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Sex + Relationships

The Importance of Love Languages

After the sharp change in life prompted by the onset of the pandemic, I’ve begun to see each relationship in my life far more clearly. Reaching out to people takes much more effort than ever before, and with the feeling that time is basically at a standstill, each text and call means that much more. While some relationships have faltered, quite a few have significantly strengthened. The people with who I have become even closer all had one commonality, and it was our mutual acknowledgment of each other's love languages and what each other needs to feel secure in a relationship.

Developed by Dr. Gary Chapman in 1992, love languages very generally are the ways in which someone gives and receives love. He defines the five love languages as words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and receiving gifts.

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Applicable to any relationship in your life ­— from significant others, to friendships, to family members — love languages, I find, are an extremely important way to communicate not only love and affection to another person but also to communicate how much you care about someone. I find that in almost all of my significant relationships, there is an understanding of one another's love languages, and a give and take dynamic that goes on.

If the way that someone likes receiving love is different from the way the other person likes giving love, I find it to be a real testament to the relationship if one individual decides to go out of their comfort zone and caters to the other person's love language. It makes it evident how much you care for someone since you’re completely going out of your way for the other person's happiness. For example, it’d be like if your friend really likes hugs and their love language is physical touch. Even though you don’t like hugs as much, you still hug your friend because it’ll make them happy. Simple acts like that, I find, speak volumes in themselves.

That being said, accommodating to something outside your comfort zone is quite a tall task to ask of somebody. It’s definitely nothing to expect per se, as you can’t demand anything more from someone than what they’re willing to give you. In my opinion, if they cared about you enough, they would go that extra mile for you. But the fact of the matter is that love languages do exist for a reason, and not everyone is comfortable straying from their normal habits.

[bf_image id="vv973k5pjb79x9mx4whc5jv"] Love languages are such a simple concept, but once you’re able to identify them throughout your relationships in life, they’re such a beneficial tool. They’re not only helpful in establishing boundaries, but also for making meaningful gestures and forging loving relationships.

If you’re at all curious about your love languages, you can find the quiz here.

Catherine Sievers is a second year sociology and communication double major at UCD with a Spanish minor. She enjoys writing, reading, the outdoors, and getting coffee with friends. She hopes to work in the non profit sector after graduation.
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