The Five Love Languages is a book by Gary Chapman outlining how the key to love that lasts is through identifying your partner’s primary love language and loving them in the way that they respond to.
Chapman writes that when we are in the initial “in love” phase for the first two years or so, we are experiencing a temporary emotional high, and when we come down from that we have to be ready to truly love. One of the main reasons our “emotional love-tank” will be so high in this initial phase is probably because we are using all five of the love languages frequently.
But it turns out that what makes us feel loved differs from person to person. Chapman identifies the five love languages as:
Words of Affirmation
These are verbal compliments and words of appreciation. This can come in the form of writing notes, messages or verbally on the phone and in-person. Tone of voice and eye-contact are also important – it not only matters what you say but how you say it.
This is expressed as going on dates together, quality conversation between the two of you, and times where there are no distractions and you can simply be together.
Receiving a gift translates to the feeling that your partner was thinking of you.
Acts of Service
This is when you do a task such as cooking, taking the bins out, taking the car for an oil change for your partner. Acts of service can be easily identified by requests that your partner makes of you – those are the things you can therefore do to make your partner feel loved. Even if they’re things you don’t really enjoy doing, knowing that it’ll make your partner feel loved should give ample motivation.
This not only includes sex, but also more subtle touches like a hand on the shoulder, an embrace or hand-holding.
So how do you know which one is your primary love language?
If you are in a relationship, you can ask yourself what it is that your partner fails to do that hurts you the most. You can also think of the way you express your love to your partner – this could be the way you want your partner to love you.
Although it is easy to think it would make sense to choose a partner with the same primary love language, it doesn’t necessarily indicate maximal compatibility. For example, a person who loves receiving gifts may not be very good at giving them. In another case, one person’s version of quality time could be dining out at a fancy restaurant, while for the other it could be going camping and fishing. Chapman describes that there are different dialects of the same love language that exist.
What’s most important is knowing each other’s primary (and secondary) love language, and loving your partner in the way they feel loved. By filling each other’s emotional love-tank, we feel significant, and energized to meet life’s other challenges.