Are you having trouble connecting with your man? Perhaps you feel a little unloved, even though you know he really does love you. The two of you might not be speaking the same love language (there are five of them), which makes your relationship less fulfilling and harder than it should be.
WHAT ARE THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES?
The 5 Love Languages is a system designed by Dr. Gary Chapman, a pastor, counselor, and author. When Dr. Chapman was a young pastor in Winston-Salem, NC, he started teaching a class on marriage and the family. After hearing stories from many couples, Dr. Chapman noted the various ways people express love. He then started sharing what he learned in workshops.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LOVE LANGUAGES?
If a person feels love from their spouse (what does love feel like? Click here to find out!), they feel good about life. But if no love is felt, the world looks like a dark place, according to Dr. Chapman. He says all people have a “love tank” that needs to be kept filled. The challenge is that people get their tanks filled in different ways. It, therefore, becomes important for you to figure out how you need to be loved so that your partner knows what to do to keep your tank full. You also need to know how your partner needs to be loved so that you can do what it takes to keep his love tank full. To do this, you first need to learn all the 5 love languages.
THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES
- Physical touch — Physical touch is a way to convey love. This includes sexual intercourse (making love can deepen your connection), of course. But it also includes hugging, kissing, cuddling, and handholding. If physical touch is your primary love language, you will feel unfilled in the marriage without enough of it.
- Words of affirmation — Telling someone how much you appreciate them is giving them words of affirmation. If this is someone’s primary love language, they crave hearing what you like and value about them (here are 14 ways to say I love you). You can say something like, “I love how I can always depend on you to listen when I need to talk.” Or you might like to hear your man tell you what a great mother you are or even how good you look in your new outfit. They might even be talking to someone else about how great you are, which you hear through the grapevine. Words of affirmation can build up the person who has this as their primary love language.
- Receiving gifts — If your primary love language is receiving gifts, it means you love getting gifts. The gifts don’t have to be expensive. Just the thought of receiving something he gave to you makes you feel loved. He might think it’s silly to give you a card, for example. But if you love receiving gifts, you probably value receiving that card. Let him know how much you love receiving these types of tokens from him. And if he loves you, he’ll remember that and become a gift-giver to please you.
- Acts of service — You might have heard of women who feel loved when their husband takes out the trash. If this is not your love language, this probably doesn’t make much sense. But if your primary love language is acts of service, when your man does something for you, even taking out the trash, you feel loved. If your man craves home-cooked meals, he values this act of service.
- Quality time — Quality times involves spending time with each other and being together. For a spouse who values quality time, they don’t just want to be in the same room with you. They want your undivided attention, whether that involves having a meaningful conversation or doing an activity together that you both enjoy. If your man values quality time as his love language, he wants to spend time with you.
YOU CAN TAKE THE ONLINE QUIZ
You might already know which of the 5 love languages you value the most just from hearing the description. But if you don’t or aren’t sure, you can take the online quiz. You can specify whether you’re in a relationship or single to answer relevant questions to determine your love language.
Once you find out, you can let your spouse know what is most meaningful to you. Find out what your spouse’s primary love language is as well, you can both communicate with each other in the most meaningful ways. By speaking the right love languages to each other, you and your spouse can create intimacy.
MOST PEOPLE HAVE 1 OR 2 MAIN LOVE LANGUAGES
When you take the quiz, you’ll be asked questions and will choose which response is best for you. Each love language corresponds to a letter (A – E). Whichever letter you have the most of is your primary love language. So, if you have mostly As, for example, words of affirmation would be your love language. Mostly Bs and quality time would be your love language, and so on. If you are split evenly between two languages, you are bilingual in your love languages. Most people wind up with one or two primary love languages.
LOVE LANGUAGES CAN CHANGE
Your primary love language typically stays the same throughout your life. But certain life circumstances might temporarily change your primary love language. You might find yourself needing physical touch more when you don’t get any at all or if you’re going through an emotional time in your life. If you’re a mother of a newborn baby, acts of service might become your primary love language for the time being.
THERE’S A BOOK
If you want to learn more about the five love languages and how to make your relationship a lasting one, you might wish to get the book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts”.x It can help you find out what your and your husband’s love language is and gives real-life examples of how to speak each love language.
EVEN IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE
Even if you don’t believe in love languages, learning them can help you get in touch with your needs and your partner’s love languages. You discover that your partner may appreciate loving feelings that are different from what you naturally do. You can become proactive at providing him with the type of love he needs.
Check out this real relationship advice from real couples if you’re committed to your relationship.
WHAT IF MY SPOUSE’S PRIMARY LANGUAGE IS NOT MINE?
It might not feel normal or natural to you to participate in a love language that isn’t your own, but you can learn to do it. With practice, you can learn any of the 5 love languages. Here are some examples:
If you both are touchy-feely types, it’s easy to fulfill this type of love language. But if one requires touch and the other isn’t used to touching, the one who isn’t used to touching needs to start showing more physical love.
It can be difficult to pick out and give gifts when you don’t care anything about receiving them. So it will take some effort to start picking up tokens to give your spouse (get ideas here). Knowing how much it will mean to them should help.
If you work a physical job, the last thing you probably want to do is an act of service when you get home. But choose something that you can do.
If you’re always busy, make the time to spend with your spouse who values quality time.
If your spouse needs to hear words of affirmation, but you don’t know what to say or feel awkward, practice saying some affirming words in front of the mirror. Try saying, “You’re beautiful,” “I like to be with you,” “You did a great job with X today.”
Compliments are a great way to get closer to your partner. Learn more.
WHY LOVE LANGUAGES MIGHT NOT WORK
You might have found out what your husband’s love language is, and you might be giving him what he desires, but your relationship might not be improving. One reason is that you might be sabotaging your efforts.
For example, if your husband’s love language is physical touch, you might start hugging him more and being more sexually intimate. He likes that, but what if you are mean and argumentative during the day? That makes it difficult for him to be close to you. Just because you’re giving him physical touch, it still probably hurts him if you are cutting him down and criticizing him.
Of course, there might be deeper problems in the marriage (find out how to fix an unhappy marriage), which is another reason speaking his love language might not be enough, such as if he is in love with someone else. If you are making an effort, however (and you’re not sabotaging those efforts), and your relationship is still not good, you might need to find out what else is wrong.
YOU CAN APPLY LOVE LANGUAGES TO ALL YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Love languages are not just confined to your relationship with your spouse. You can improve your relationship with your children as well using this system. The love language quiz can be adjusted for kids, too.
Children need to feel loved by their parents to grow up to be healthy and adjusted adults. Children should also learn how to give love in all five of the love languages. They can be more successful in their future romantic relationships if they learn all the love languages early. Parents, after finding out their child’s primary love language (physical touch would, of course, be confined to a hug or kiss on the cheek), can use that primary language when parenting and then can use all of the love languages from time to time.
The five love languages system is a tool you can use to better understand and provide for your man — and get the same from him — but you don’t need to follow it exactly, as long as you understand the foundation of the system. Once you and your spouse begin giving each other what you both need by discovering each other’s love language, it can change your marriage and bring you closer.