While no two couples are the same, there are a few tips and tricks that can definitely make a difference when it comes to having a stronger relationship.
And according to Gary Chapman, a doctor of philosophy, counselor, and author, the key to having a lasting relationship is to know, and make use of, the five love languages.
Chapman was so adamant about these five love languages that he even wrote a self-titled book on it, which has been a New York Times Best Seller since 2007. His book was initially published in 1992, with a revision in 2015, and has sold over 13 million copies since it was published.
Bottom line? Gary Chapman seems to know what he’s talking about. Have you heard about the infamous five love languages?
The Five Love Languages: What’s the Premise?
Basically, it’s the concept that each individual has one (sometimes more) love language out of the five. The book introduces these five love languages, prompting the reader to decide which one they identify with.
It also teaches them how to discover their partner’s love language which, in turn, allows them to practice these languages in order to strengthen their relationship.
What Are the Five Love Languages?
1. Words of Affirmation
People who identify with this love language appreciate frequent verbal expressions and acknowledgments of affection.
This can be spoken or written, but encompasses things like, “I love you,” “You look beautiful,” or “Thank you for xyz”. This allows the person to feel respected and valued.
2. Acts of Service
People who identify with this love language are grateful when their partner does something thoughtful or nice for them, big or small.
An example would be receiving your favorite flowers, having the house cleaned when you’re not feeling well or being taken out for a meal.
3. Receiving Gifts
People who identify with this love language feel the most loved when their partner buys them things. To them, the symbolism behind said-gift is a way for them to feel cherished and valued. This is not necessarily to be mistaken with grand and expensive gestures.
In fact, the thoughtfulness and emotions behind the gift is what is equally as important as the gift itself. Even the smallest of things can bring about joy and happiness for people who have this love language.
4. Quality Time
People who identify with this love language feel their best when their partner wants to spend time with them. This time could be spent at home or going out on fun dates. To them, aspects such as eye contact, active listening and being fully present are important.
“This love language is all about giving your undivided attention to that one special person, without the distraction of television, phone screens, or any other outside interference,” says couples’ psychotherapist, Fariha Mahmud-Syed.
5. Physical Touch
People who identify with this love language feel most adored when they receive physical touch. This is not to be mistaken solely with sex however. This kind of touch involves hand-holding, hugging, kisses, cuddles and sometimes, sex.
To these individuals, physical touch can be a powerful way in which to connect emotionally with their partner, and for them to feel warmth and comfort.
What is Your Love Language?
After learning about the five love languages, which one do you feel is your love language? I ask this because knowing your love language is just as important as knowing your partner’s when it comes to a partnership.
Knowing yourself and what makes you happy is 50% of the success of your relationship. So, when you’re able to identify your love language, you’ll be better equipped to meet the emotional needs of your partner.
You could ask yourself:
How do I like to give and receive love?
When I want to show someone that I love or care about them, what do I do?
What makes me feel the most loved?
Sometimes, the way in which we show love and kindness is an indication of what kind of love we appreciate the most.
By engaging in a bit of introspection and learning more about yourself, you may be able to identify which love language you give and which love language you would like to receive.
How Can You Figure Out Your Partner’s Love Language?
If you’re having a difficult time deciphering what your partner’s love language is, ask yourself:
What makes them angry or annoyed?
What makes them feel valued or special?
What do they respond the most favourably to?
On top of that, you can eliminate the guesswork and simply talk to your partner. Ask them questions like:
Are there things that I do for you that make you feel special?
I have been doing xyz for you lately because I notice you’ve been feeling a bit down. Does that make you feel better and/or loved?
What are your ideal ways of showing love?
How do you like to show me love?
Examples of How to Communicate and Show Love Through a Love Language
Words of Affirmation: send your partner an unexpected text or note that’s encouraging, appreciative, affirming and positive.
Acts of Service: Do chores together, take on some of the responsibility using the phrase, “I’ll help with…”
Receiving Gifts: Be thoughtful in your gift-giving, whether the gift is big or small.
Quality Time: Make one-on-one time a priority. Spend time together without distractions.
Physical Touch: Use your body language, and make sexual and non-sexual intimacy a priority.
If you’re interested in learning more about the five love languages, and would like some clarification on which one you identify with, you could take a tailored quiz, depending on your relationship status.
And if you’re still on the fence about the whole thing, or your relationship in general, I’ll leave you with this piece of advice from psychotherapist, Stefani Goerlich:
“People are only incompatible when they are unwilling to learn and respond to their partner’s needs. Where there is willingness to adapt and grow, there is always the potential for long-term happiness.”