Why You Need To Learn Your Love Language

Dr. Gary Chapman’s “Love Language” test is one of my favorite little corners of the psychology world. This test is fairly popular, but if you have not heard of it, Chapman’s Love Language self-report personality inventory ranks how we prefer to express and receive love, affection, and care in both romantic and platonic relationships. Questionnaire answers are placed carefully into the categories of “words of affirmation”, “acts of service”, “receiving gifts”, “physical touch”, and “quality time”. Like all personality type indicator tests, the goal is simple; to better understand our minds, our behaviors, and why we treat ourselves and others the way we do. Maybe it’s just my psychology-major, personality-test-loving self, but I find learning about both my own and my loved ones’ love languages extremely interesting and helpful in my relationships. 

It’s most likely that everyone expresses and enjoys receiving love in all five of the love languages. I mean, spending quality time with loved ones, while they tell you nice things, do your laundry for you, give you hugs, and top it all off with a present? That sounds like perfection to me. The thing about the test, though, is that it shows you your two primary love languages which you most likely appreciate and express the most. Here is a low-down of the five love languages in case you want a quick summary: 

  • Words of Affirmation: Love is best received and expressed through words. For example, you feel the most loved when someone verbalizes what you mean to them, how proud you make them, how much they love you, etc. 

  • Acts of Service: Love is best received and expressed when someone performs a service that they know you would appreciate. For example, you feel the most loved when someone helps you with a project, cooks dinner for you, fills the gas in your car, etc. 

  • Receiving Gifts: Love is best received and expressed as a physical representation of how much you mean to someone. For example, you feel the most loved when someone brings you a coffee on their way back from Starbucks, makes you a care package, spends extra time perfecting your birthday present, etc. 

  • Physical Touch: Love is best received and expressed in consensual physical touch. For example, you feel the most loved when someone holds your hand, hugs you, leans their head on your shoulder, etc. 

  • Quality Time: Love is best received and expressed through spending time with you. For example, you feel the most loved when someone cancels plans to hang out with you, spends a whole day with you, makes an effort to bond with you, etc. 

Now that we have a general idea of what each of the love languages entail, let’s talk about how important it is to know not only your own love languages, but to know your loved ones’. I personally spent the longest time assuming that everyone I love would have the same love languages as me. Many of the people I care for are very similar to me in our interests and hobbies, which makes it easy to assume that they would express love and affection in the same way. Boy, was I wrong! After learning that many people in my life have completely different ways of expressing and receiving love, my perception of how I could make them happy and how they could make me happy completely changed. 

Personally, my two primary love languages are words of affirmation and physical touch. So, I love when people verbally affirm me (or better yet, put it in writing) and when loved ones are touchy-feely with me. However, for so many people, words of affirmation are cheesy or don’t mean much to them, and being touchy-feely is uncomfortable. And this is completely okay! For me, someone I care for telling me “You mean a lot to me,” or “I am so proud of you,” and then giving me a hug makes my heart burst, but for others it may equally enough mean nothing or make them cringe. Likewise, I’ve learned that for some of my friends, quality time is their primary love language and they feel the most appreciated based on how often they see and spend time with someone. On the other hand, someone who does not have quality time as their primary love language (like me) could go weeks without seeing a friend in person and feel just as loved by them. It’s all about personal preference and personality. Just like how everyone’s personality is different, everyone will have different preferences in love languages. 

The great thing about taking this test and having loved ones take this test is that you can learn how treating them certain specific ways will strengthen your relationship. I have learned to help out around the house more to show love to my mom, dedicate more time to hanging out with my dad, and give more hugs to certain friends, for instance. It goes both ways, too, as many of my friends have taken note that small compliments or words of encouragement go a long way for me. In the end, it’s all about spreading love and kindness, right? Well, Chapman’s Love Language test is the perfect way to do that, as well as learn about yourself and others on the way! 

Link to the Love Languages Test: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/