clean the house, help the kids with their homework, etc. Although I’m sure my husband appreciates these things, it’s not his love language. His main love language is words of affirmation, so I have to remind myself to express my appreciation for what he does and verbally express how I feel about him. This love language doesn’t come naturally to me, so I really have to work at it.
A really great bonding exercise for couples is to take this online quiz together to find out what your love language is. You answer the questions for yourself and then your partner answers for themselves. It’s only 30 questions and just takes 10 minutes or so.
My husband and I did this once and I was guessing over his shoulder what he would choose. Despite being married for over a decade at that point (and being a psychologist), I was wrong on a bunch of the questions. It was such an eye-opener, really funny and helped both of us to see how I could do a better job with his love language.
So what I recommend is to take the quiz with your partner at some time this week. Speaking their love language is a great way to help you to feel closer, more connected and appreciated.
Write your love language in the comments below!