I wish Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages was around when I was growing up. It would have taught me things I did not realize until just a few years ago. And it would have saved me a lot of heart ache in relationships, not just intimate relationships, but ones with my parents and children as well.
Dr. Chapman describes five types of love languages. A love language, put simply, is how we express our love for others. We all have different ways we let people know that we love them. It’s important to know love languages so you don’t experience misunderstandings in a relationship.
The five love languages according to Dr. Chapman’s book are:
1. Physical touch: The need for hugs, holding hands, cuddling, snuggling, massages, kissing, and other types of touch.
2. Acts of service: Doing things for someone, like making dinner, detailing the car, doing housework and picking up groceries.
3. Quality time: Spending uninterrupted time with your loved one, like watching TV together, going on trips, and having time off together.
4. Receiving gifts: Getting flowers, a surprise piece of jewelry, or buying your loved one something they will treasure.
5. Words of affirmation: Telling your loved ones that you love them, telling them they are smart and attractive, or letting them know how wonderful they are in everything they do.
If you have a different love language than your loved one, it can affect your relationship unless both of you explore each other’s love language and learn what makes each other fulfilled. First, think about which love language is most important to you by exploring which ones make you feel really special. Then, explore which love language your loved one prefers. By doing this, you can each support each other's love language and develop a deeper and more understanding relationship. For example, if your love language is physical touch, then you can let your loved one know that it’s important for you to hold hands or hug, or snuggle with each other at night. And, if your loved one’s love language is acts of service, then you may want to focus on doing random acts of kindness like making a favorite meal or picking up the dry cleaning, or getting the oil changed.
The important thing with all love languages is that your intent is to be thoughtful and to celebrate each other’s differences and desires. It’s such an easy way to learn what your loved one wants, and how both of you can help improve your connectedness with each other.