It isn’t universally known that there are different ways to love someone and that every person may give and receive it differently. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, each person has a primary love language that reaches deeper than all the others.
The 5 distinct languages are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch and Receiving Gifts. Understanding the way you give and receive love to and from your partner can significantly strengthen your connection and romance.
First and foremost, it’s important to fully understand your own love style and the manner in which you desire to have your own love bank account filled whether emotionally, mentally or physically.
The second step is then being able to share your love language with your partner after they have identified their love language too. This is where it really gets interesting in the dynamics of relationship.
All of us exhibit varying degrees of each of the five love languages in relationship but have a primary and secondary love language that fills up our emotional bank account. We are usually very good at demonstrating our own love language.
For example, my love language is Words of Affirmation, so I’m usually good at writing love notes, sending text messages or verbally sharing how much someone means to me. My partner’s primary love language is acts of service. He is always doing things for me like getting me coffee in the morning or calling me on his way home to see if I need anything. While I love the things he does for me and he appreciates my generous words of how amazing he is, we both long for love to be expressed to us in our primary Love Language.
Love languages can be applied to all relationships including friends, family and work colleagues. With this awareness, you can pay attention to how other family members or colleagues show up and their primary love language will become apparent. This in turn provides invaluable information in how to communicate more effectively in our personal and professional relationships.
The 5 Love Languages
Here’re the 5 love languages explained.
Words of Affirmation
For someone with this style of love, words mean more than any action could. Expressing feelings through compliments and appreciation is the key to their heart.
Words like “I am thankful that…” and “I love how you…” will go a long way. Positive and loving thoughts will help this individual feel fulfilled.
While these words might not come naturally to some, being conscious of statements and practicing small affirmations will lead you in the right direction. Written words of love and gratitude are also appreciated.
Acts of Service
Doing something for your significant other, like taking out the garbage, cooking dinner, bringing you coffee in the morning or completing a task on their to-do list will satisfy this type of lover.
Acting out of love rather than obligation will show them they are valued. Helping your significant other throughout a project, or starting and finishing it on your own without asking for acknowledgement are examples of this style. Finding unique services or taking care of things your partner does not enjoy can speak volumes.
This type of person really shows their love and appreciation through thoughtful actions.
Be there, really be there. Make your partner feel cherished by spending time together with no distractions.
Undivided attention and uninterrupted quality time will deepen your connection, communication and love. This type of lover wants to feel like you’re being intentional by setting time aside just for them.
Put your phone down, listen and talk－be in the moment. This can be especially difficult if you have kids, but the time alone is crucial. Commit time before the kids wake up or after the kids fall asleep, or plan a date activity that enhances connection.
To put it short and simple, this person likes the touchy-feely kind of love. Expressing love through thoughtful and purposeful touch shows these individuals that they are desired, safe and loved.
Holding hands, tender kisses, back rubs and even a simple hug communicates a closeness that no other language can. This powerful love language demonstrates an intimacy throughout everyday life, times of need, and special moments.
This isn’t about high-dollar items, rather the thought and effort behind the gift or gesture. A little “I got this for you because it reminded me of you,” is the idea behind the way this person loves.
Frequent gestures will show care, value and love. Celebrating big moments like birthdays and anniversaries through presents is also vital. The gift is a visual representation of how you feel about this person.
How to Get Started with the 5 Love Languages
1. Take the Test
Head over to The 5 Love Languages Website and take the test. Even if you’ve taken the test before, things can shift as you grow and change.
For example, I always scored 0 for Acts of Service but, it moved up in the ranks because my current love’s primary love language is Acts of Service. So why would this happen? He is so thoughtful and consistent with his kind gestures that I’ve come to love and appreciate them.
2. Have Your Partner Take the Test
After your partner has taken the test, you two can share the results with each other. Maybe you’ll be surprised by the results!
3. Write the Results Down
Take a piece of paper with two columns: one with your name at the top and one with your partner’s name. Number it 1-5. For number one, write both of your primary languages, number 2 the secondary language etc.
4. Make the Results Visible to Both of You
Put it on the refrigerator, your desk at work, and the bathroom mirror. Anywhere you are sure to see it every day to remind you to fill your partners love bank account.
Rituals in Relationship
Eventually, filling your partner’s love bank account by expressing love in their love language will become natural and second nature. Awareness is the key in implementing this practice. Create bonding rituals together around your Primary Love Language.
One of our bonding rituals is taking a walk together most mornings. This ritual enhances our quality time together and the walking element grounds us. Another ritual we cherish is reading the daily passage from Mark Nepo’s, The Book of Awakening at some point during the day.
Surprisingly, this fills all of the languages for me. It was a gift that Marty purchased for me at the beginning of our relationship. When he reads it out loud to me while we are laying on the bed holding hands its activates both Acts of Service and Physical Touch for both of us. Being together in the moment is Quality Time and we usually discuss the passage and how it relates to us and our lives that ultimately encapsulate Words of Affirmation.
Practicing the 5 Love Languages is a simple way to enhance your life
Once you know each other’s Love Language, you’ll see that it’s a snap to put into action. The awareness alone will do wonders for your relationship.
If you would like to take it a step further, each of you can make a list of all the things your partner does currently to fill up your emotional bank account that fulfills your love language. It’s a great exercise that’s sure to enlighten both of you.
The follow up to this would be to think of ways you would love for your partner to show you love. Unless you’re a mind reader, you may not know all of the secret desires your partner may be keeping to themselves.
A fulfilling relationship may require adjusting the way you love your partner to fit their needs and desires. Healthy relationships don’t just appear, they require attention and effort, but the reward is what makes it worth the time and energy. The good news is that the 5 Love Languages make it easy to enhance your relationship and your life.
This story originally appeared on How to Enhance Your Relationship with the Five Love Languages