Do you ever feel like the love you show your partner is not fulfilling enough for them or not reciprocated the way you would expect? Everyone expresses love differently. We often give love the way we want to receive it, however we may mistakenly assume that our significant other shares the same idea about how love ought to be expressed. This assumption can be catastrophic to a relationship, especially when gone unrealized.
Love is an abstract concept, and being on the same page with your partner about how you perceive and feel love is important. One way to be on the same page with your partner about love is to figure out your love language. If you’ve never heard of a love language, it’s part of a concept by Gary Chapman, Ph.D., a renowned marriage therapist and author of The Five Love Languages series. Chapman argues that there are five basic love languages, and while any person can relate to all five languages, everyone is usually dominant in one.
- Words of Affirmation. This language involves vocally expressing love on a regular basis. This can mean sharing affection, compliments, and validation through phrases such as “I love you,” “You look beautiful,” and “I’m so proud of you.”
- Acts of Service. This language emphasizes the phrase “actions speak louder than words” when a person is willing to give their time and energy to complete an act of service in order to show appreciation towards their partner. This can be anything which helps your partner, such as assisting with chores, errands, or different projects.
- Receiving Gifts. Although this may seem materialistic to some, those who have this as their love language see it as an expression of thoughtfulness and effort by obtaining and giving a gift. It doesn’t have to be lavish or expensive- it can be anything from a handmade gift to bringing home their partner’s favorite dessert or flowers, just because.
- Quality Time. If you crave your partner’s undivided attention, this might be your love language. It doesn’t mean you’re clingy or obsessed, but rather you feel most loved and appreciated when you get to have meaningful one-on-one conversation with your partner.
- Physical Touch. Any kind of affection such as holding hands, a warm embrace, giving a massage, or even a reassuring pat on the back. This one is pretty self-explanatory but most often misunderstood in relationships, especially if one person is not as adept or keen on physical touch as their partner is, potentially leading their partner to believe they don’t love them equally as much.
Determining your own love language can be simple. Think about the times you feel most cared for and appreciated by your partner. Is it when they text you “I love you” in the middle of the day? When they wash the dishes for you? When they surprise you with your favorite dinner? When they listen to you talk about your day? When they embrace you? Most of us can relate to all of these love languages, however one typically dominates the rest. There is also a free online test you could take on Gary Chapman’s website that will determine your love language for you.
Although we often give love the way we want to receive it, it’s important to make an effort to express love in your partner’s love language so that they feel cared for and appreciated by you to the fullest extent. Understanding your partner’s and your own love language can be a game changer in your relationship. I’m not a therapist or a relationship expert, but for me personally, identifying my own love language and my boyfriend’s love language has helped me to better understand him and has enabled us together to learn how to make one another feel most loved.
Although this post focuses on love languages within the realm of romantic relationships, the 5 Love Languages concept can be applied to anyone- your significant other, friends, family, and even coworkers. While you can’t force everyone you know to take the online test to determine their love language, you can make a pretty good guess based on their actions towards you. Taking the time to understand the love language of others will help you to understand them better and strengthen your connection- it’s the ultimate life hack to improving all of your relationships.
Born in Ukraine and raised in Chicago, Iryna takes pride in her Ukrainian roots. She loves writing, cooking (and eating) all kinds of food, pursuing new fitness trends, and exploring all things related to personal growth. She hopes this blog brings you value in one way or another and helps you to become a better version of you.