Love Languages

What are Love Languages?

The 5 Love Languages is a framework for understanding how people communicate affection, security and love to others through action, which are basic human needs for being accepted and understood. The 5 love languages refers to the pattern of actions that people normally use as their way of communicating and interpreting these.

Not everyone speaks or reads the same love language. Learning what each other’s love language is can raise partner’s awareness of how they can communicate affection they have for each other effectively.

We have a Primary and Secondary Love Language and their development comes from factors in childhood: healthy role models, security, loving atmosphere etc. People may unconsciously imitate the love languages modeled by their parents and then feel unappreciated.

1. Words Of Affirmation

Statements that “build up” the partner.

Best expressed in simple, straightforward statements of affirmation.

“You look sharp in that suit.” “You look nice in that dress! Wow! You have the best style.” “You must be the best potato cook in the world. I love these potatoes.” “I really appreciate your washing the dishes tonight!” “Thanks for getting the babysitter lined up tonight. I want you to know I don’t take that for granted.” “I really appreciate your taking the garbage out.” “It makes me feel so good to walk into a clean house, thank you for doing that!”

Encouraging words

Identifying a partner’s “untapped” potential or insecurity about something they are or want to be involved in. This is not about pressuring someone to do something. Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouse’s perspective. We must first learn what is important to our spouse. Without empathy the words are heard as judgement and stimulate guilt. “I am encouraging her,” could sound like condemnation.

Psychologist William James said that possibly the deepest human need is the need to feel appreciated. When we receive affirming words we are far more likely to be motivated to reciprocate.

  • “I know. I care. I am with you. How can I help?”

  • Kind words

  • A soft answer turns away anger.

  • Making requests with appreciation.

“I hate to interrupt your reading, but I have to tell you this. I just finished reading your article on ‘Making the Most of the Holidays.’ Allison, you are an excellent writer. This stuff ought to be published! You write clearly. Your words paint pictures that I can visualize. You have a fascinating style. You have to submit this stuff to some magazines.” “Do you really think so?” “I know so!”

If You're Not Good At Words of Affirmation

A book of affirmations can be bought to become familiar with common words and phrases. Notice positive traits and compliment. Words of Affirmation can be made directly to a partner, saying positive things about the person indirectly (for example, to their mother), in front of others in a public setting, and giving them credit when you yourself have achieved an accomplishment. Written words of affirmation have the benefit of being read again and again.

Avoid: Silence, Not noticing or recognizing their efforts.

2. Physical Touch

Holding hands, kissing, embracing, non-sexual touch, sitting close, pleasant facial expressions, playful touches (playing with their hair, rubbing their feet) and sexual intercourse are all ways of communicating emotional love. With people for whom this is a love language, physical touch causes them to feel secure in the love of their partner.

Good, Giving, and Game

  • Good in bed takes time and practice. It is a skill. Use resources to learn.

  • Giving pleasure without expecting it in return.

  • Game — up for anything (within reason!) Willing to explore without judgement. You can do things that don’t turn you on, or that you feel neutral about, as long as it doesn’t turn you off.

Avoid: Neglect, distance, unresponsiveness, lack of initiating touch.

3. Receiving Gifts

Symbols have emotional value. Gifts convey “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.” If a person is usually disappointed or critical of gifts, receiving gifts is likely not their love language.

  • Gifts may be purchased, found, or made.

  • Pay attention to things a person expresses excitement towards.

  • Select gifts that you feel comfortable purchasing, making, or finding.

  • A special occasion is not required to give a gift.

  • Combining a gift with a statement of appreciation

“I brought home a pizza to give you a break from spending time in the kitchen.”

“I bought you this rose because I thought you’d like it.”

“Let’s get a babysitter and go out to dinner, I would love being able to spend that time with you.”

  • Physical presence in the time of crisis.

  • The most powerful gift you can give if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts.

  • “Choosing them” over other things.

Avoid: Forgetting special occasions, not receiving gifts well

4. Acts Of Service

“Acts of Service” are simple, but not necessarily easy.

Autonomous Involvement

  • Completing tasks or chores without being asked.

  • Establish a habit of daily acts of service (putting dirty clothes in a basket, washing the dishes, hanging wet towels.)

  • Overcome stereotypes of traditional chore designations.

If Don't Know Where To Start

Make a list of requests your partner has made in the past few weeks, including specifically any activities which causes your partner to “nag” - these are important requests. Ask your partner for a list of things they would like done in the upcoming month.

Avoid: Lack of follow through on small or large tasks, rebuking partner for making requests, prioritizing others over partner.

5. Quality Time

Quality time builds a memory bank from which to draw in the years ahead.

Undivided Attention

  • Not using your phone at the same time.

  • Eye Contact.

  • Aim for 20 minutes of focused attention a day.

Quality Conversation

  • What is the person feeling?

  • Observe Body Language.

  • Don’t Interrupt.

Learn to Talk

  • Associate events with emotions to convey when having a conversation.

Quality Activities

  • Anything in which one or both people are interested in.

  • A willingness to try new experiences.

If you don't have time for Quality Attention

Ask “relationship interview” questions in the car or at dinner. Make a list of things someone has mentioned wanting to do. If there’s “not enough time” then quality time requires careful planning.

Avoid: Distracted while together, large gaps between 1 on 1 time.

When You And Your Partner Have Different Love Languages

Your partner may find some touches uncomfortable or irritating. To insist on continuing those touches is to communicate the opposite of love. It is saying that you are not sensitive to their needs and that you care little about their perceptions of what is pleasant.

Love touches may be implicit and require only a moment, such as putting your hand on their shoulder as you pour a cup of coffee or rubbing your body against theirs as you pass in the kitchen. Sitting close to each other on the couch as you watch your favorite television program requires no additional time but may communicate your love loudly. Touching your spouse as you walk through the room where they are sitting takes only a moment. Touching each other when you leave the house and again when you return may involve only a brief kiss or hug but will speak volumes.