It is estimated that there are nearly 1,000 human languages being spoken in the world. Within continents, countries and even communities, individuals interact and speak to one another in their native tongues.
While we might like to believe that spoken language is also the key to unlocking or strengthening relationships, there are five languages that don’t make the list of worldwide languages; in fact, most of them don’t have a linguistic foundation at all.
In his extensive research and well-praised 1995 book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, psychologist Gary Chapman discovered that in romantic relationships, each partner has a primary love language. A love language is the way that we most easily and naturally feel loved and express love. And when someone expresses their love to us through one of the other four love languages, it either isn’t felt as much or not even noticed at all.
So what are these five love languages?
This is pretty obvious. You feel most loved when someone gives you a gift. Could be a Porsche. A bouquet of tulips. Or a can of SPAM. It’s often more about the actual act of giving than the gift itself. Of course, paying good attention to what the other person likes is important, too.
You feel most loved and cared for when someone spends time with you, focusing their full presence and attention on you. This is where going for an evening stroll with your girlfriend will give you brownie points. Or lazily reading the Sunday paper together in bed. It’s less about what you do, than the mere fact that you’re both doing something nurturing together.
Words of Affirmation
Actually saying “I love you.” Texting him how much you appreciate him picking you up at the airport on a cold, rainy night. With this love language, you feel most loved when someone says or writes their love and appreciation for you. Sure, you could buy her all the fancy jewelry in the world, but you could probably save your money and have her feel much more loved if you just said “I love you” a lot more often.
Acts of Service
If you’ve ever washed the mountain of dishes after a wild dinner party and your woman seemed to overreact with gratitude, then she probably has this as her primary love language. This one is easy to express if you’re already naturally helpful and thoughtful in doing favors for people.
Personally, I feel this is one language that was most fascinating to discover that not everyone feels loved when they receive it. I couldn’t imagine walking down the street without holding my lady’s hand or guiding her lower back as we walk through the busy restaurant. Or loving when one of my buddies puts his hand on my shoulder when having a bromance moment.
Expressing this physical language can be as light or as intimate as you want. Obviously this is also where cuddling, sex and making out are great.
Knowing about these love languages has been a huge help in my relationships, not just romantic ones, but with family and friends, too. If I love you, why not find out what is the easiest and most effective way to express that to you? It’s painful for me to think that I could be saying how much I love you, but if it’s innocently not in the right love language it never even pops on your radar. It’s denying both of us the gift of giving and receiving love.
So what do you do with this information? Who really cares? One helpful discovery was to actually combine your expressions of the love languages.
Cuddle while watching a movie after you’ve cooked her a five-course meal?
Physical touch + quality time + acts of service
Bringing home a six-pack of his favorite pale ale and telling him how much you love how hard he works to provide for you and your family?
Gifts + words of affirmation
Giving her a back rub while telling her you’ll take care of the kids this weekend so she can go on a solo weekend spa getaway?
Physical touch + acts of service + gifts
You may be asking yourself: “Do I have to find a partner with the same love language as me?” While that might seem like a natural and ideal fit, it’s not necessary. What is necessary is figuring out what both your love languages are. And communicating about them.
So get the book. Visit the website. Take the free online test. Or simply have a conversation about the love languages with your partner or the person you’re just starting to date, or your friends and family, and watch as your intimacy and communication blossoms.