The 5 love languages come from the New York Times bestselling book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The love languages are about how you communicate your love to others, particularly your significant other(s), and how you prefer to receive affection from them in return. The love languages are mostly about compatibility in a relationship: making sure you and your partner express your affection for each other in ways that you each prefer, rather than in ways that don’t mean much to you.
The website for The Five Love Languages has a quiz you can take to determine which of the love languages you are particularly suited to receiving in a relationship. They say that a particular emphasis of the love languages is to learn how to better communicate your affection to others.
What are the five love languages?
1. Physical Touch
Physical touch is important in many, but not all, relationships. Physical touch is not only sexual intimacy, which can be unimportant to asexual people, but also any form of affectionate touch, such as hugging or holding hands. People who score high on physical touch may prefer to hug their partner after a long day rather than hear words of affirmation. The website for the book says that “physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.”
2. Quality Time
Quality time is not only about spending time together, but also about giving your undivided attention to someone. When you spend quality time together, it is important to talk about things with each other and pay attention to each other’s words. It is more than just watching the television together at night, and you should avoid bringing your phone out during any quality time activities.
3. Acts of Service
Acts of service are about “easing the burden of responsibilities weighing” on someone. This can be especially important if your partner suffers from mental illness, which can make doing basic tasks and chores seem impossible. Picking up a little bit of their slack can mean a great deal to them and be easy enough to accomplish. Not all gestures have to be large, although some can be–for example, looking after a loved one after surgery or when they are sick.
4. Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation can be an important aspect of communication within your relationships. If you or a loved one prefer words of affirmation, saying “I love you” and “I’m proud of you” can be a necessary part of your day. Hearing the words makes all of the difference.
5. Receiving Gifts
Who doesn’t like giving and receiving gifts? It’s like the holidays all year round! You don’t have to give expensive presents all the time if this is your preferred love language, or your partner’s preferred love language. Instead, pick up small things that make you think of them, like flowers or a key chain at a store. This language is about showing someone that you think about them and care enough to go out of your way to retrieve them something special.
Want to know more?
If you want to know more about the love languages and how to reach out to someone with a vastly different love language than you are used to showing, pick up a copy of Gary Chapman’s bestselling book.