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5 mins

How to Speak 5 Love Languages

What really makes you feel loved? A kiss? A thoughtful gift? Maybe it's a clean kitchen. Here's a little primer on how to speak the five love languages.
by Carrie M. King | Aug 5 2020

Do you know what makes your partner feel loved and cared for? Do you know what you need in order to feel appreciated? Is there a secret to love that lasts? We all express love and affection in different ways. What’s extremely romantic for one person is cheesy and nausea-inducing for another. What’s crucial to one person’s happiness, might not even be a blip on the radar of someone else’s. But one thing we all have in common is the need to feel loved and appreciated in the way that we need. These different ways of showing and receiving love are what author Gary Chapman calls love languages. In the video above, Page and Turner list the love languages—according to the author, there are five—and explain how recognizing which love language your partner speaks can be the key to a happy relationship where both partners feel fulfilled and cared for.

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

In the video above, Page and Turner list the love languages—according to the author, there are five—and explain how recognizing which love language your partner speaks can be the key to a happy relationship where both partners feel fulfilled and cared for.

Pick up a copy of The 5 Love Languages, the secret to getting a deeper understanding of the nuances of each love language and how you can better tend to your partner’s needs, or learn to recognize your own. However, if you’d like to learn more before you commit to a purchase, or simply don’t have the time for reading these days, then you can check out the key insights from the title on Blinkist. But right now, check out the video or read this speedy overview of the concept of love languages and understand your lover’s needs a little better right away.

1. How to Speak: Words of Affirmation

Hey, before we get into this paragraph there’s something I want you to know: you’re great! How did that little compliment make you feel? While we all like to be told that we’re wonderful/charming/clever/beautiful (delete as appropriate), for some people verbal praise is the main way in which they either show love, or want to receive it. This love language is called words of affirmation. For those whose love language this is, giving and receiving praise is essential to their comfort and feelings of happiness within a relationship.

Want to know how to speak it? Well, it’s simple: use your words. Many people might think that their partner is the most wonderful creature to ever grace the planet, but never get around to telling them that. Don’t assume your partner knows how you feel. Tell them when you think they look great, or when you’re impressed by something they’ve achieved at work, or when you get a little misty-eyed about how kind they are. Don’t just laugh at their jokes, tell them they’re funny! It’s important here to mix it up a bit from time to time, too. Don’t just always tell your wife she’s beautiful because while that’s a lovely thing to say, after a while it will seem less sincere—and frankly, snore! You can do better. Actively think about what you love about the person and think of new ways to phrase it. If you’re not the most verbal person in the world, steal from the pros. Make note of song lyrics, movie dialogue, or even just new words you read in the newspaper. Don’t trot out borrowed lines word-for-word, but think about why it applies to your person, and adapt it to them. If words of affirmation is their love language, they’ll feel amazing, and as a result, feel really happy with you and the relationship.

2. How to Speak: Quality Time

When we first meet someone, all we want to do is spend time with them. We’re naturally more adventurous—thanks, hormones!—and end up experiencing lots of new things with our delightful new person which further bonds us together. However, over time you begin to settle into a schedule and rhythm and it becomes easy to bump your person off the priority list, especially if you live together. While time together is important for any relationship, for some people it is essential to their well-being and feelings of satisfaction with the relationship.

How can you speak the language of quality time? Give your partner your undivided attention. It’s not enough to just be in the same room. Remember how you felt when you first met, how you were completely absorbed in getting to know them and nothing could come between you? Try to recreate that atmosphere by setting aside time to really focus on your person without distractions. You can create quality time in two ways: quality activities, or quality conversations. A quality activity is something you both want to be doing. And it doesn’t have to be something outlandish or really new for you both. It can be something as simple as a phoneless stroll together after dinner, collaborating on a two-player video game, or simply working together on a new recipe. Quality conversations are a pretty self-explanatory concept, but by partaking in a quality activity, you can also create space to have those conversations and to discover new facets of each other. But if you want to create space for a conversation without planning anything, just make sure to leave your phone out of the room, and make an effort to focus on the other person.

3. How to Speak: Receiving Gifts

Whether or not it’s you or your partner’s primary love language, gift-giving is an important part of any relationship. From small tokens, to marking big occasions, gifts show love, but more importantly, how much you think about the person you’re with and how to make them happy. If gifts are your partner’s primary love language, they will place even more importance on these expressions of care, and they’ll be an essential way for them to feel loved and valued. To these people, the gifts themselves will really matter, and sometimes, it’s not always the thought that counts. So, how can you attend to your partner’s needs if their love language is gifts?

Pay close attention to what brings happiness to your partner, to the stories they tell that really mean something to them, and to gifts that other people give them and how they react to them. If you’re completely stumped, consult a close friend or a family member who you think really knows your partner well. Be really choosy here because bringing in consultants can backfire if they have very different ideas of what your partner really likes, or should like. What can seem like a practical or helpful gift to one person, can be deeply insulting to another. So, attention is what is really key here. Another very important thing to remember is that, most often, the price of the gift has nothing to do with its value. It’s all about the thought, effort, and the care that goes into it. A spontaneous scraggly bunch of hand-picked wildflowers can be so much more meaningful than an expensive, extravagant bouquet that came about as an afterthought. Focus on the meaning, not the money.

4. How to Speak: Acts of Service

Acts of service can be a contentious love language, because it’s one that can feel like it aligns to gendered expectations. Women are often socialized into jumping into caring and helping roles, and tend to be more active in household tasks like cooking, cleaning, and doing all the emotional work that comes with remembering everyone’s needs. However, like anything, it can, of course, have a whole host of different permutations, regardless of gender identity. The key with someone whose love language is acts of service, is that they’ll feel loved if you notice things that need to be done, or do pleasant thoughtful things for them off the bat. The crucial thing here is that you shouldn’t wait to be asked. And don’t offer, just do it. If you ask someone who’s given to doing acts of service if you should wash the dishes, for example, they’ll probably tell you that they’ll do it themselves. By taking it upon yourself to simply just do it, you save them the effort that comes with having to think about it at all. This love language can be the hardest to adapt to because it may mean you have to force yourself to question your upbringing and your view of traditional gender roles. In doing so, you not only respect your partner, but yourself as well.

5. How to Speak: Physical Touch

Physical touch is a really crucial part of human development. Babies who are held and kissed and cuddled are more likely to become emotionally well-adjusted adults, and we’ve all had moments where the touch of someone’s hand has been enough to calm our nerves and make us feel ready to face whatever was ahead. And in fact, hugging is one of the most effective stress-relievers we have at our disposal. A 20-second hug releases a hormone called oxytocin which counteracts stress and makes you feel bonded to the person whose arms are around you. Therefore, while touch is important to all relationships, for some people, a high level of touch is central to their sense of feeling loved.

If you’re not really a touchy-feely kind of person, you’ll need to think about touch a lot more if you’re with someone who speaks touch as their primary love language. Don’t just leave touch to when you’re having sex. Hold their hand when you’re on your way to the grocery store, touch their shoulder when you’re crossing the room, sit close when you’re watching a movie, or spontaneously put an arm around them when you’re out with friends. There are so many moments at which you can introduce physical touch in your relationship, so just try to be conscious of moments when you could be touching your partner, but aren’t. Pay attention to how they respond, and actively ask them what feels best for them. How to touch and be touched is a learning process that can be an extremely rewarding process for both partners. Not only will your partner feel loved and valued, but you’ll be embarking on a process together that’ll help you feel closer to each other and give you both pleasure over the long-term.

There are, of course, many more than five ways to show love to your partner, but many of us will have at least one primary love language, and most of us will have more than one. Regardless of which of the five love languages is yours or your partner’s, the really important thing is in the attention you’re giving to figuring it out. By focusing on your partner and trying to ensure they feel loved and appreciated, you’re probably already on the right track. You can check out the key insights from The 5 Love Languages on Blinkist.

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