What Are the Five Love Languages and Which One Is Mine?
Everyone expresses love in different ways, and that’s what the five love languages help us to understand. The five love languages were developed by a man named Gary Chapman. He is an American author, pastor, and radio host who set about trying to determine the different ways in which love was expressed. In the early 1990s, he published his book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate which has been a bestseller ever since.
Although most everyone enjoys each of these expressions of love, people tend to gravitate toward one category.
Below we’ll break down what each love language represents, and help you discover which language you most like to use to express and receive love yourself.
Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation is the expression of love verbally through compliments, encouragement, and declarations of love and gratitude for that person. Ways that you can express love to someone whose primary love language is words of affirmation are asking about their day, telling them often how much they mean to you, sending text messages and notes throughout the day, and uplifting and encouraging them when they seem down.
Quality time is best described as uninterrupted and meaningful time spent with someone else. This means it is a purposeful experience you are creating and enjoying with this person. There should be no distractions like cell phones, television, etc. because you are intentionally choosing to give this person your full and undivided attention. A few key ways to ensure you’re spending quality time together is to practice active listening, making eye contact, and asking lots of questions to ensure the other person knows you are fully engaged and present in the moment.
Gifts have always been used to show our affection and appreciation for others, so it’s no surprise that receiving gifts is one of the most common love languages. These gifts don’t necessarily have to be extravagant or expensive, what’s most important is that it shows the time, effort, and consideration that went into choosing it for them. Small, thoughtful gifts free from any expectations of reciprocation can make a person feel special and loved. Some examples of these gifts could be experiential like a gift card to their favorite restaurant or a surprise spa day, but others can also be material items that mean a great deal to you personally like a favorite book or other possession.
Acts of Service
Acts of service can be both big and small. The main thing is that these acts of service are unexpected and thoughtful surprises that make them feel special, loved, or appreciated. Some examples of acts of service could be doing the dishes without being asked, offering to pick someone up from the airport, or running errands to help lend a hand and alleviate their stress. These acts of service should be unexpected and simply serve as an expression of your love and appreciation for the other person. The important thing to remember is that just saying yes to favors that are asked of you, or completing chores that are typically your responsibility won’t create the same feeling of gratitude that spontaneous and thoughtful acts of kindness will.
Physical touch is often used to comfort and reassure someone, and so it makes sense that many people crave human touch to feel loved and appreciated. People whose love language is physical touch enjoy holding hands, receiving a massage at the end of a long day, and being held when they’re feeling sad or upset. Being physically close to this person is the best way to show that you love and care about them.
What Is My Love Language?
When you’re trying to determine what your love language is, ask yourself a few questions about moments when you feel most seen and appreciated by someone else.
- Is it when they hold your hand or give you a hug?
- Is it when they watch your favorite show with you after work?
- Is it when they fold your laundry for you without you having to ask?
- Is it when they tell you how much they appreciate aspects of your personality?
- Is it when they surprise you with that book you mentioned wanting to read?
If you’re having trouble figuring out exactly what your love language is, you can take Dr. Chapman’s 30-question quiz right here.
Why Are Love Languages Important?
Love languages help you better understand yourself and the people in your life that you care about. By figuring out which of these love languages most resonates with you, you’re able to create and find relationships that fill you up with feelings of appreciation and self-worth. You can also better express the love you feel for your partner, your friends, and your family in a way that will be most meaningful to each of them individually. By learning more about the love languages, you’ll be able to build stronger relationships with everyone in your life, including yourself.