The 5 Love Languages is a book written by Dr Gary Chapman. It had been on my reading list for years. Recently, I decided to plunge in and I also took the love language test.
Understanding the way I love and perceive to be loved was life-changing. Since finding out what my main love languages are, my past experiences started to make more sense to me.
Learning about love languages has also allowed me to rethink relationships. I learned each one of us has a primary love language, which may be different from our partners, family members, or friends.
Many issues can arise when love languages are not understood or cared for. Such differences can impact the quality of our relationships and the way we feel and give love.
The 5 Love Languages
In total, there are 5 love languages:
- Physical Touch:
Physical touch and accessibility bring safety, security, and reassurance
- Acts of Service:
Actions speak louder than words
- Gift Giving/Receiving:
A thoughtful gift means being seen and remembered
- Words of Affirmation:
Words speak more than actions
- Quality Time:
“Being there” is paramount, quality conversations, quality activities
We tend to be personally more fluent in one or two love languages. For instance, my primary and secondary love languages are physical touch and quality time. Would you like to discover what your primary love language is? You can find yours when doing this free love language online test.
Learning about love languages helped me understand myself and others much better in matters of affection. For instance, people may say I’m a good writer, a good listener, a good this or that. However, none of these has a massive impact on what Dr Gary calls the “love tank”.
They are not representative of my primary language. Although I find words lovely, they don’t communicate directly with my heart. To give you a concrete example, here is what usually happens to me: an I love you that is not backed up by action or focused attention will eventually lose its meaning or impact over time.
When we receive love in our love language, it becomes easier for us to understand and feel we are loved. That’s why loving someone and making that person feel loved can be two very different aspects and experiences.
Do you want to learn even more?
Get the book here:
The Impact of Learning About The 5 Love Languages
Before getting familiar with Dr Chapman’s work, I had no idea that I had a particular way of feeling and experiencing love. As a result, I used to rationalize my unmet needs a lot.
My partners did not appreciate the importance of quality of time as much as I do. They had different primary love languages (e.g. gifts, words of affirmation). As a result, I simply assumed I was hard to love. I thought I was demanding, too complex, or too picky.
I just have a particular way of feeling and expressing love, which I was not aware of. How can we make room or negotiate needs that we are not aware of? We can only do so when we know what our needs are and what is important for our wellbeing.
For me, love is about sharing time with another in a significant and thoughtful way. It requires intention and positive regard. It asks for undivided attention and sensitivity toward one’s likes and dislikes. For some people, this is often perceived or labelled as being “of high maintenance” because people seem to be always running out of time and availability.
Something in our nature cries out to be loved by another. Isolation is devastating to the human psyche. That is why solitary confinement is considered the cruellest of punishments.
— Gary Chapman
Working With Different Love Languages
Being involved in something physical during that time is equally important to me. I will give you a specific example. I crave adventure and newness, so going for a walk in the wild or having a good laugh fills up my heart.
I’m sure there are more ecstatic things for other people. Otherwise, the other love languages wouldn’t exist. Maybe love would be easier, but the truth is that each one of us gives and receives love differently.
According to Dr Chapman, to make sure love lasts we must find ways to understand, respect, and honour our partner’s love language. We must commit to knowing one another.
To give you a head start, here is the worst and the best you can do to show love to your partner based on their primary love language:
Giving and receiving love should be relatively easy, right?
We know that reality is more complex than that though. People perceive and feel love differently. Gary Chapman’s work teaches us that.
Whether you are in a romantic relationship or not, you can benefit from identifying your primary love language. You will know more about yourself and potentially improve the way you give and receive love.
If you wish to take a step further and learn more about love languages, I strongly recommend The 5 Love Languages book by Gary Chapman.