By Luisa Larios
August 2, 2020.
Back in 1992, the couple’s counselor Gary Chapman published a book about what he had learned from his +30 years experience on the counseling field. The book he called it ‘The Five Love Languages’.
Reading it helped me a lot to not only understand my partner’s language, but my own one as well. You know that feeling when you learn something new and inside your head something clicks and you think “oh, everything makes sense now”? That’s how I felt.
According to Chapman, there are 5 basic languages, and every human has a primary and a secondary one. When in a relationship, we must learn to identify our own language and in what language our partner feels loved the most, in that way we can avoid some “irrational” conflicts that may become exhausting after a while.
Words of Affirmation
Quite easy to do, yet sometimes we forget about it.
In this group belong the people who feel loved when they are told so, and they give love in the same way. It can be as simple as saying “I’m proud of you”, “thank you for cooking dinner tonight, it’s delicious”, “You are so charming”, “I love the way you make me laugh”, “thank you for taking the trash outside”.
Note that is not about spitting a random sentence, it should be words that affirm directly or indirectly that you love them,that you are proud of them and you appreciate their efforts.
You can express this by sending an unexpected text, an email, leaving a note by the table, or saying it in person.
This is my primary love language, and while I mostly tell words of affirmation to my partner to express my love, he used to think that I was just a charming talker. However, he now understands and is aware that I need occasional words of affirmation to feel appreciated by him and to be sure everything is alright.
Getting hands on!
As you may guess, this group is all about using physical affection to emphasize love: hugging, a massage, holding hands, kissing, making physical intimacy a top priority. This has to be done regularly, and avoid at all costs physical neglect or cold affection.
I somehow feel relieved that this is not mine or my partner’s primary language, as we are in a long distance relationship [LDR] at this moment, otherwise we would have had a tough time.
A minute makes a big difference.
This one includes any act of being just alone with your partner. Having the time and the space to deepen your bond and just connect with each other.
You might find it a bit overwhelming if this is not your primary love language, but I assure you that your partner will feel extremely loved if you make the effort for them.
This language can be shown in the form of uninterrupted and focused conversations, without the presence of phones, if possible; taking a stroll around town, having one-on-one time, weekend getaways, taking holidays.
For those in an LDR like me, quality time is crucial; from a videocall to taking a plane or a long drive every once in a while to be physically together and have one-on-one time is the best feeling ever.
Doesn’t mean at all that they are materialistic.
It feels nice when someone gives you a gift, right? It means they were thinking of you and found something that fits your taste. It is a thoughtful act.
People with this language adore giving and receiving gifts, that’s how they express and feel loved the most. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, it can be an object or an experience: flowers, a bracelet, chocolates, bringing home their favorite food, tickets for a concert, booking a visit to an adventures park.
If you are not fond of this language and your partner loves to give you gifts, don’t act coldly or unenthusiastic when they give you something. Also, try to remember the special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries, otherwise your partner will feel terribly bad.
Acts of Service
For some people actions speak louder than words.
Do something for them, partner up and share the chores, or choose what to eat and cook dinner if your partner still has a lot of work left to finish. They don’t want to hear words of affirmation on a daily basis, they need you to act and show you love them and care about them.
Clearly, they show their love the same way: by being helpful and alleviating your workload.
It is logical that all these languages have some similarities, as they all are important to manifest to your partner during the time of your relationship. As stated by Chapman, yours develops from childhood, and has a lot to do with how your parents/family showed you love and/or encouraged you.
Even though the book is written from a mainly religious-heterosexual perspective, love is love and these languages apply to all of us.
Later on, Chapman got greedy and published books about the love languages for kids, singles, teens, etc etc etc, so I recommend you to stick with the original one.
You can take this test to find out what’s your language. You can also do a lot of introspection to determine how you feel loved the most, and sit with your partner to determine how they feel loved the most as well.
And as I said before, you don’t have to be “fluent” in their language as long as they can see you are making the effort to speak it, it’s all that matters.
Never forget that your most important relationship is with yourself.