The concept of love languages was developed by Gary Chapman in his book The 5 Love Languages. He talks about how we express love in our relationships based on 5 love languages we all have.
We can go round believing everyone expresses love the same way as us but everyone is different in how they receive and give affection. With this knowledge, we can create a foundation for our relationships that help us deal with behaviours and conflict supporting the relationship in thriving.
It can be a real game changer as it gives us awareness and understanding. It definitely was for me. I remember dating a girl that had my primary love language as her least favourite. I didn’t know that back then and I felt uncared for when she didn’t reciprocate affection in the same way.
Let me give you a rundown of the five love languages.
Words of Affirmation
This means that affection, encouragement and acknowledgement through words make you feel loved. Insults hurt you and it can take a while for you to forget them.
How to communicate: Encourage, affirm, appreciate, empathize. Listen actively.
Actions to take: Send an unexpected note, text or card. Encourage genuinely and often.
Things to avoid: Non-constructive criticism, not recognizing or appreciating effort.
This means you like many forms of touch like being held, hugged and caressed. Someone’s physical presence is best at communicating how much they care for you.
How to communicate: Non-verbal – use body language and touch to emphasize love.
Actions to take: Hug, kiss, hold hands, show physical affection regularly. Have a snuggle alarm where you have one alarm in the morning to find each other to snuggle and then another one a bit later to actually wake up. Make intimacy a thoughtful priority.
Avoid: Physical neglect, long stints without intimacy, receiving affection coldly.
This means that gifts symbolise love for you. It shows the other person is thinking of you and it’s not about being materialistic it can be something simple and well thought out.
How to communicate: Thoughtfulness, make your spouse a priority, speak purposefully.
Actions to take: Give gestures and gifts thoughtfully, with and without special occasion. Even small things matter in a big way. Express gratitude when you’re given a gift.
Avoid: Forgetting special occasions.
You want to be surrounded by the people you love. Talking and listening with undivided attention. It could be through a phone call, carried out plans or just being in the same room together.
How to communicate: Uninterrupted and focused conversations. One-on-one time is critical.
Actions to take: Create special moments together, take walks and do small things with your spouse. Weekend getaways are huge.
Avoid: Distractions when spending time together, long stints without focused one-on-one time.
Acts of Service
You enjoy being assisted and actions mean more to you than words when it comes to showing and receiving love. It can be in the form of having a task done for you that you don’t enjoy or have something nice done unexpectedly.
How to communicate: Use action phrases like “I will” and “I’ll help…”. They want to know you’re with them, partnered with them.
Actions to take: Do chores together or make them breakfast in bed. Go out of your way to help alleviate their daily workload.
Avoid: Making the requests of others a higher priority, lacking follow-through on tasks.
Take this quiz on the authors’ website to find out which one is yours.
1. Physical Touch
2. Words of Affirmation
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Quality Time
5. Acts of Service
I’ve always been massive with touch and I guess when you are you notice how some people don’t react as favourably to it. You’ll see this in all my relationships touch means so much to me. I love hugging, caressing, holding hands with someone I am dating.
Encouraging words of affirmation also mean a lot to me. Being told nice things light me up. A gift also makes me feel special. As you can see quality time and acts of service are bottom of my list. They are still nice things but just doesn’t have the same impact as the higher ones.
What to do with this knowledge
Now we know our love language and when we figure out other peoples. We can use it as an effective system to enhance our relationships.
You can learn to adopt a new love language in adulthood if you understand how important it is. This is mature way to be in relationship as this change can do so much for you. One of my mentors always talks about doing the ONE thing that has the most impact in every area of your life.
One way to do this is once a week or every fortnight ask the question: how full is your love tank today on a scale of 1 – 10? If it’s less than 10 you can say what can I do to help fill it and the other person will give you an idea. You then have a choice then to do it or not but realise how much more love you could add to your relationships through this. It will also encourage your partner to fill yours ;).
You can apply this concept to yourself in the form of self-love.
Words of affirmation
Using powerful language to building yourself. Writing and speaking affirmations. Spending time with people that uplift, believe and encourage you.
Doing a physical activity that supports you, getting a massage and loving your body just the way it is.
Treating yourself to a delicious meal, investing in yourself, spending money on hobbies or a trip abroad.
Spending some time by yourself in nature, daily mindfulness practices like meditation and deep breathing, not overscheduling or over committing.
Acts of Service
Cook delicious healthy meals for yourself and keep your home environment clean, organised and aesthetically pleasing, serve a higher power, groom yourself with love and care.
At the Workplace
Words of Affirmation
Thank your colleagues regularly and tell them when they’ve done a great job. Say it in public to affirm them even more.
Touch is the least appropriate love language in the workplace. If this is the primary love language look to the secondary one. A firm handshake, pat on the back or touch on the shoulder are as far as you should go when showing your appreciation in this manner.
Small presents to your co-workers can show you value them. You could grab an extra coffee, lend them a book that would be helpful or getting the tab at lunch once in a while.
Go out with your co-workers outside of work, have quality conversations, spend lunch together and schedule one to one time.
Acts of Service
There are always some tasks that no one wants to do at work. You can offer to do them, especially when people are overwhelmed. Be the one to lend them that helping hand.
As you can see working with the five love languages can make all your relationships better not just with other people but the most important one which is with yourself.
I hope you found some value in this post. If you did please share / leave a comment with your thoughts below including your main love language!