There are always ways to improve in our relationships. I am constantly looking for ways to better my relationship with my husband by becoming a better person and a better wife for him. Before we got married I read Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, as a way to do that.
If you haven’t read The Five Love Languages, I absolutely recommend it! The book helps to identify the different ways that people feel loved, and helps you identify which love language you speak, as well as the love language your partner speaks. When we understand how to speak the love language of our partner, we can better communicate our love with them. It’s such a simple, yet profound concept.
I heard about this book through many sources, so when my sister came home with a copy, I was excited to dive in! What I loved most about the way it was written was that it was short and to the point. I read the entire book over the course of a three hour plane flight (ironically, to go visit Connor), and I absorbed every word.
This post will focus on identifying characteristics of the five love languages, and describe some examples from my own relationship.
Not sure what your love language is? If you would like to identify which love language you speak, and I think it would be worthwhile, click this link to take a short quiz on The Five Love Languages website!
Ok, now let’s get started!
The five love languages are: words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch. I think we all speak all five love languages at some point, but Dr. Chapman explains in the book that we all speak specific languages more clearly than others. Connor and I both speak two primary love languages, but all five manifest in our relationship in one way or another.
Words of Affirmation
Words of Affirmation is the love language that focuses on using words to demonstrate love and affirm your loved one. Individuals who speak this love language need to hear kind words, compliments, and “I love you” in order to feel loved and appreciated. They want to hear that they are special. Words resonate deeply with these people, and can satisfy their needs of love if they are used in the right way.
This is the love language that my husband speaks. He beams when I compliment him or tell him how proud I am of him. Honestly, he feeds off of it! Even when he hears words of affirmation from others, I can tell that it makes his day and motivates him. For my husband, words speak louder than actions.
Because he speaks this love language, my husband also uses words to show his love for me. My husband compliments me all the time, and uses words to try to make me feel better when I’m upset. This is natural for him, because this is his love language. It is sweet but, because I do not speak this love language the way my husband does, his words do not always mean as much to me as intended. That is why it is so important to not only understand the love language that you speak, but to understand the language your loved ones speak as well.
Receiving Gifts is the love language that focuses on the act of giving and receiving gifts and, primarily, the motive behind it as a way to show love. To people who speak this love language, a gift means “I love you” and “I was thinking about you and how much you mean to me”. Gift giving should not be saved for birthdays and holidays alone, but should manifest as random acts of love throughout the year.
This love language is mine all the way. At first, I did not like that this was my primary love language, because it made me think of myself as materialistic. But, this love language has nothing to do with materialism whatsoever! It has to do solely with the motive behind the gift giving. For me, the action of giving speaks much louder than words.
The other night, Connor went to the gym while I made dinner. When he returned home, he walked in with a small flower that he had picked off of a bush. He wanted to give it to me because it made him think of me and he thought I would like it. The flower didn’t cost him anything, but to me it said “you were on my mind” and I find myself still smiling about it a week later.
Quality Time is the love language that focuses on showing love by spending undivided time together. Connor and I, thankfully, share this love language. Sometimes, all we need is to spend time together. We love going to the grocery store and going on little adventures together because we just love being together!
Quality times means turning off the electronics and devoting that time to one another. It means sacrificing other things (work, television, social media) to focus your attention on one another.
When Connor was at West Point, it was extremely hard to speak this love language, because we often had no time to devote solely to each other. I would feel the most upset when I hadn’t talked to Connor on the phone for a few days, because, to me, I felt as though he wasn’t making time for me and therefore didn’t love me. Even though that wasn’t true, I took it this way because I speak this love language. So, the most important part of speaking this love language is sacrificing for time with your loved one.
Acts of Service
Acts of Service is the love language that focuses on doing things for your loved one to show them that you care. For people who speak this language, actions literally speak louder than words. Dr. Chapman illustrates this love language as doing random acts of kindness for your loved one. This can mean anything from cleaning the kitchen to bringing him lunch.
While I do not need people to do acts of service for me, I really enjoy doing things for Connor. I love making him lunch and I love making his house a sanctuary for him to come home to. This is one of the ways that I show my love for him.
Physical Touch is the love language that focuses on the simple act of physical contact as a way to show and receive love. Mind you, this has nothing to do with sexual touch. It is much more innocent than that. Those who speak the physical touch love language like to be in contact with other people. Are you a hugger? Physical touch is probably one of your love languages, because you show love and receive love through hugs.
Physical touch is neither Connor nor my primary love language, but we still show each other love by simple acts of touch. We are always holding hands! When we walk down the street, when we are at dinner with friends, and when we are watching a movie at home. It’s rare that we aren’t holding hands or cuddling (obviously cuddling is restricted to home). Even though this isn’t one of my primary love languages, I feel loved when he puts his arm around me.
Sometimes, showing love in the right way has to be an intentional act. Sometimes, we have to be active in figuring out what makes our loved ones feel appreciated. Communication is key in any relationship, and that includes speaking in different love languages.
The greatest part about the five love languages is that it gives us an insight into our loved ones needs. So, take some time this week to identify your loved one’s love language, and then take the time to act on it.
If you’re not sure how to speak to your loved one in different love languages, I will give some examples in the next few blog posts, so stay tuned!