Gary Chapman opened a new avenue for romantic connection with his 1992 book, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.” Simply put, it breaks down five ways in which humans may experience or interpret love. These avenues, in which one receives stimuli and interprets them as a gesture of love, are called “love languages.”
The five love languages are:
1. Words of Affirmation
Simply put, these are words of praise and adoration. They’re simple compliments that remind your partner that you appreciate them and value their presence in your life. Something as simple as “You look beautiful today” or “I’m so happy you’re here with me” could keep your partner feeling loved all day long.
2. Acts of Service
As its name implies, “Acts of Service” entails putting in the time to show your partner that you care for them through an action. It can be romantic in nature or something intended to ease their daily burden. You could take out the trash for them or prepare breakfast in bed—anything to communicate your love through a service.
3. Receiving Gifts
This one is slightly deceiving. It doesn’t mean dropping large amounts of money on extravagant, luxury gifts for your partner. Rather, it means that giving your partner small items that they can enjoy—a DVD rental from Redbox for a movie night in, just-because flowers—goes a long way. Someone who interprets receiving gifts as love will feel fulfilled when you give them small, thoughtful objects that show you care.
4. Quality Time
Having a partner with this love language means that they will interpret your physical presence as love. Taking the time to watch TV together or have a meaningful, late-night conversation will do the trick. A person with this love language is looking for commitment in the form of undivided attention and time together without distractions.
5. Physical Touch
If this is how your partner interprets love, they are looking for a sense of safety and security through skin-to-skin contact. They feel connected to you through direct, physical contact like kissing or holding hands.
Learning your partner’s love language will enable you to more effectively communicate with them. If your partner seems unresponsive to your romantic efforts, it could be because you’re speaking in the wrong love language for them. If so, they will never be able to interpret your actions as loving ones. Even if you have the best intentions, your partner will not react to your gestures the way you’d like them to. For example, giving someone with a Physical Touch love language a handful of sweet compliments after a stressful day at work will not be beneficial for them. Even though you’re trying to be thoughtful, they need to be held and physically reassured of their importance.
The survival rate of a romantic relationship is based on how much everyday maintenance you put in to nurture the other person and look after their needs. So much conflict in relationships arises from two people simply failing to understand the other. If you knew how your partner interpreted love, you could better provide reassurance or soothe them. Learning each other’s love languages can ease tension, provide comfort, and simplify your daily interactions. You won’t need to worry about how to make your partner happy—you’ll already have a clear understanding of how to do just that.