Hi everyone! Today I want to talk about the 5 Love Languages. This is a concept that many people have already heard about, but it's always worth doing a review. Plus over the next couple of blogs, I'm going to be talking about using this concept not just in your romantic relationships, but in your relationship with yourself, and with your children. So, here is a quick summary of the 5 Love Languages.
The 5 Love Languages is a concepts by author Dr. Gary Chapman. Tha basics are: Couples have 5 primary ways we feel loved by our partners and show love to them. Of course this is a simplification, but I can say both personally and professionally, an understanding of yours and your partner's primary love languages makes a big difference. Think about it this way, if you are speaking different verbal languages at the same time, you are not effectively communicating. Even if what you say is very clear. Love languages work the same way. If you are expressing one language and your partner is expressing another both without realizing it, you both end up missing each other and feeling misunderstood. This can lead to feeling like your needs are not being met in the relationship and feeling like nothing you do is ever "good enough" for your partner. This often eventually brings resentment and feeling disconnected.
There are simple ways to address this. It starts with learning about how you feel loved and how your partner feels loved. The next step is talking about what specifically that looks like in your relationship, then figuring out what adjustments need to be made. And then following through on making it happen. Keep in mind that everyone appreciates all 5. But usually one or two of them will be more effective at helping you feel loved and have a bigger impact. For this to make a little more sense, let me explain what the 5 Love Languages are.
Words of Affirmation
This means saying words that make your partner feel good, like compliments or pointing out things you like and appreciate about them. Short and sweet is a good rule of thumb. Here are some examples:
"I love you"
"You look really nice"
"You are so creative"
For those who respond to Words of Affirmation, criticism or insults hit especially hard.
Acts of Service
This means doing something to make your partner's day easier. Often a chore they hate doing. For people who prefer Acts of Service, actions speak louder than words. The focus here is taking something off their plate. Examples include:
taking are of a "to do list" item
Individuals who feel loved through Acts of Service only respond when the partner does these willingly and with a positive attitude.
For individuals who have Receiving Gifts as a primary Love Language. It's not about the monetary value of the gift, it's the thought that counts. This tells your partner that you really know what they like and want them to feel special. This includes:
picking up their favorite treat from the grocery store
leaving them a little surprise note
ordering something on Amazon you know they will love
For these individuals, gifts are only impactful when the gift is thoughtful and specific to the person.
Quality Time means uninterrupted attention. For people who need quality time, they feel loved when you are spending time together that is focused on quality interaction with no distractions. This can mean:
taking a walk and talking together
watching your favorite show on Netflix together-without being on your phone
dancing in your kitchen together while making dinner
For those who need Quality Time to feel loved, half paying attention or bailing on plans can be extra hurtful to your partner
To those who respond to this Love Language, the way they feel loved is by physical connection. This includes:
a brief touch during other tasks or while walking by
People who need Physical Touch feel disconnected without it, and the other Love Languages won't be enough.
If you want to learn more, or are curious about what yours or your partner's Love Language is, click this link to the official website and take the quiz! Next time, I will be talking about how you can adapt this concept and apply it to taking care of yourself and to being a parent.
Kaley Sinclair Jiawon is the owner of Sinclair Counseling Services, a counseling practice in Downtown Orlando specializing in helping individuals, couples, and families find healing, peace, empowerment, and connection. Click here to learn more.