Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and while we’re not huge fans of the commercial side of this holiday, we’ll take any excuse to celebrate L-O-V-E. How will you be showing your passion this year?
Taking time to understand what both you and your partner need to feel truly loved is one of the most important aspects of a healthy and flourishing relationship. And thanks to New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, we can learn how to do just that. By breaking down love into five primary expressions – words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch – Dr. Chapman helps us understand which languages resonate most, thereby making it easier to give and receive straight from the heart. To learn more about the five love languages and how to keep your romance alive, read on.
What are the five love languages?
1. Words of Affirmation
In the realm of interpersonal connectivity, actions don’t always speak louder than words. If you’re someone who likes to receive love through words of affirmation, chances are that hearing spoken affection, such as “I love you,” or receiving verbal compliments mean the world to you. In this case, a thoughtful poem or a note left on the counter will definitely score major points.1
2. Acts of Service
Can doing laundry really show someone how much you love them? You bet! In contrast to verbal affection, when you prefer to receive acts of service, it’s all about what your lover demonstrates or does on your behalf. Offering help in solving a problem or initiating a task without having to be asked definitely makes you swoon.
3. Receiving Gifts
Not to be confused with materialism, you place a high value on the thought and effort that goes into a gift – it needs to have meaning! The ideal present or gesture is something that makes you feel prized, understood and appreciated.
4. Quality Time
Nothing says, “I love you” like undivided attention. If you’re a quality time type, you love one-on-one walks in nature or an intimate meal for two, without the interference of work, kids, cell phones, etc. Spending time with your sweetie with no distractions is the ideal way to connect and feel nurtured.
5. Physical Touch
When you value touch above other forms of love, it doesn’t mean you constantly need a steamy session in the bedroom (though that’s not bad either!). More importantly, everyday physical affection such as hugs, holding hands and kissing reminds you that your relationship is strong and you’re cherished.2
We typically give love the way we prefer to receive it, and it’s common to have primary and secondary love languages that don’t match our partner's. According to Dr. Chapman, even when we favor one expression, we can still enjoy traits of the others. However the key to mastering the art of giving involves learning what our partner needs and offering it their way. And vice versa. By articulating which love language we prefer most, we can set our sweetie up for success to meet our needs.3
To take Dr. Gary Chapman’s love languages test, click here. Or better yet, spend part of the holiday taking it together. Even though relationships are challenging at times, when there’s clear communication and understanding, we set the stage for making them all the more rewarding.
Happy Love Day!
“My conclusion after thirty years of marriage counseling is that there are basically five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. In the field of linguistics a language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects....The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse.” – Dr. Gary Chapman