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The Five Love Languages: What Are They and Why do They Matter?

Andrea has been an online writer for 8+ years. She mostly writes about dating, couples, weddings, travel, interior design, and gardening.

There are five ways people show their love.

There are five ways people show their love.

Incorporating Love Languages into Your Relationship

You’ve likely heard of the five love languages if you’ve ever come across a dating help site, gone to marriage counseling, or listened to podcasts from a dating expert.

The five love languages are the ways we communicate love to those we consider important. People express their feelings of love in different ways. As adults, we tend to express love in the ways we were taught as children.

It's also important to keep in mind that people don’t feel loved in the same ways as you, so you may have to learn a different form of communication so that those around you know they’re loved. It’s important to keep this in mind when you begin dating or get married.

My recommendation: Try expressing your love for your romantic partner by utilizing all five love languages. You want to get really good at predicting their needs. If you can ace all five of the love languages, your bond will likely get stronger.

Here are the five love languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Spending Time Together
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Touch

Who came up with the idea of love languages? Gary Chapman. He has written several books about the concept. If you want to learn more, buy his books or go to a library and check them out.

Some people feel loved when their partner compliments and reassures them. They understand love through their partner's words.

Some people feel loved when their partner compliments and reassures them. They understand love through their partner's words.

Words of Affirmation

People like to be complimented and reassured. The way you talk to your partner can make or break your marriage. Divorce doesn’t normally happen overnight; it builds over time. You want to say more positive things to your partner than negative things. Of course, you’ll have rough days. You’ll fall short of your ideals. You may even have a fight, not a physical one, from time to time. You want to minimize all of that and learn how to love your partner as yourself, be a voice of reason and comfort, and help build confidence.

Lawyers say after years and years of nagging, disapproval, and disgust people file for divorce. Generally, people don’t have one bad day that blew up to the point of divorce. Sure, there are explosive days like that where everything becomes unhinged, but that’s not normal overall. Marriages and relationships come undone slowly by words. Consider it like this: Words are the ingredients you season into your relationship.

So what can you do to be better at words of affirmation? Try the following:

  • Don’t be shy: Say I love you often.
  • Show gratitude: Thank yous can go a long way. Anything your partner did to support you, to make a difference, say thank you. Have good manners. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you should drop the ball on manners, that’s how you take your partner for granted.
  • Look for new ways to compliment your partner. Compliment them in ways that help them to feel seen and understood.
  • Compliment them when they look great, compliment them when they say something smart, and compliment them when they’ve impressed you.

Your word choice is the core of your marriage. What you say and how you respond will determine whether the two of you have longevity. It’s a good idea to leave behind positive notes for your partner to read, buy them cards and fill them with notes, and make lists of the things they do that make your heart swoon.

Spending time together is how you invest in your relationship. You should want to spend time with your partner. You should have common activities you like doing together. Relationships = togetherness.

Spending time together is how you invest in your relationship. You should want to spend time with your partner. You should have common activities you like doing together. Relationships = togetherness.

Spending Time Together

Time contributed to a skill, an activity, and your relationship are all investments. It’s easy to get bogged down by a career or raising kids and forget to give time to your spouse. Here’s the thing though: You should prioritize your spouse over your kids. Why? Because kids are watching their parents to learn how to treat others. The way you model your marriage is what your kids will absorb into their adulthood.

Spend time with your partner and come up with unique experiences to help strengthen your bond. You should still go on dates even if you’ve been married for 20 years. You should go on vacations together and adventures just to see sunsets in gorgeous locations.

Time = investment. If you’re not spending time with your partner, you’re not really investing in them. You want to take your relationship off the couch and into more exciting places.

Work together. Design your home together. Build up common activities you both enjoy. A relationship is very obviously about togetherness, so you need a common core of things you do together.

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Don’t get too absorbed in creating a gigantic network of friends or becoming so reclusive that you spend all of your time in a room, alone, with the door locked. You should have friends and alone time, but don’t overdo it to the point that you don’t spend time with your partner.

Gifts are a creative way to show your partner that you care about them. Gifts are an abstract way of saying you understand your partner and you know how to meet their needs and wants.

Gifts are a creative way to show your partner that you care about them. Gifts are an abstract way of saying you understand your partner and you know how to meet their needs and wants.

Gifts

Gifts are a way that you can creatively show that you understand your partner. Don’t limit gift-giving to holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. People like surprise gifts too.

We all work hard for our money, so when someone uses that money to brighten your day, it can be taken as a major compliment. The nice thing about a marriage is your collection of gifts grows; you can live in a fortress of little nods to you and your partner.

You want to get gifts that are practical, gifts that are heartfelt and nostalgic, and gifts that show you put some effort and investment into them.

Flowers can brighten up someone’s day, especially if they’re a nice, lovely bouquet. Who doesn’t love a box of chocolates? Who doesn’t like looking around their room and seeing gifts they’ve collected that show their partner really understands and supports them? Artwork, special framed pictures, and decor pieces can be very meaningful.

My suggestion: make a list of gift ideas. Listen to what your partner is saying and also think about things that would make life easier. Writing out a list can help you organize your thoughts and is a good place to write down notes about things they say they want or need.

Also, if you make a list it can help you plan for the cost. Most people plan out when they’re going to buy an engagement ring. They save up their money to buy the sparkly rock. It takes time, thinking, and saving up to buy it.

If you want to buy your partner jewelry or something nice, then you need to think ahead and get organized with your money. It’s a major compliment if someone wants to invest in you in that way.

Beware: Some people try to buy your love with gifts. If they don’t know how to give love in any other way than gifts and expensive things, your bond might be artificial or weak.

When you care about your partner, you help them with the tedious tasks. You clean the dishes, you fill up the gas tank, you do errands together, you get taxes done, and you find better insurance.

When you care about your partner, you help them with the tedious tasks. You clean the dishes, you fill up the gas tank, you do errands together, you get taxes done, and you find better insurance.

Acts of Service

It’s really easy to miss that someone loves you when they take out the trash on a regular basis. I think when you’re more mature, you realize that someone does in fact love you when they’re willing to help with all the chores and tasks.

It takes a lot of energy to take care of a home, get all the errands done, and check off the lists. When someone is willing to put energy into getting stuff done, it means they love you. If they can’t be bothered to do anything, then they’re sedentary and kind of dormant in the relationship.

So what can acts of service look like? Here are a few examples:

  • When they fill up your car with gas — that way you can stay home and take care of other things.
  • Doing the dishes on a consistent basis.
  • Working together on taxes.
  • Cooking a nice meal for you.
  • Helping you find a better insurance company.
  • Helping you figure out what to do with your aging parents.
  • Making sure to take good notes or videos from events your kids are in that you miss because of work.
  • Cleaning up the cat vomit, so you don’t have to do that.
  • Calling in repair services, so you don’t have to call them yourself.
  • Setting up doctors’ appointments.

It can be hard to tell that acts of service are acts of love. You have to stop and think about the fact that what they’re doing is somewhat tedious, and they’re doing it because they care about you, they want to add positive energy into the bond you share, and because they want to make your day easier.

One of the advantages of being paired up with someone is that you have another brain and two extra hands to get stuff done around the house. Being single and independent can be great, and at times lonely, but it definitely is harder to get stuff done as a party of one. You can scale up your life with another person, and conquer more of the chores and tasks. In a healthy relationship, you should feel supported and at ease knowing more stuff is getting done.

Don’t marry someone if they can’t lift a finger and won’t help you out. This is someone who will take advantage of you, and will put up a fight if you ask for help.

Couples should want to hug, hold hands, and kiss. Touch = intimacy. We show we are interested in someone through body language and touch. This shouldn't stop as your relationship ages.

Couples should want to hug, hold hands, and kiss. Touch = intimacy. We show we are interested in someone through body language and touch. This shouldn't stop as your relationship ages.

Touch

Touch isn’t just about what you do behind closed doors. It’s about building intimacy. You should still hold hands, hug, and give kisses even when you’ve been married for 40 years. Some people live for this stuff and put it as their #1 love language. Touch makes people feel affirmed. It feels good. Who doesn’t like a massage?

Touch is personal and makes people feel wanted and seen. We usually can tell who is falling for each other by those little touches from hand holding, shoulder touches, and a kiss on the cheek. You should feel comfortable sitting next to each other, you should cuddle up, and you definitely shouldn’t be squirming and resisting touch at all costs.

Take some dance classes if you need to re-spark this area. Touch = intimacy.

  • Greet each other with a kiss on the cheek and say goodbye with a hug.
  • Run your hand through their hair.
  • Start up a thumb war.
  • Give their shoulders a massage.
  • Initiate a game of footsie.
  • Exercise together.
  • Link arms.
  • Find new ways to give hugs.
  • Kiss their hand.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence

Comments

Andrea Lawrence (author) on April 08, 2021:

Thank you for your words. Love is a very strange thing indeed.

Andrea Lawrence (author) on April 08, 2021:

Gratitude is a powerful love language. These are wise words.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 07, 2021:

Love is such a word that people want to have love and some choose to not allow that in their lives. Languages of love is interesting from your point of view.

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on April 06, 2021:

Very nicely written.I also believe gratitude can also be a love language as it is one of the simplest ways to establish a positive connection with another human being and feeling good about it.Thanks for sharing

Ann Carr from SW England on April 06, 2021:

Interesting languages, all very important of course. Good advice to go with them.

Ann

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