Why Love Languages Are Important

Healthy communication is the most important aspect of any relationship - romantic or not. Understanding is one of the major facets of communication, and I’ve learned a lot about it from being in a long-term relationship.

The 2-year relationship I’m currently in happens to also be my first relationship. Before dating someone, I hadn’t known that everyone has different styles of showing affection and different things that make them feel loved. However, it was something that I soon started thinking about a lot, since I wanted to ensure that both my boyfriend and I were getting the most out of our experience together.

This was when I first discovered the concept of love languages. The five different love languages were first noted by marriage counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman, in 2007. In sessions with his clients, he noticed that many individuals felt as though their spouse didn’t love them, but their partners didn’t know what to do to prevent this feeling. When patients were asked what they wanted from their partners, Chapman found that their answers could be sorted into five major categories. These later became the 5 Love Languages.

The five different love languages are acts of service, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts, and words of affirmation. Every individual tends to value at least one of these languages over the others, and I think it’s important to know which one(s) are most important to you, and to know that others don’t always love and feel loved in the same ways.

This quiz can help you rank how much you value the different love languages, and it takes less than five minutes! Multiple similar quizzes exist, including both a “couples” and “singles” version. In addition, there are also quizzes for parents with children or teens –although love languages were originally discovered in the context of romantic relationships, they can also extend to all types of relationships.

Although, for the most part, knowing what makes you feel loved is intuitive, I think this quiz opens up a way to communicate those things to your partner, friends, and family. At the end of the quiz, there are short blurbs explaining each of the love languages in more depth. These can act as the foundation for a constructive conversation if you need to express a need for something more in your relationship.

Upon taking the quiz, I discovered that my top love language is quality time, with words of affirmation and physical touch following only a few points behind. My boyfriend and I happen to have very similar scores for each of the love languages, and in the same order; however, the same is not true for everyone. For relationships where partners’ love languages don’t line up closely, it can create problems if individuals don’t communicate their wants to their significant other. However, in this case, problems that arise are usually unintentional, and not a reason to break up.

For example, one partner may value receiving gifts and therefore might assume that their partner also values gifts in the same way. Their partner may not value this type of appreciation as highly as something like words of affirmation, and may end up feeling somewhat neglected in their relationship if they don’t receive them. However, their partner isn’t purposefully ignoring their needs. Rather, they are simply loving them in the same way that they want to be loved themselves. Therefore, if partners in this type of relationship can communicate the ways their love languages differ, they can make an effort to intentionally implement new ways of showing appreciation for each other.

Even in relationships where partners share the same love languages, I still think it’s important to have a discussion about this topic, because you can learn something about your partner. Of course, it’s also easier to ensure that your partner feels valued if you show love effectively and intentionally. Even if you already frequently gave words of affirmation to your partner, it may make them feel even more loved if you do so because you know how much they value them.

Furthermore, during this unprecedented time, the need for healthy and effective communication is at an all-time high. Now more than ever may be the most important time to share this quiz with your partner - or even your friends and family - especially if you are unable to see each other due to social distancing. Although you may not be able to implement certain love languages at the moment, having this conversation may allow you or your partner to make social distancing more fulfilling. For example, while you may not be able to spend quality time in person, you can put time aside to have FaceTime or Netflix Party dates regularly. I think most people could use some extra love, especially right now.