The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts
Author: Gary Chapman
Have you ever gone out of your way to do something special for someone you care about and you end up feeling disappointed by their reaction or lack of appreciation? Have you ever told someone you love how much you care about them and how much they mean to you, only to have them respond with just one or two seemingly meaningless words? Many relationships cease to work well because of one easily fixed fault: we often fail in communicating love. This doesn’t just happen in our romantic relationships; I have witnessed and experienced lost friendships because of this issue as well. I used to believe that most of these relationships were lost by just growing apart or something vague like that. Little did I know, people actually have specific ways they not only express their love to others, but how receive love as well. Everyone has what the book calls “love tanks” and how those tanks can be filled are unique to each person. The goal to successful relationships is figuring out not only how to fill your loved ones’ tanks, but to consistently keep them full. The 5 Love Languages goes into detail about the different ways of giving and receiving love and explains how you can start to implement them immediately in both your existing and future relationships and friendships.
Love Language #1: Words of Affirmation
A seemingly obvious way to express love is with our words. Complimenting someone has a strong effect on their attitude and how they feel about themselves. Some people feel that the positivity and kindness they receive from their loved ones’ words are vital to the success of their relationship. It is the most important and wonderful thing their partner or friend could do for them. The person whose love tank runs on words of affirmation react best and feel happiest when they are complimented on just about everything, as long as it is sincere and not excessive. Good examples include “you look really nice in that shirt”, “it means a lot to me that you always do the dishes” or “I’m so proud of you for [blank].” Even though most people are aware of how good it feels to be complimented, speaking this love language doesn’t come naturally to everyone. However, this is one of the easiest ways to express love and can be instrumental in many relationships.
Love Language #2: Quality Time
Sometimes, to make somebody feel important, all they need is for us to hang out with them. Spending quality time with someone doesn’t necessarily mean we need to take them on fancy dates or expensive adventures. It simply means giving someone all of your attention and making them feel that their presence is important to you. This can be done over a meal or simply just sitting on the couch and talking. The key here is to have all of your attention focused on the other person and only the other person. When they are talking, you are listening, really listening, and maintaining eye contact with them. A big part of listening is also being ready to respond thoughtfully to what they said. If someone you care about speaks this love language, keep your phone in your pocket or in another room and enjoy their company. It will mean the absolute world to them.
Love Language #3: Receiving Gifts
It may sound superficial or spoiled for someone to feel most loved when they’re given gifts, but these gifts don’t need to be expensive whatsoever. When someone’s love tank runs on gifts, it is because they view whatever they have received as a token of love. These gifts are sentimental and symbolic to them, similar to someone who keeps a shoe box under the bed full of mementos they have kept from throughout their relationship. These symbols of love are more important to some people than others, but if your partner or friend receives love this way, it is important to put some thought into the gifts you choose. They more sentimental they are, the better your love and appreciation for them will be expressed. It shows how well you know them and how much you’re willing to put into your relationship.
Love Language #4: Acts of Service
Nobody loves cleaning, doing laundry, emptying the dishwasher, mowing the lawn, or doing errands. Performing these acts for someone else can very quickly fill some peoples’ love tanks to the brim. Show someone you love them by doing things for them that they would like you to do or that they don’t want to do themselves. It may take a big weight off their shoulders and doing these things shows that you are thinking of this person even when they are not around. For many, that means the world. If your friend or loved one speaks this love language, find what they need done the most and do it without expecting anything in return. They will appreciate it more than you know.
Love Language #5: Physical Touch
Touch has been a vital way to communicating love for a very long time. Kissing, hugging, and holding hands are just a few ways among many to express love for another using physical touch. Where and how you touch someone also has a lot to do with the emotions the touch will generate. Learning how to give a great massage can be one of the best ways to express your love through touch. If you find that your partner gives you lots of kisses, hugs, and touches throughout the day, try mirroring them and giving it back. It may be a subtle hint that this is their primary love language and it is another easy one to speak more frequently.
The book mainly tells stories of others’ primary love language for receiving and how couples have managed to save their relationships through awareness of these languages. However, as I said before, there are primary ways to give love as well, and the ways you express your love could be completely different than how you receive it. After these 5 short summaries, can you tell which way you often express your love? Do you know which way you prefer to receive it? For me it was easy: I am a hardcore gift giver. I love to show people I care about them by spoiling them, even if that means buying them something for $1. It’s not about the price, but the act of giving that makes me feel like I am serving them. When I am looking for love, I look for it in quality time. Nothing makes me feel more important to someone than when they give me their time. However, my significant other receives love best by words of affirmation and physical touch. I have to maintain a balance between the ways I want to give love and the ways she wants to receive it.
Have you read this book? What ways do you give and receive love? Comment in the box below and let’s start a conversation about love languages and how they’ve worked for you.