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What are the 5 love languages? And how knowing and understanding them can help you have more fulfilling relationships with others?
The 5 love languages is a self-help book written by Dr. Gary Chapman about 30 years ago. The premise is that each person demonstrates love in their own unique way, or in other words, they give and receive love in different ways.
According to Chapman, people use five love languages to show love and feel loved. These love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
Each person typically has one primary love language that they prefer over the others. And yours could be different than your spouse’s.
Learning to speak your partner’s love language is one of the most effective ways to make them feel loved. And vice versa.
So let’s dig deeper into this and see what the five love languages are.
What are the 5 different love languages?
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, the five languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
Words of affirmation
People who resonate with this love language value hearing you say why they are special to you and other verbal expressions of love and care.
This means that they appreciate being complimented or hearing kind words about them.
This person feels most loved when you take the time to affirm them positively. This may come in the form of an honest compliment, a specific statement of gratitude, or even something as simple as “I love you.”
To love this person whose primary love language is quality time, you need to give them your undivided attention when together.
For this person, nothing says I love you more than being given your full attention. This can be done by spending time together, simply focusing on them while you are together and giving them your undivided attention when they share what is on their minds.
The receiver feels much loved when the other person gives them presents.
To love this person, you need to find creative ways to give gifts that show how much you care for them. For this person, gifts don’t have to be expensive or materialistic. They simply want something small that shows you’re thinking about them.
If your partner is someone whose love language is gift-giving, give them a well-thought-out gift on special occasions, anniversaries, birthdays, and even when there’s no occasion. It doesn’t have to be anything super special; it’s the thought that counts.
Acts of service
The person for which acts of service are their primary love language feels most loved when you do practical things for them.
Whether you are doing household chores or helping this person in any way possible, they will appreciate it greatly.
Actions speak louder than words for this person, and nothing says I love you more than a person who will go out of their way for them without being asked.
They feel most loved when their partner is helping them out in a physical way. For example, if they need help around the house, you’d be surprised how much this person would appreciate if you took on some of those tasks.
This can be done by doing household chores, running errands, or simply going the extra mile when helping this person in any way possible.
This person feels loved when they receive a hug, kiss, or any other form of physical affection from their significant other.vThis means that the affectionate touch is very important for them.
To love this person, you need to show your affection through physical touch.
How to identify your and your partner’s primary love language
Your own love language might be different from your partner’s. The first step is to get familiar with the love language concept and then learn each other’s love languages.
To identify your own love language and that of your partner, you need to ask yourself and your partner a few questions:
- When you hear words of affirmation, how does it make you feel? Do you say them yourself? If yes, why do you say them? How does it make you feel when you say them?
- When you spend quality time together (watching a movie, going for a walk, having a nice dinner together, going on a weekend trip), how does that make you feel? Would you like to spend more time together? Is it a way for you to express love? Does it fill up your love tank?
- When you receive a gift (or flowers, or a love note…), how does that make you feel? Does it mean that you’re paying attention? Is it because it makes you feel special?
- When your partner helps you with something (cleaning the house, cooking dinner…), how do you feel? How much do you appreciate it when your partner does these things for you? What about when they don’t do them? How does that make you feel?
- When your partner holds your hand, gives you a hug, or kisses you, how do you feel? Do these things make you feel loved and appreciated? How does it make you feel when they don’t do these things for a long time? What about if they never do them? Does that mean they don’t love you?
Understanding what makes your partner feel loved and appreciated will help you identify their primary love language. And their way of showing love might not be the same way you do. You don’t need to have the same love language to have a happy relationship. Still, understanding and accepting your partner’s love language will help you feel more loved and appreciated in your relationship.
TIP: If you want to know your primary love language, do Dr. Chapman’s Free Love Language Quiz
How love languages benefit relationships
Knowing and understanding love languages won’t miraculously heal your relationship or make it amazing. But it can make life easier and express love in meaningful ways.
With that said, some of the benefits for understanding the concept of the 5 love languages can include these:
Improved communication in relationships
Understanding and accepting that your love language might be different from your partner is already a huge step to improving communication in a relationship.
And learning to speak someone else’s love language can help improve communication in your relationship.
You might ask yourself: “Why doesn’t he/she understand that I want to go out for dinner and a movie, when it’s my favorite thing to do?” The answer is because those things aren’t your partner’s favorite.
So you can try speaking their love language and see how it goes.
It will make them feel appreciated and loved, which will make them more attracted to you and your relationship.
Increased feelings of satisfaction in a relationship
It’s easier to feel satisfied in a relationship when you know what makes you feel appreciated and loved by your partner. When both people know how to communicate their love for each other, the relationship is stronger and happier.
With this new understanding, you can work together to strengthen your relationship.
A better understanding of what makes your parter feel loved
Learning about the five love languages can help you become more understanding and compassionate. If you know what makes your partner feel loved, it will be easier for you to communicate with them and understand their needs.
When both partners know how to show their love for each other, the relationship becomes much more fulfilling.
The five love languages are a great way to strengthen relationships with friends, family members, and romantic partners.
Whether your relationship is new or old, learning the love languages can show you how to appreciate each other’s differences and bring you closer together.
It can help prevent misunderstandings in a relationship
The five love languages can help prevent misunderstandings and fights in a relationship.
When both people know what their love language is, they can put a real effort into speaking the love language that resonates with the other.
This way, the person receiving the message knows that it was meant for them and will mean a lot more to them.
More appreciation and love are shown between partners
When you know and understand your partner’s love language, it becomes easier to show them how much you care for them.
When both partners understand and appreciate each other’s love language, it can lead to a stronger, more loving relationship with a deeper connection.
How to get started with the 5 love languages
Here are 3 simple steps you can do to get started:
1. Identify your and your loved one’s love language
2. Find ways to speak their language daily
3. Recognize when your partner is speaking your love language and encourage them to continue.
The 5 love languages in everyday life
The love language concept doesn’t only apply to romantic relationships. It can also strengthen friendships, parent-child relationships, and even business relationships.
And this is how love languages can be applied to everyday life.
When you know and understand your significant other’s love language, it becomes easier to show them how much you care for them. Understanding their preferred method of receiving affection or physical contact makes communication between you less complicated.
A couple might have different love languages, which can lead them to misunderstand each other. For example, maybe one partner prefers physical touch while the other prefers words of affirmation.
In this situation, it would be beneficial for them to sit down and communicate their wants and needs with each other so they can both receive the affection they desire from one another.
When you know and understand your family members’ love languages, showing them how much you care for them becomes easier.
For example, maybe your family member prefers spending quality time together and doesn’t care that much about the acts of service. So instead of cooking them a meal, you could order take-out and hang out with them.
Think about your closest friends; what makes them most happy when with you? Maybe it’s something physical like hugs. Perhaps it’s an invitation for coffee or lunch. Or maybe it’s a text message saying that you’re thinking about them. You can give them a gift or spend quality time with them to show them how much they mean to you.
Many people might take business relationships for granted because it doesn’t feel as personal as a romantic or family relationship.
This is a little out of the box, but we can also apply the five love languages to professional relationships. Understanding what drives our co-workers and how they prefer to be communicated with makes it much easier to show positivity and encouragement.
For example, someone might prefer quality time while another person may appreciate words of affirmation. Knowing what makes your colleagues feel the most valued will help strengthen those relationships at work and outside of work.
IMPORTANT: Even though your co-workers love language would be physical touch, don’t go touching them without their consent, if even then.
Understanding someone’s love language can help you strengthen most relationships you have in your life, whether it be a significant other, a friend, or a family member.
When you know and understand each other’s love languages, it becomes easier to show how much you care for one another. This positive reinforcement can result in a stronger, more fulfilling relationship.
Misuse of the love language theory
Dr. Gary Chapman originally intended the five love languages to be used to understand your partner’s emotional needs, not to meet your own.
However, people often approach love languages with selfish intentions in everyday use without thinking about how it might affect the relationship. Instead of focusing on what would make their partner feel loved, they focus on what they want and need to feel loved.
It’s important to note that the love languages are primarily used to understand your partner’s emotional needs, not to meet your own.
Get the book: The 5 love languages (Gary Chapman)
"Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge."
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The five different love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
The most common love language is words of affirmation.
The best way to determine your partner’s love language is to ask them. Sit down and have a conversation with your partner about what makes them feel loved. Ask them if they have any specific requests, and try to be as understanding as possible. If you’re not sure how to get started, consider doing Dr. Gary Chapman’s Love Language Quiz