People can give and receive love in many different ways. Knowing and understanding the 5 love languages will help you understand and appreciate your partner while being able to give them the attention they need. This concept first came about in Dr. Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, in 1992 where we discussed different types of ways to give and receive love. Understanding the different love languages and which ones best apply to your relationship gives you “the ability to more fully see all the ways your partner is showing their love to you, and to then have the opportunity to share what expressions of love are most meaningful to you.” It also goes beyond understanding and loving your partner and helps you reflect on your own individual wants and needs. The 5 love languages include words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts.
Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation are words that communicate your love, appreciation, and respect for another person. They are often positive phrases and highlight attention to detail. Words of affirmation can be compliments, thoughtful text messages, love notes, and more. An example could be saying “I’m really proud of you”, “I appreciate it when you make time for me”, or “I’m proud of you.” Words of affirmation can help increase healthy communication patterns between you and your partner and allows your partner to feel appreciated in the relationship. Sherri Gordon gives some tips on how to be affectionate. Gordon explains that you should be authentic, empathetic, point out their strengths, and show your appreciation toward them.
Quality time is just what it sounds like. It’s about making time and spending it with your partner by giving them your undivided attention. Put down your phone and take your partner out on a date while being attentive, a good listener, and just having fun. For a person who likes to spend quality time together, they care more about quality than quantity. Some ways to spend quality time with your partner include taking a staycation, planning a future getaway, taking a class together, learning something new together, or even playing a boardgame. Try it out and see how you like to spend quality time with your partner.
Some people feel that their primarily love language is physical touch. This means they like to give and receive love through physical affection. Physical affection can mean more than just sex. Some other ways to show physical affection include holding hands, cuddling, or giving your partner a massage. This love language is all about receiving affection through physical closeness and proximity. If this is your primary love language, you might notice that you love being in a “touchy” relationship, you love PDA, and small physical gestures such as grabbing your partner’s hand.
Acts of Service
Acts of service can be when someone does small things for them that you know they would like. It is a nice gesture that shows that you’re thinking of the other person. It is also about making the other person’s life just a little bit easier and simpler. Some examples include cooking your partner dinner, filling up their gas tank, emptying the dishwasher, washing their car, and more.
A person whose primary love language is receiving gifts loves to receive tangible items, even small gifts. They treasure the gift itself as well as the time and effort the gift-giver put into it. Receiving a gift, big or small, can be a token of love and appreciation and a way to show your partner that you were thinking of them. Some examples can be small like gifting a necklace, or even a picture frame, and also be as big as gifting them a new car.
Love Languages are Important
Understanding both your own and your partner’s love language can help to strengthen your relationship. It increases communication between you and your partner as well as shows them that you’re thinking of them. Relationships can be challenging to navigate and may even seem overwhelming at times. If you’re still struggling with your relationship, Life Balance Therapy offers couples counseling to help make your relationship work and change for the better. Call Chrishelda Santos at 210-549-6663 to schedule an appointment or learn more.