If you’re in any kind of relationship - with a significant other, a friend, family members, or yourself - you probably need to know about your love languages. To be completely honest, until the age of 19, I had no idea they existed. That’s 19 whole years of life where I wasn’t fostering the best possible relationships with my favorite people. If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “love languages”, never fear, I’m here to help.
Gary Chapman is an author, radio talk show host, and counselor who holds 4 degrees (yes, that includes a Ph.D.) across various topics. In 1992, Chapman wrote the first of many books exploring the topic of love languages, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.
Chapman’s books explore the importance of knowing and giving in the love languages of those around you, as well as the concept of the “love tank”. According to him, everyone enjoys all 5 love languages, but there is one we are more inclined to appreciate. To fill our “love tank”, we must experience that specific language we prefer.
I recommend taking the online quiz here to find out your personal ranking of love languages.
1. Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation can be spoken or written, and have the intention of lifting up your partner or self. From a compliment to a statement of appreciation, words of affirmation can take many forms. Words of affirmation can look like:
“I think you look great in that dress.”
“Thank you for picking up dinner, I appreciate it.”
“You are so talented, I know you can do this.”
Using a kind tone as an expression of love
Requesting instead of demanding
Leaving these compliments and words in written form for your partner to find
2. Quality Time
Quality time can be an activity one or both of you enjoys or even just a conversation. The main point is that you’re both giving your undivided attention. Quality time can look like:
Taking a walk, just the two of you
An “unplugged” dinner date
Conversations led with sympathy (focus on what you’re hearing)
Quality activities that one of you wants to do and the other is at least willing to do
A weekend getaway, just the two of you
Daydreaming together about a trip or event
3. Receiving Gifts
Receiving gifts as a love language may make someone seem materialistic; however, the gift resembles an act of love. You must have been thinking about someone fondly to have secured and given them a gift. Receiving gifts can look like:
A bouquet of flowers, or a potted plant
Wearing a wedding band with pride, each and every day
Bringing home a seashell you found during a jog on the beach
Buying someone their favorite snack
Your presence in your partners time of need, accomplishments, and tasks
A card with words of appreciation and encouragement
4. Acts of Service
We’ve all heard it, actions speak louder than words. Acts of service can be many things and will look different for each person and relationship. These acts can require planning, time, and effort; however, when done with a positive attitude they will be seen as an expression of love. Acts of service may look like:
Cleaning up the house before your partner gets home from work
Picking up dinner when your spouse has had a long day
Filling the gas tank in the car before you come home
Picking out a new dress shirt for someone
Bring them coffee when they have to work late
Complete their requests in a timely manner
5. Physical Touch
Physical touch has always proven to communicate love. Whether it’s holding a baby to comfort them or hugging your partner at the end of the day, physical touch creates warmth and security. For those whose primary love language is physical touch, it doesn’t always have to be distinct. Physical touch can look like:
Holding your partner’s hand while driving
A back rub
Resting your head on their shoulder while watching T.V.
Brushing your body against them while passing in the kitchen
A kiss before you leave for work
Running your fingers through their hair
I’m not an expert and this article is nowhere near exhaustive, but I hope you have a better understanding of what the love languages are and how you can utilize them to strengthen your personal relationships. Send the quiz to your significant other, your parents, your best friend, and all your roomies - let’s start loving our people how they want to be loved. If you're interested in learning more about the five love languages, I recommend checking out Gary Chapman's books and website!