There are different ways to express love. Understanding the way you and your partner communicate is a crucial part of any good relationship or marriage.
The 5 Love Languages
The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, describes the ways different people give and feel love and how couples can use this understanding to improve their relationship. Many of the problems married couples face today are simply a result of feeling and expressing love in different ways.
Love is important in order to live a full and fulfilling life. The author suggests a way to measure love in order to gauge whether your emotional needs are being met. This is done by paying attention to your love tank. Just as a car can’t drive without gas, you can’t function without love, and if your need for love and affection isn’t adequately met you’ll end up with an empty tank. Keeping your love tank full is an essential component of a healthy marriage or relationship. All solid relationships require fuel.
Every relationship starts with a honeymoon period. Eventually, the euphoria of falling in love starts to fade. This initial phase clouds our judgment. Suddenly, when this stage is over traits that you found cute in the beginning start to annoy you. When the honeymoon period is over the only way to strengthen your relationship and enjoy long-lasting love is through communication.
The first phase of attraction that gets relationships started is called the in-love phenomenon. An in-depth study performed by psychologist Dorothy Tennov showed that the average lifespan of most relationships that centered around romance was only two years! The reason is that once the excitement of falling in love wears off reality starts to set in. To survive this difficult transition it’s essential for every couple to build an emotional atmosphere that lets them work through differences and fulfill each other’s emotional needs. The first step in building a relationship based on real love after this first phase is based on effective communication. So, as this feeling of infatuation fades, it’s essential for couples to work on emotional communication that can sustain their relationship over the long haul.
The author explains that there are five different languages or ways to express love. Different people feel and express love differently and in order to have a good relationship or marriage, it is very important to understand how you and your partner communicate. You need to understand your partner’s love language in order to enjoy a loving long-lasting relationship.
People feel and express love differently, and understanding your partner’s love language is key to a long-lasting relationship.
It’s uncommon for a person’s love language to correspond exactly with that of their partner. Therefore, this requires couples to devote the necessary time to discover the nuances of one another’s love language. Once you reach this understanding you will be able to fill your partner’s love tank. This will help both you and your partner excel while supporting your relationship.
How do you identify which love language your partner is speaking?
Words of Affirmation
The first language of love is words of affirmation. These are words of admiration, praise, and encouragement. How do you speak this love language? You simply give verbal compliments. This is most effective when done in a simple and straightforward manner. For instance, you might tell your partner that they look great in a new outfit, praise their ability to do something or tell them how much you appreciate their sense of humor.
You can check out our list of love affirmations for inspiration and adapt them to your partner. Keep the affirmation list in your journal and scan them once in a while to get ideas if complimenting doesn’t come naturally to you.
Words of affirmation can also be very useful when you want to request something from your partner. When requests are heard as demands, the potential for intimacy deflates and you risk scaring your partner off. So, it’s important to make sure your words are interpreted as a request, meaning you’re giving guidance, not an ultimatum. Instead of nagging your partner to do something that they are not doing, compliment him every time he does something you like. Giving verbal compliments is a much better incentive than criticism.
Words of Affirmation Love Language Examples
- Giving verbal compliments and praise, such as “You look beautiful today”, “I admire you” or “I appreciate all that you do for our family.”
- Leaving love notes or heartfelt messages for your partner to find
- Telling your partner how much they mean to you and how much you love them
- Giving verbal encouragement and support, such as “I believe in you” or “You can do this.”
- Acknowledging and praising your partner’s efforts and accomplishments, such as “I’m so proud of you for finishing that project”
- Using positive words and phrases, such as “Thank you,” “I’m sorry,” and “I love you,” to express your feelings and show appreciation for your partner.
- Verbalizing your affection and appreciation for your partner in front of others.
- Recognizing and expressing gratitude for the small things your partner does for you and the relationship.
- Telling your partner how much your relationship means to you.
Say the following to your partner:
- Our relationship is very important to me
- I am so thankful that you are my partner
- Thank you for being there for me
- I appreciate everything you do for me
The second language of love is quality time. How do you speak this language? Spend quality time with your partner and give them your undivided attention. It’s not enough to simply be together in the same room. Quality time is about focusing on your partner and nothing else, even if there are distractions in the background. Spending quality time with your partner is a great way for both of you to feel loved, respected, and appreciated. It isn’t enough to simply be next to each other. You have to either engage in quality conversations or do quality activities together. A quality activity is something that one or both people want to be doing. It’s not so much about the event as it is an opportunity to express love for each other.
Quality Time Love Language Examples
- Taking the time to do something your partner enjoys
- Making date nights a priority and something you don’t miss
- Not looking at your phone when spending time with your partner
- Spending time drinking coffee together in the morning
Quality Time Ideas
The key to this love language is undivided attention. The idea is to focus on your partner and nothing else.
- When you are with your partner maintain eye contact.
- When your partner is talking to you, stop doing whatever you were doing and don’t interrupt.
- Observe your partner’s body language and listen for feelings (happy, sad, excited, worried, etc).
- If your partner enjoys a specific activity that you don’t enjoy do it together. Use this as an opportunity to express your love (if your partner’s love language is quality time).
The third language of love is receiving gifts. Gifts are physical symbols of love that materially express the love one person has for another. Surprising your partner with regular gifts, regardless of their monetary value, is a great way to show love and affection. The gifts can be made, bought, or found.
What kind of gifts should you give? If you don’t know you’re your partner would like to receive then keep track of all the presents that brought them excitement or joy over the years, whether they were from you or someone else. You can also consult friends and family who might know what your partner really wants.
For people who speak the love language of receiving gifts, monetary value is not the main focus. In fact, the value lies in the whole process – from having the idea to give a gift, to going out to get or make it and, finally, the gesture of presenting this symbol of love to your partner.
The gift can even be the gift of self – being there whenever your partner needs you.
- Spending time finding the perfect gift for your partner
- Bringing flowers or candy when you go on a date or on your way home if you live together
- Giving small gifts for no reason
- Getting them things you know they want
- Get a photo of the two of you framed
Acts of Service
The fourth language of love is acts of service this means doing useful things for your partner.
How do you speak this language? Go out of your way to do helpful things for your partner that you know they will appreciate. It is important to note that just as you can’t demand love, you can’t demand acts of service from your partner. Nor can they from you. These acts of service need to be voluntary. So, instead of asking what your partner can do for you, ask what you can do for your partner.
Your partner’s criticisms about your behavior provide you with the clearest clue to his/her primary love language. People tend to criticize their partner most often in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.
Acts of Service Love Language Examples
- Giving your partner a massage
- If your partner has something broken you can either fix it or have it fixed
- Doing something for them that you know they don’t enjoy doing
- Make breakfast in bed
- Make them coffee in the morning
- Making their favorite meal
- Put their favorite candy bar on the pillow
- Pack them a special lunch for work or school
- Do their chores for them
- Ask them what you can do for them and do it
- Take all their photos and organize them in an album
- Organize their digital photos in folders
- Backup their computer for them
- Book a reservation at their favorite restaurant
In order to find love language acts of service examples that your partner will appreciate think of things that your partner would find useful or enjoyable and not things you would like someone to do for you. If you are not sure what your partner would like then ask them. If they have asked for things in the past that you didn’t do then now is a great time to do them.
The fifth language of love is physical touch. If physical touch is your partner’s main language of love, you can communicate your love through physical touch – things like holding hands, kissing, hugging, etc. Make an effort to touch your partner whenever you can. You must touch your partner in a manner that feels good to them. If you are not sure then ask.
Physical Touch Love Language Examples
- Cuddling in bed.
- Hugging or being affectionate.
- Holding hands while walking or sitting together
- Hugging each other when you greet or say goodbye
- Massaging each other’s shoulders or back
- Holding or touching each other while sitting close together
- Being physically close to each other, such as sitting next to each other on the couch or sitting close at a restaurant
- Holding your partner while they sleep
- Kissing each other goodnight or good morning
- Taking a walk together with your arms around each other
It’s important to note that physical touch as a love language doesn’t necessarily imply a sexual context. It is about affection, closeness, and being connected to your partner. Physical touch can be a powerful way to express love and intimacy, and it is important to find ways to make it a priority in the relationship, whether it be through a small touch or a long cuddle session.
- When you are walking on the way somewhere hold your partner’s hand
- When someone else is around you can try hugging or kissing them
- Give your partner a massage
- Try taking a couples massage course
How do you tell which is your primary love language?
Ask yourself what you most often request of your partner. It’s likely that the things you ask for the most are the things that you find most emotionally fulfilling.
What comes to mind when you want to feel truly appreciated? Perhaps it’s spending time with someone or receiving praise.
Once you know what feels good, consider what your partner does or failed to do that hurts you. Sometimes analyzing what caused you pain can help you to find your love language.
Once you pinpoint your and your partner’s love languages, be sure to use that understanding to improve your relationship. After all, communication is what true love is all about.
How will it help you to learn and use your partner’s love language?
Using your partner’s love language can help improve communication and strengthen your relationship in several ways:
- It shows that you care and understand them: When you speak your partner’s love language, it demonstrates that you understand and respect their needs, and that you are willing to put in the effort to make them feel loved and appreciated.
- It helps to build trust and intimacy: By making an effort to understand and speak your partner’s love language, you can create a deeper connection and trust with them, as they feel that their needs are being met and that they are truly understood.
- It can help to resolve conflicts: When you understand and speak your partner’s love language, it can help you to communicate more effectively and resolve conflicts more easily.
- It can improve emotional connection: when you know the love language of your partner and you speak it, it helps to increase emotional connection and intimacy in your relationship.
- It can make your partner feel valued: When someone feels valued and loved in the way they understand, they tend to respond positively and feel more secure in the relationship.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s love language is different and that it can change over time. It’s important to check in with your partner regularly and ask how they feel loved and valued, and to make an effort to speak their love language in a way that feels authentic for both of you.