By: Tasnin Khan
You may have heard about Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages or seen it discussed in talk shows, interviews, podcast episodes, or books. That’s how I came across the idea of love languages, and I can honestly say it has given me so much clarity on my relationships - be it personal, family, or friendships- with the people close to me. It’s helped us better communicate and be in alignment with each other, and that’s why I think it could help you too.
Love languages are ways that people tend to express love to each other, whether they realize it or not. It’s a simple concept, but something that I tended to overlook or at least, never really focused on at all until I heard about and decided to take a shot at reading the book. Learning about love languages gave me better clarity and brought me more self-awareness: what I value and cherish, what doesn’t hold as much priority in my life or expression, and ultimately helped me better understand how that translates in my relationships and in understanding others. Here are the 5 love languages:
words of affirmation - This could really be any verbal affirmation - like telling your partner, friend, family member that you appreciate something they did, that you love how they look in that outfit, or a quality that you adore in them.
quality time - this entails giving someone your attention and time. We all know how busy our schedules are, especially as we get older; those who value this love language may really appreciate making the effort to share a slice of your time with them.
acts of service - from cooking a meal together to doing laundry or putting gas in your partner’s car, helping them in some way is what someone who prioritizes acts of service may value most.
physical touch - sitting close together while watching television, holding hands, hugging, cuddling.
receiving gifts - to someone who’s primary love language is receiving gifts, receiving something from their partner may make them feel they were thought of or remembered.
I have definitely been in situations before where I felt that I was expressing my love to people I deeply cared about but was left hanging or not totally receptive to realize that they were reciprocating it. A lot of this came from the fact that their primary love language was different than my own.
My primary love languages are words of affirmation and quality time. For me, it makes me feel special and valued when someone that I love makes it known to me verbally what they feel or appreciate. It also gives me cues about what is working and that we are on the same page and in a good place. In the same way, as someone who really values my time and energy and how I choose to delegate it, I consider it a big deal if I choose to share that time with somebody and enjoy the idea of just being with the other person and sharing each other’s undivided attention and presence.
On the other hand, I don’t really like to be touched and I don’t value physical objects and gift-giving really at all. Someone who sees touch as the utmost expression and love to the other person might see me not being receptive to touch as an outright rejection of their love, which is why learning about love languages can make such a difference in how we communicate and can better meet each other halfway.
Learning about what my love languages were and how I choose to communicate or look for cues in my mental vocabulary of love was a game changer. It opened my eyes to really thinking about how my partner, friendships, family members express their love. It made me realize that there were so many ways they were trying to communicate with me - it just may be in different forms than what I was looking for. This helped me to readjust my expectations or better cater to the people in my life by trying to express my love in ways that are more meaningful and apparent to them.
Learning about your love languages is also great because you can apply it to any of your close relationships, not only your romantic partnerships. And while it may feel weird at first to readjust certain means of showing your love for that person in the beginning, like anything else, with practice and consideration I have found that it has helped make my relationships a lot stronger. Why not give it a try and see if it can make a difference for you too? What are your love languages?
Click the link below to check out Gary Chapman's book: