Years ago, I saw a quiz floating around Facebook telling me that it could strengthen and improve my relationship. I signed up immediately! Like millions of people, I was curious and intrigued about verbalizing my needs and learning my partner’s as well. This quiz was part of the 5 Love Languages:The Secret to Love that Lasts, coined by a marriage counselor, Gary Chapman, Ph.D. His method was simple: “different people with different personalities express love in different ways.”
The 5 Love Languages are:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Each individual has at least one language they prefer above the other. Chapman suggests to discover another person’s love language, one must observe the way they express love to others, analyze what they complain about and what they request from their significant other most often.
What I wanted at the beginning of my relationship is entirely different from what I need in this present moment.
An example would be if a wife’s love language is words of affirmation and her husband’s love language is quality time. He may be confused when she leaves love notes in his lunch bag, and he doesn’t perceive it as anything more than something nice that she does. If she understood his love language and set a date to spend quality time, he would find it an act of love. As you continue to strengthen your relationship, let’s take a deep dive into the five love languages and their meanings.
Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation are any spoken or written words that encourage, affirm, and positively empathize with others. Chapman analyzed the results of 10,000 people who took his online quiz and found words of affirmation was the most popular language. If this is your partner’s love language, try sending them an unexpected note, text, or call that reflects your appreciation.
Physical touch doesn’t equate to sex. This love language deals with using body language to nurture intimacy. If you enjoy hugs, kisses, holding hands, and physical affection, this is your way of giving and receiving love.
People feel love and show love in many contrasting ways. Maybe you happen to like gifts. Whether the item is a tiny trinket or a diamond ring is inconsequential because receiving gifts has less to do with greed or a fixation on material possessions. You or your partner can find gratification with tangible items and the thoughtfulness behind them.
This love language is a bit tricky. Most will say they spend time with their significant other often. However, it is less about being in the same place, at the same time, and more about having uninterrupted time together. One on one conversation’s hit differently when the attention on the other person is focused and intentional like weekend getaways, a long walk, or relaxing on the front porch together.
Acts of Service
If you say, “I need help washing the dishes,” and they respond, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll wash them.” This is the love language of people who enjoy acts of service. Taking the time to alleviate some of your significant other’s workload demonstrates love. These actions don’t have to be grand gestures, just thoughtful and responsive. Keep in mind, your partner wants to feel seen, heard, and appreciated.
My first time taking the quiz, I received acts of service; however, my most recent result was quality time. It’s safe to say as we mature, our needs and wants change. What I wanted at the beginning of my relationship is entirely different from what I need in this present moment. According to Psychology Today, “As you start to love more and deeper, in a more exposed way, you may now require more from your partner. You might long for more shared interests to give you more stimulating things to talk about.”
We all relate to most of these languages, but getting our primary needs met is most important.
If you believe that you speak more than one love language, then you are probably right! “We all may relate to most of these languages, but each of us has one that speaks to us the most,” says marriage and family therapist, Sunny Motamedi, Psy.D. “Discovering you and your partner’s primary love language and speaking that language regularly may [create] a better understanding of each other’s needs and support each other’s growth.”
If you have not taken the love language quiz, I suggest you give it a try! In 10 minutes or less, you’ll have a clearer picture of you and your partner’s needs, and in my opinion, this is the starting point for a fruitful relationship. Taking the time to recognize what the other person values show your level of commitment. Remember, we all relate to most of these languages, but getting our primary needs met is most important.