“For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships.
Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardships our lot in life” (Chapman).
As human beings we all crave to love and to be loved – to have a companion and life partner to live out the days of our lives. A successful partnership cannot just live on honeymoon stage love alone because that heart-pounding, giddy high of a new love will start to fade if not properly fed with what your partner needs. Sometimes even the most well-intentioned acts of love can fall by the wayside if they are not speaking to your partner’s love language. Speaking your partner’s love language shows that you are choosing to feed that love.
Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. I need to be loved by someone who chooses to love me, who sees in me something worth loving. That kind of love requires effort and discipline. It is the choice to expend energy in an effort to benefit the other person, knowing that if his or her life is enriched by your effort, you too will find a sense of satisfaction … (Chapman).
So, you’re ready to put in the extra effort needed to feed the love between you and your partner, but you aren’t sure what love language to speak. The five love languages is a concept developed by Gary Chapman, Ph.D., in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Chapman defines the five love languages as five different ways of expressing and receiving love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. According to Chapman, “Love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself”.
Let’s dive into the five love languages and how to speak them to your partner!
Words of Affirmation
People with this love language value verbal declarations of love. Whether that is saying “I love you” and expressing how much your partner means to you or noticing your partner’s new hair cut and telling them how beautiful or handsome he/she looks.
In the digital age that we are living in now, that can look a little different, in the form of “Good Morning” text messages and social media posts about your loved one.
Quality time together as a couple can show love without having to say a word. If this is your partner’s love language, choosing to spend your time with him/her over anything or anyone else, will have him/her feel adored and special. Undivided time and attention, paired with active listening, shows that you are fully present and invested in your partner and what they have to say.
Date nights are a go-to for quality time. This activity allows you both to get out of your routine, away from your responsibilities, either indulging yourselves with a night on the town or a new experience. It doesn’t matter what you do, just that you do it together.
This one is almost too obvious, but sometimes we all need a little reminder that if gifts are your partner’s love language, a thoughtful gift, however big or small, will keep on giving. When in a serious relationship or especially when married, gifts almost seem unnecessary. What’s mine is yours, right? You’re sharing your money and your budgets, so splurging on an expensive watch, or a diamond necklace just doesn’t seem practical. And after all, we know our partner will understand. But it is not about the monetary value of a gift, instead the symbolic thought of giving that gift.
Gift-giving shows people with this love language that their partner was thinking of them when they saw this tangible item and chose to gift it to them because they knew it would make them happy and their happiness is the goal.
If this is your partner’s love language, consider small surprises, like his/her favorite coffee and breakfast treat in the morning before he/she heads out to work, or even better, a gift that you made, like a homemade card or a painting.
Acts of Service
Actions speaker louder than words for people with this love language. If your partner’s love language is acts of service, they want you to show how you love him/her by doing things that help make his/her life easier. For instance, giving a hand with daily chores around the house, washing the car, or taking care of your loved one when they are sick.
Last but certainly not least, is physical touch. These people feel loved when they receive physical signs of affection, like a hug, kiss, cuddle, or physical intimacy. Not only do people with this love language feel appreciated when physically touched, but they also feel that their needs are prioritized above their partner to be satisfied. Touch can result in an overwhelming and passionate connection between a couple with this love language.
“People do not get married planning to divorce. Divorce is the result of a lack of preparation for marriage and the failure to learn the skills of working together as teammates in an intimate relationship” (Chapman).
Understanding the love language of your partner, can help manifest a deeper understanding of each other and therefore a deeper connection.