Many things have been said about love. Many false, many true, but the one thing we know for sure is: it’s not a one size fits all kind of thing. Everyone is different, perspectives are different, people see the same thing but experience it differently, and that’s why I want to introduce to you the Five Love Languages. The different languages of love are based on a 1992 book by Gary Chapman titled The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Over the past few years, they’ve gained more and more popularity as they help couples better understand, navigate and succeed at their relationships. I’ve had a personal experience regarding these languages, so did many people I know. The basic concept behind them is that people give and show love in different ways and by understanding them, we understand that what might be construed as lack of affection or love is actually shown in a way we’re not seeing.
Acts of Service
Some people feel best valued when their partners perform ‘acts of service’ or gestures. It’s a show don’t tell kind of thing. When your partner makes you tea in the morning, brings you soup when you’re sick, helps out in some way when you’re busy or running out of time, these are all ways you feel the most appreciated and loved.
For people whose love language is receiving gifts, it’s all about pampering. You feel adored when you wake up to a bouquet of flowers on a random Saturday morning, or a gift certificate to your favorite spa, these gifts speak louder than words for you.
Here, you’re not dazzled or really impressed by material things, you simply want to spend time with your loved ones. A movie night in, a stroll, a cozy night on the couch, anything that guarantees spending some quality time with your partner is just the right thing for you.
Words of Affirmation
With this love language, you kind of want your own personal cheerleader. You want someone who isn’t afraid to use the L word, someone who vocally supports you, someone who puts in words that they appreciate you and care for you.
Cue some hand holding and cuddles here and we’re good to go. You respond to physical affection more than anything. You might not care if they say how they feel but you’ll care when they put an arm around you, lovingly touch your face, hug you or when they’re physically intimate with you.
Understanding these love languages doesn’t only take away disappointment and miscommunicated love, it teaches you about yourself, your preference of affection, and what ticks the right box for you. Also, the concept itself - acknowledging that we are different and understanding how we are different - can be easily applied in other areas of life. In how we argue, how we communicate, how we show that we’re upset, how we’re sad, and much more. And through learning that about yourself and about your partner, you’re learning how to manage expectations and you’re building a stronger foundation for a healthy relationship. Work doesn’t stop there though; an ongoing relationship needs ongoing work. So, make sure you put in the time to understand different languages you use for what you do, communicate, and most importantly love, in all the ways you could.