We all love love. We all want to be loved and feel truly, deeply valued. But did you know that we all love differently?
Turns out that we receive love in unique and personal ways. You might feel most cherished when someone gives you a stunning bouquet of flowers and a touching, hand-written note... while your best friend most appreciates a dinner out and someone to help her clean the house.
This concept - that we give and receive love differently - is at the heart of the Five Love Languages.
In his groundbreaking book The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman defines five different love styles. Each style is a love "language."
A love language is the way someone likes to be loved and feels most appreciated.
Learning your own love language, as well as that of your partner, is the best way to love and be loved.
It’s quite likely that you and your spouse will have different love languages. If so, no problem! Simply adjust your approach and do more in the way your partner wants to be loved. And in return, ask for your spouse to do more of what makes you feel truly valued. In short, speak in your partner's love language and ask him to do the same.
If you do both of these things, you’re bound to see and feel more love in your everyday life.
Chapman’s Five Love Languages:
Type 1: Words of Affirmation
People who value verbal compliments, such as “Wow, you look beautiful in that dress,” and those who desire encouragement are Words of Affirmation types. Loving comments and statements of appreciation, like “You’re an incredible photographer, these pictures turned out great!” are what this type craves most. When talking to a Words of Affirmation type, It's important that what you say be genuine and sincere, so avoid anything that sounds fake or canned.
Type 2: Quality Time
Spouses who are Quality Time types would like to spend alone time together, focusing only on each other (i.e., not on the football game on TV), while sharing inner feelings, thoughts, and emotions. People who treasure conversation about hopes and dreams while sharing a drink at a local coffee shop are most likely Quality Time types. Make sure to schedule undivided attention and conversation into every day if you're married to a Quality Time person. It doesn't need to be lots of time each day, maybe just a few minutes, but a little time every day is essential.
Type 3: Receiving Gifts
Most of us love to receive gifts, but this alone does not make someone a Gift type. Gift types value thoughtfulness and interpret gifts as a visual sign of love. They are not materialistic people, rather, they love that someone went out of their way to bring them something special. Any gift—big or small, expensive or casual—is likely to be appreciated, treasured and adored. The best way to make a Gifts type happy is to bring home little token gifts frequently, like picking up their favorite coffee on your way home. Also, be sure to make a big deal of birthdays and holidays... the gifts you give don't have to be very expensive, what matters more is how personal and thoughtful the gift is.
Type 4: Acts of Service
Acts of Service types feel most loved when their spouse does everyday things and household tasks to help make their life easier. An Acts of Service person would like to see their partner take out the trash, pay household bills, pick the kids up from soccer practice, fold the laundry and the like. Doing these kinds of tasks makes the Act of Service person feel cared for and helped - they are often very impressed by the planning, time, effort, and energy their spouse put into to make daily life a bit easier. To care for an Act of Service type, do some household or everyday task to help them. They'll love it!
Type 5: Physical Touch
Physical Touch types are perhaps the easiest types to spot. These people thrive on physical contact and crave all of the hugs, kisses, and physical attention you can give them. People of this type most want to be in close physical contact with their partner and want to be touched or held with some frequency. It's easy to make this type happy, just give them as much physical contact as you can - put your arm around them, hold their hand, touch their face. They crave loving touches!
Determining Your Love Language:
Answer these questions to determine your love language:
1. How do you show your love to others?
2. Think back to the moments when you felt most loved. What made them so memorable?
3. What do you really wish your partner knew about how to show you more love?
4. What do you complain about most often?
5. What do you save, keep, treasure, or hold on to most?
From your answers, look for a pattern....
Do you value physical closeness most? Wishing for more hugs, cuddling, and kisses? If so, your love language is likely the Physical Touch style.
Do you crave more alone time? Really wish your spouse would just stop what he's doing, sit down, and really listen to you? If so, your love language is probably Quality Time.
Do you love it when your spouse picks up your favorite wine or ice cream and surprises you with it? I think you're a Receiving Gifts type.
Do you save every romantic card your spouse has given you? I bet you're the Words of Affirmation type.
Do you melt when you see your husband washing the dishes or doing the laundry? Odds are, you're the Acts of Service type.
Now, let's figure out your spouse's love language....
Determining Your Partner’s Love Language
To determine your partner’s love language, which one of these statements would your spouse most agree with?
1. I feel most loved when my wife expresses feelings for me through physical contact, such as a hug or kiss.
2. I feel most loved when my spouse shows affection by taking care of errands, doing household chores, and doing favors for me.
3. I feel most loved when my spouse brings me a special gift.
4. I feel most loved when my partner pays attention to me, focuses on what I am saying, and plans to spend alone time with me.
5. I feel most loved when my partner tells me how grateful they are for me and talks about how much all the little things I do are appreciated.
These statements match up with these types:
Statement 5 = Words of Affirmation type
Statement 4 = Quality Time type
Statement 3 = Receiving Gifts type
Statement 2 = Acts of Service type
Statement 1 = Physical Touch type
After identifying your love style and your partner’s love style, communicate what you’ve learned... and make sure to do it in THEIR love language.
If you’re married to a Words of Affirmation type, tell them “I am so lucky to be married to you, you’re the most caring man in the world.” Then go on to tell your partner what you’ve learned and how you think it could help you both, make sure to tell them about your love style and how you’d really like to be loved.
If you partner is a Quality Time type, invite them for a quiet dinner and share your new knowledge. Make sure to start your dinner by asking about them and what's on their mind. Really pay attention and make sure your phone is nowhere in sight!
Perhaps you’re with a Gift type? If so, write a loving statement inside a cute note card and present this, along with a copy of The Five Love Languages book, as a gift.
If your spouse is the Acts of Service type, you're in luck... they're easy to make happy. Just do a little something to make their life easier. Help more around the house, get their car washed, offer to take a task off of their to-do list. They love being helped!
And Physical Touch types... guess what they want most? Yep, just to be touched. So do more of this in any way that feels right to you. It doesn't have to be sexual, it's more important that it feels loving and tender. Think of them like a puppy that is yearning to be held and pet!
By learning your love language and communicating in the love style of your partner, you’ll experience a deeper connection than you ever thought possible!
Want to discover more about the Five Love Languages?
And be sure to check out the Do's and Don'ts for fabulous communication in my Ultimate Guide To Effective Communication: