It’s been thirty years since Gary Chapman, Ph.D., first published his book and theory about 5 love languages. Working as a counselor, he spent years talking to couples about problems in their communication. That precisely made him realize a pattern: many couples that truly loved each other often misunderstood one another and each other’s needs. So, Chapman developed the theory regarding the communication styles people recognize as acts of love.
He explained it all in his book called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. But what are love languages? How can you use them to improve your relationship? Are there limits to this theory?
Read on to find out!
What Are The 5 Love Languages?
According to Chapman, there are five different love languages: words of affirmation, receiving gifts, physical touch, acts of service, and quality time. Generally speaking, they are five unique styles of communicating love and affection. So, your love language is how you express and receive love in a relationship.
Usually, people can relate to most of these 5 love languages. However, everyone has the one love language that speaks to them the most. So, if you want to strengthen your relationship, you should discover your own and your partner’s main communication style.
Let’s take a closer look at each love language.
1. Words of Affirmation
If your love language is words of affirmation, you enjoy spoken expressions of affection. That means you feel loved when someone compliments you, often tells you that they love you, encourages, praises, and tells you words of appreciation. It includes digital communication and social networks as well. In essence, you want your partner to send you cute messages, uplifting quotes, and love notes.
2. Receiving Gifts
Chapman calls gifts the “visual symbols of love”. This love language is rather straightforward: you feel loved when you receive gifts. But it has nothing to do with the monetary value behind them. People with this love language recognize the time and effort it took to buy something for them.
Still, the gift has to be both physical and meaningful since it reflects how well your loved one knows you.
3. Physical Touch
People whose dominant language of love is physical touch express love through physical signs of affection. Simply put, they need plenty of kissing, hugging, cuddling, holding hands, sex, massages, etc. They just want to be close to their partner physically.
4. Acts of Service
With acts of service as your love language, you feel valued when your partner does nice things that make your life easier. Small acts of kindness like making you a coffee in the morning or washing the dishes help you realize how much they love you. So, unlike people who want to hear their “I love you’s”, you need the actions to back those words up.
5. Quality Time
You know your partner adores you when they want to spend time with you actively. All you need is their undivided attention and full presence with lots of eye contact and active listening. That means hanging out together without constantly checking your phones. For people whose love language is quality time, doing recreational stuff together, having meaningful conversations, or sharing hobbies are the pillars of a good relationship.