The Five Love Languages
Red roses are great and all, but sometimes what we actually want is breakfast in bed, or a letter that says how beautiful we are. It might just be that you and your partner speak different love languages. You simply have different ways of expressing, showing and feeling love.
It’s important to deepen your understanding of each other, and figure out your love languages. Lots of people who don’t feel loved or seen enough in their relationships say that when they understood their own and their partner's love languages, it was a real "eye opener" for the relationship. They began to see things they had not noticed before as acts of love, and it was easier to give attention to their partner in the way their partner likes best. Did you know that you often express love with your own love language, rather than your partner’s? Remember that love comes in many forms, and that some languages mean more than others depending on which love language a person has. Find out yours!
Gary Chapman, who wrote the book The Language of Love, believes that every person has a "love tank" within them, that fills up when we feel loved, and that we all possess a primary - and often a secondary - love language. The five love languages are:
1. Physical touch
3. Quality time
4. Acts of service
5. Words of affirmation
People who have physical touch as their love language feel loved, affirmed and seen when their partner touches them. They like public displays of affection, holding hands and snuggling on the couch. It doesn’t matter how many nice gifts they receive or how often their partner tells them they love them - if the person doesn’t experience physical closeness with their partner, they don’t feel seen. It is not really about sex (though that can be important), but about closeness. Most of us need physical touch in our intimate relationships, but for those whose primary love language is physical touch, it can be even more important.
More examples of physical touch:
Putting a hand on your partner’s leg when you’re in the car
Sitting on each other’s laps
People who have gifts as a love language feel seen and loved when their partner has made an effort to give them a meaningful gift. It's not about being materialistic or how much the gift costs, but about the idea behind it. These people like to both give and receive gifts, and never forget special days to be celebrated. They like when people show appreciation for the gifts they give.
Suggestions of gifts:
Bringing home your partner’s favorite flowers
Getting your partner’s favorite ice cream flavor at the store
A symbolic and unexpected gift
People who have quality time as a love language feel loved and seen when they receive their partner's undivided attention. They value time together and are happy to mark their calendars for quality time. They also feel loved when their partner clearly sets aside time for the relationship. At dinner they want their partner's full attention, and prefer to not have phones at the table. They feel like their partner does not prioritize or see them if they are not fully present. (Of course, most of us don’t like phones at the table! But in this case, it’s a more personal feeling of rejection.)
Work out together (soon, we’ll be releasing fun training videos with Alexandra Kamperhaug in the app)
Do a puzzle together
Play video games together
Acts of service
People who have acts of service as a love language feel seen and taken care of when their partner performs tasks and makes life easier for them. It doesn’t have to be big things; it can look like:
Your partner picking up a package at the post office that you haven’t had time to pick up yourself
Your partner bringing you breakfast in bed
Your partner dropping off the kids at preschool when you’re having an extra stressful time
For people who value acts of service, actions simply speak louder than words. It’s important for a person with this love language that their partner has a positive attitude when doing these acts of service. If the actions seem more like an obligation, they will not be experienced as acts of love.
Words of affirmation
People who have words of affirmation as a love language feel seen and loved when their partner says nice things and gives them compliments, in writing and by speaking. Their partner might say, "You know how much I love you, even though I don’t say it that often," but that’s probably not going to be enough affirmation. They want to hear nice words and compliments regularly in everyday life. It can be in sweet text messages, little notes around the house, and meaningful expressions of love. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all; a few small words here and there will go a long way.
Suggestions for simple and nice compliments:
I love how you always make me laugh
I was so happy when I saw you coming home from work today
I am so proud of you
If words of affirmation are your love language, negative comments - or even a lack of nice comments - can hurt you a little extra.