These infamous five love languages sound cheesy, but decoding them can really help your relationship
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman outlines five ways to express and experience love in different “love languages”.
Let’s face it, it sounds pretty over-the-top lovey-dovey — so much so, many people think it probably can’t really be applied to their real-life relationships.
But the fact of the matter is, Dr. Chapman’s offering just might be more than another useless, cheesy self-help book. He actually helps to break down and decode the different ways in which people communicate with their partners, so we can finally take the mystery out of what our significant other really wants and expects from us.
Chapman suggests that, emotionally, people need to receive love in their own love language, in order to be meaningful to them, and feel truly loved.
He uses the metaphor of a ‘love tank’. So when your tank is empty, you feel unloved, as your partner hasn’t been expressing love in a way you understand. You don’t feel the love.
When you feel loved, your ‘tank’ is full.
Just like you may speak English fluently, and Spanish as a second language, each person has one primary and one secondary love language, which makes them feel most loved.
So, if your partner only spoke Serbian and Greek, your love won’t be understood if you were talking to them in English. Make sense?
The secret to love that lasts, is to express your love in a way your partner appreciates most. To speak to them in their ‘love language’.
These five love languages are:
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, out of the blue compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
For those whose love language is spoken with Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,:” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there-, with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby, makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous–so would the absence of everyday gestures.
ACTS OF SERVICE
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face–they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
The best way to figure out what your partner’s love language is, is to think about what they nag/request/ask for the most. Do they like spending lots of time with you? Do they love compliments or gifts?
Alternatively, how do they show you love? Do they always have a hot meal on the table when you get home from work? Do they always buy you gifts? Do they compliment you lots?
What you partner does for you, says a lot about what they like to receive themselves.
The best way to make your love last is not only knowing what makes your partner feel loved, but knowing your own language, so you know what makes you tick.
The combination of making your partner feel loved meaningfully, in a way they’d understand, and ensuring you feel loved – as well as understanding/appreciating what your partner DOES do for you, will make for a love that truly lasts.