Relationships, like any other thing in this life, are both vital and complicated. When two people come together to create a future with someone they love, they can find themselves up against a number of elements or adversaries that make it hard for them to stay connected and true. By learning how to define the way they love, and the things which they need to feel loved, they can better protect their relationship and better navigate the chaos that is modern day life.
The “Five Love Languages” is the name of a model for couples communication, and also a related series of books by Gary Chapman. Chapman believes that people respond best to one of 5 “love languages,” and that if you want to be heard by your partner, it’s best to communicate in their “primary” love language, and also their “secondary” love language. The love languages are:
This one may sound like it’s materialistic or reserved for gold diggers. But if this is your #1 language, don’t question your character. It actually has more to do with the thought behind the gift than the gift itself. You appreciate the thoughtfulness behind gift giving (whether it’s a grand birthday present or bringing home your favourite magazine from a trip to the drugstore). All gifts, whether small and daily or big and grand, remind you how much you matter to your partner and how much thoughtfulness and effort they think you’re worth. Missed birthdays or thoughtless gifts are your relationship nightmare because it makes you feel like your partner doesn’t care about you
Quality time relates to spending time together. Whether it’s watching a movie together, going for a walk, or having a date night, as a couple you really have to value doing things together. What you do is less important than the fact that you are spending time together focused on each other, so give your partner your undivided attention. Some couples think they are spending time together when, in reality, they are only living in close proximity. Those who value quality time may also feel a strong need for quality conversations. They want eye contact and focused attention when they speak. They aren’t always looking for solutions when they express their feelings, they just want to feel heard.
Words of affirmation
A lot of people feel loved when their partner expresses words of affirmation to them. Affirmations serve as reminders to someone that all is well in the relationship. Those who speak this language feel supported when they hear things like, “You are so beautiful” or “I really appreciate you”. This can be expressed in many different ways, whether that’s via text, a letter, a spoken word, or a card.
In the case of this love language, words speak louder than actions. The focus is on using language that allows your partner to feel that they are appreciated, desired, and cherished.
Acts of service
For anyone with acts of service as their love language, actions speak louder than words. For people this love language resonates with, words and gifts might seem empty. “What proves more important is a partner putting forth the effort to make life a little easier and sweeter. Cooking a meal, running an errand without being asked, remembering to take care of the small details of life in a way that shows their beloved they are seen and loved.” Doing things you anticipate your partner wants or needs demonstrates how much you value and care for them.
First thing’s first: Physical touch doesn’t always equate to being sexual physical touch sounds simple enough when applied to sex, but many people don’t realize that touch is, in fact, a language and that it communicates intention. It is important for a person with this love language to understand their own needs and boundaries around touch, and then communicate them to their partner. For this, it helps to think of touch as a spectrum: On the one side you have platonic touch, and on the opposite side you have sexual touch, with varying types and degrees of touch in between.”
Chapman’s theory is that most people communicate in their primary love language while neglecting their partner’s. So a partner who is into gifts might have trouble showing their love to a partner who is into acts of service, unless they change their approach.