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Everything About Love Languages

everything-about-love-languages

The five love languages

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate is a 1992 book by Gary Chapman. It outlines five general ways that romantic partners express and experience love, which Chapman calls "love languages". They are acts of service, gift-giving, physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation.

Chapman suggests that to discover another person's love language, one must observe the way they express love to others, and analyze what they complain about most often and what they request from their significant other most often. He theorizes that people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love, and better communication between couples can be accomplished when one can demonstrate caring to the other person in the love language the recipient understands.

The five love languages by Gary Chapman

The five love languages by Gary Chapman

Acts of Service

This love language may be the hardest to understand, while the rest is pretty self-explanatory, but let me help you a little bit.

Acts of Service basically means, that someone does not feel the most loved, when their significant other tells them 'I love you', or hugs, kisses them, gives them gifts, or spends a lot of quality time with them. These are all obviously really important to a healthy, happy and satisfying relationship, but there are people who might feel like a little piece is missing, when acts of service seems to be less compared to the rest of the love languages.

People who's first love language is acts of service, like to see 'I love, and care about you' in acts, not words. Words are pretty much useless here.

Here are things, you can do to make your significant other - who's first love language is acts of service- feel loved, and happy:

  • Pay attention to the small things: what your partner wants to do on your next trip together, how much sugar your partner adds to their morning coffee, what time your partner’s favorite show is on, what's their least favourite housework,etc.
  • Focus on acts that are easy for you to accommodate into your schedule. Pay attention to your partner’s calendar each week and see if you can add in Acts of Service. Maybe your partner has limited time between their workout in the morning and their first work meeting. Plan to have coffee and breakfast ready and waiting.
  • Remember, that people hate asking for help, because there is so much pressure by society that needing and asking for help means you're weak, or not smart enough, and also, think about how good it feels when someone does something for you, without you having to ask, and tell them. Ask them, whether they need help with something or not, or whether they need something to be taken care of, such as groceries, or something that needs to be shipped, and help them with that.
  • As easy as it sounds, it can feel wonderful, when you simply cook them their favourite meal, or buy them their favourite sweet, or wine, or something like that.
"Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.”(Gary Chapman)

"Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.”(Gary Chapman)

Receiving Gifts

For some people, receiving gifts is the most impactful expression of love they’ll experience in their entire lives. These individuals speak the love language known as “receiving gifts,” and becoming fluent in it is easy if you understand the basics.
For people whose native love language is receiving gifts, presents are physical symbols of love that materially express the affection someone has for them. If you’re in a relationship with someone who primarily experiences love in this way, regularly surprising them with presents — that don’t have to be expensive, or indeed, cost anything at all — is the key to unlocking their heart.

For individuals who speak the love language of receiving gifts, the monetary cost of the presents they receive is not the primary focus. Instead, the value lies in the whole gift-giving process, from inception to delivery and beyond.

Ideas, if your significant other's first love language is receiving gifts:

  • Bring them their favorite flowers, just because
  • Buy them something they’ve been wanting for awhile
  • Send them a surprise package at work
  • Make them a mix CD and explain why you chose each song for them
  • Sign them up for a class they’ve been wanting to take
  • Listen carefully to your significant other. What is their favourite chocolate flavour? What is their favourite colour? Is there any item that they fantasize about but didn’t get round to buying for themselves?
  • Educate yourself to think of gift giving not in terms of material/practical value, but in terms of sentimental expression. A well timed, thoughtful trinket says “I love you” more loudly than an expensive but impersonal gift.
“Gifts need not be expensive; after all, “it’s the thought that counts.” But I remind you, it is not the thought left in your head that counts; it is the gift that came out of the thought that communicates emotional love.”(Gary Chapman)

“Gifts need not be expensive; after all, “it’s the thought that counts.” But I remind you, it is not the thought left in your head that counts; it is the gift that came out of the thought that communicates emotional love.”(Gary Chapman)

Physical Touch

If your love language is physical touch, then that means you prefer physical expressions of love over all other expressions (such as verbal compliments or gifts). This may seem self-explanatory, but there are both intimate and non-intimate touches that can and should be used to show your partner love.

“Physical touch, specifically cuddling, releases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that makes you feel like nothing can hurt you,” says Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and relationship coach. “In addition to the bonding (cuddling) creates between the couple, it also helps boost your immune system.”

“It’s about needing to feel safe, anchored, and seen in a world that feels dangerous, chaotic, and anonymous.”(Rebecca K. Reynolds)

If your significant other is a physical touch kinda person, there are a few things you should know:

  • They want real touch in the way “words of affirmation” people want a real compliment.
  • They want thoughtful touch in the way “gifts” people want a thoughtful gift.
  • They want a caring touch in the way “acts of service” people want things taken care of.
  • They want an attentive touch in the way “quality time” people want focus.

Ways you can show them your love:

  • Kissing is one of the easiest, most effective ways to show physical love to your partner. You can kiss their lips, their neck, their cheek, their forehead, their hand. In many cultures and throughout history, kissing is or has been shown as an act of respect, greeting, or affection.
  • Holding hands with your partner, in public or in private, is an easy gesture that can immediately release mood-boosting endorphins. Parents often hold their child’s hand for protective reasons, but also for physical connectedness.
  • Do you cuddle with your partner when you’re watching a movie? When you’re laying in bed? If you don’t, you should. Physically wrapping yourself around your partner can bring you closer together, physically and emotionally. Your partner may prefer being the “big” or “little” spoon, but try swapping roles or facing each other and seeing how that feels.
  • Touching can be sexual, but it can also be non-sexual and still intimate. Dragging your fingertips across your partner’s back or neck can be an intimate expression of love. Touching your partner’s hair, holding the back of their neck, or even touching their bare leg can be an expressive way of telling your partner you’re there for them, you’re physically attracted to them, and/or you’re in love with them.
  • Rubbing your partner’s back, or massaging them, can signal to them that you’re there for them and that you love them. You can also rub their arm, their hand, or another part of the body. Just make sure you’re communicating with your partner and making sure they are comfortable with it.
  • Some individuals may not like to be tickled, but tickling is a physical expression of love. Not sure if your partner likes this? All you have to do is ask.
  • Sitting close enough to be touching your partner is an easy way to signal that you love them. Sitting with your hips or feet touching is a non-verbal way of connecting with your partner.
“Physical touch can make or break a relationship. It can communicate hate or love. To the person whose primary love language is physical touch, the message will be far louder than the words “I hate you” or “I love you.”(Gary Chapman)

“Physical touch can make or break a relationship. It can communicate hate or love. To the person whose primary love language is physical touch, the message will be far louder than the words “I hate you” or “I love you.”(Gary Chapman)

Quality Time

People who speak this love language the best, view time as a priceless gift they want to give and receive in relationships, and although they appreciate expressions of love in other languages, alternate types of affection aren’t considered as meaningful as time together. However, it is not as easy and simple, as just two people being at the same place, at the same time together. This person needs to know and feel, that when they are spending time together with their significant other, their attention is completely focused on each other, without any type of distractions.
Ways you can make them happy:

  • Go out and about - Take a walk around the neighborhood, invite your partner on some errands, or check your community calendar and attend a local event together.
  • Around the house - Prepare a new recipe or root around the garden together. Bust out a puzzle, learn to play a new board game, or simply read books by one another.
  • Get active - Raise your heart rates by working out together, or engage in any number of physical activities including bowling, hiking, and golfing.
  • Take quick trips - If you’ve got a day or two to spend together, go camping, take a road trip, or visit a local amusement park.
  • Plan events and vacations - Whether you like to throw parties or explore the world, outline your next big undertaking by planning it together.
  • Scheduled regular date nights - Give your partner something special to look forward to by making plans to explore new restaurants, bars, and art galleries.
  • Engage in quality conversation - Get in the habit of telling your partner what’s on your mind and asking them about what’s going on in their life.
  • Stay away from smartphones - When spending time together, avoid distractions by keeping digital devices out of sight as much as possible.
  • Be deliberate with your time - Above all else, be mentally present when with your loved one, and show them respect by giving them your undivided attention.
  • Avoid canceling plans.People whose primary love language is quality time will feel particularly hurt by canceled or postponed plans.
“Quality time does not mean that we have to spend our together moments gazing into each other’s eyes. It means that we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person.”(Gary Chapman)

“Quality time does not mean that we have to spend our together moments gazing into each other’s eyes. It means that we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person.”(Gary Chapman)

Words of Affirmation

People who's first love language is words of affirmation, are probably going to be the most affected by words said out loud. Whether they are written or spoken, a person whose primary love language is words of affirmation will place a lot of importance on what you have to say to them. Your words will speak volumes to them, even when you want them to just let things slide. Words of affirmation is the most common love language. Those whose primary love language is words of affirmation are often sensitive and aware of their surroundings. They are the encouragers who know just what to say to make others feel better. And, they are hoping you can do the same for them.

How you can make them feel loved and cared for:

  • Be authentic. You want to be sure what you're saying to them is coming from the heart, because if you are making stuff up, they will be able to tell.
  • Be empathetic. When it comes to words of affirmation, it is crucial that partners realize that you recognize how they are feeling, especially if they are feeling down.
  • Show your appreciation. Usually, people who feel fulfilled by positive words and comments will thrive when people recognize and appreciate what they do. The key is to tell them in no uncertain terms how much you appreciate them. And if you are specific about what you really liked, this will warm their heart and fill their tank. So, don't hold back.
  • Say 'I love you' a lot. While many people often feel like the phrase is overused, a words of affirmation person will never get tired of hearing you say it, especially when you find new and creative ways to communicate your love.
  • Write them a letter. There is something still special about receiving a love letter in the mail. So, get out a pencil and paper and start writing. Your partner will be so surprised to receive the letter from you.

Some phrases that might be useful, and will make your significant other really happy:

  • I love you.
  • You are so special to me.
  • It really impressed me when you…
  • I couldn't have done ____ without you.
  • You inspire me to….
  • I see how hard you've been working.
  • I just wanted to let you know I'm proud of you.
  • I really appreciate you when you do...
  • I am here if you need me.
  • I feel so loved when you...
  • I am proud of you because...
  • You look amazing.
  • I am proud of you for always trying your best, whatever it is.
  • Thank you for being so sweet and loving to my family and friends.
  • I'm the happiest when you make me laugh.
  • You have the cutest crinkles when you smile.
  • I find you so attractive and gorgeous.
  • I'm lucky that you are my partner.
  • Thank you for making me feel safe and loved.
  • Tell me more about it.
“Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love.”(Gary Chapman)

“Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love.”(Gary Chapman)

Figure your love language out

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Lili Zoltai

Comments

dashingscorpio from Chicago on September 28, 2020:

"He theorizes that people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love, and better communication between couples can be accomplished when one can demonstrate caring to the other person in the love language the recipient understands."

I agree with his philosophy and it makes sense.

However I suspect the reasons why so many people repeatedly have bad dating/relationship experiences is because their mate selection/screening process and "must haves lists" does not filter for potential mates (natural love language) to determine a match.

Instead they choose to enter in relationships because of a variety of other things and then find themselves trying teach or learn what each other wants or expects in order for them to feel loved/appreciated. "If you love me you will change." (mindset)

It's an uphill battle to expect someone to become who they are not. Generally speaking people don't change unless (they) are unhappy.

Very few people are walking around with one hand raised in the air screaming: "I'm looking for someone to change me!"

If a woman wants a man to bring her flowers, cards, and take her out to upscale restaurants every now and then she would be better off (choosing) a man who naturally speaks (her) love language.

The same is true of a man who may desire a woman who is sexually uninhibited with a libido that matches his own.

The problem however is even when two people know what they want it is very easy to be (fooled) during the "infatuation/honeymoon" phase of a (new relationship) because many people pull out all of the stops and bend over backwards to {impress} the new object of their affection. No one wants to say or do anything to "blow it".

Essentially they're doing everything you want without you asking!

Inexperienced daters easily believe they've found their soulmate!

The reality is most people do not reveal their "authentic selves" until after there has been an "emotional investment" made where they feel (safe) and (secure) enough to believe their mate won't instantly walk away from them for saying "no" or refusing to give them what they want. They may be at point where they don't care if they leave.

Suddenly someone feels like a victim of "bait and switch".

The reality is you don't really know how compatible you are with someone until after you've had a few major disagreements and misunderstandings. Only then do you become aware of each other's boundaries, expectations, and "deal breakers".

All of those early conversations are "hypothetical" and as was mentioned before if someone thinks you're "hot"; they're going to try and do whatever they believe (you) want in order to win you over.

Therefore enjoy the "infatuation phase" for what it is but don't fool yourself into thinking you naturally speak the same love language.

Once you realize you don't speak the same language you have a choice. You can find out if compromise is an option or move on.

There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships. We either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have. Accept them (as is) or move on.

No one is "stuck" with anyone. Suffering is optional.