Did you feel misunderstood in your last relationship? Are you having problems with your spouse in expressing love? Perhaps you and your spouse/partner may be speaking entirely different love languages. The concept of love language was first introduced in the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, the marriage counsellor and radio talk show host. First published in 1992, the book stresses on the 5 different expressions of love, understood and received by different people. Gary Chapman’s 5 love languages are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Each of these love languages are important and help in expression of love. Understanding the language of the partner/spouses helps to strengthen the bond in the relationship. For it’s more important to give what is desired and expected rather than using guesswork to make the marriage work. Similarly, being understood as to what our own love language is, creates more satisfaction and increases chances of everlasting bond. Identifying your own needs, wants and desires (and that of your partner) is the way forward to understand the love languages and to maintain healthy relationship in your present relationship as well as in all important connections in life.
The 5 love languages
Each of us need different things in a relationship. Two people in a relationship may be catering to different love languages. An understanding of what makes the partner feel loved and cared greatly helps in strengthening the relationship.
Here is a lowdown on the 5 love languages.
Words of affirmation
People disposed to words of affirmation need to hear reaffirmation of love again and again. The partner has to communicate their appreciation directly, through written notes or voice message, reiterating their love. Including the reason for appreciation in kind words further deepens the connection in the relationship. Partners who thrive on this language of love need to hear “thank you” for doing the chores in the relationship, instead of being complimented. The partner sees affirmation as an acknowledgement from the other partner as to the value they bring to the relationship.
Acts of service
The acts of service language stresses on easing the burden of the partner in a relationship. People who flourish on this language of love appreciate what the partner does (in action), rather than the words or gifts coming their way. Partners in this relation have to be forthcoming in making life easier by cooking breakfast, doing the laundry or helping with a chore without being asked. Ability to anticipate the needs of the partner is viewed as a way of valuing and caring for them. Such acts are a demonstration expressing appreciation of the partner, suggesting that the other partner wants to reduce the burden and make the relationship workable.
People thriving on this love language are not materialistic, although the name suggests. They value well-thought gifts as an expression of love – it’s like saying the partner is missed when away. High valued gifts are not necessary here. Simple things like a bunch of flowers or a favourite dessert reveals the intent and effort behind the action. The gifts are a token to be reviewed & reflected, and feel valued as the act tells the partner about the advanced planning and thought that went behind the act. Picking the right gift is important as it tells that you know your partner well.
Quality time love language requires undivided attention from the partner. If a partner identifies love with quality time spent together then nothing else is likely to bring satisfaction. It’s not enough sitting side by side, what matters more is giving attention to the partner without being distracted by other things on a date night or during breakfast. Listening to the partner without checking the phone or surfing through the channels is a way of telling the partner that the effort they put into the relationship is valued and you care. It includes doing things together and talking while preparing dinner, eating it together or making future plans.
People who identify with this language seek physical touch as an expression of love. Such partners feel connected in the relationship when touch is involved. They feel appreciated and valued when there is hand holding, hugs or touching of an arm during conversations. In this love language the partner may not have high libido, but they definitely want to feel cuddled and enjoy lingering hugs. When physical touch is the primary love language, no amount appreciative words or gifts will satisfy the partner – only physical closeness along with emotional connect will work in the relationship.
An understanding of the five love languages is a great way to connect to your partner and strengthen the relationship. It is definitely a guide for singles looking for meaningful relationship. Get an insight into the various love languages to understand yourself, and your needs and desires in a relationship.