Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
April 28, 2021
The Five Love Languages are:
The way an individual communicates is part of what makes them unique. There’s no one-size-fits-all for the way we send and receive messages. Human interaction is far more complex than most people realize – there are entire volumes written on the topic.
One of those books is called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. With over 13 million copies sold, it’s no surprise that the concept of the Love Languages has grown from one man’s idea to an entire philosophical concept.
The idea behind the 5 Love Languages is that each person’s preference for how they give and receive love is unique – but can be categorized as one of 5 general languages. The languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Physical Touch, and Acts of Service.
No, while the love languages were originally formulated as a structure within romantic relationships, they actually apply to all relationships – whether between boyfriends, girlfriends, platonic friends, siblings, parents, mentors, or any other person you love.
Additionally, just because one person prefers one of these languages does not necessarily mean that they only enjoy that language.
Let’s dig into the Five Love Languages deeper in order to truly appreciate their meaning.
Sunny Motamedi, Psy.D. says “We all may relate to most of these languages, but each of us has one that speaks to us the most.” Understanding the Five Love Languages can help you identify what your primary love language is.
Note that each person’s love language is different, even if they technically have the same primary language. For example, one person who speaks the Acts of Service language may absolutely love it when their partner gets groceries for them – while another prefers to get groceries for themself, but would enjoy having their dinner cooked for them.
When discussing the Love Languages with your partner, be sure to communicate the specifics. Just because they like receiving gifts, doesn’t mean you should just go out and buy them something. Maybe they enjoy handmade gifts, while store-bought gifts feel shallow and disingenuous.
Another way to understand your love language, or your partner’s is discussing them in therapy. You can book a therapy appointment through our sister site, PlushCare, which gives you access to a wide variety of quality online therapists who can help you sort through your ive languages, or yours and your partner’s together.
The most common mistake that people in relationships make – and indeed that everyone makes from time to time – is assuming that our counterpart’s love language is the same as ours is.
The first step to a healthy relationship is to understand and accept whatever your partner’s love language is. Many couples refer to themselves as a single unit – “we” – when in reality, every couple is composed of two individuals. Each half of any given relationship is unique and distinct from the other half in a lot of ways.
Just by actively and deliberately making an effort to speak your partner’s love language, you’re already showing your partner that their specific needs matter to you. Even if you struggle with speaking it, at least they know you’re trying.
Finally, be sure not to use the love languages competitively. In other words, forcing a love language, or competing to see who’s “more loving” can only lead to more friction and tension.
Understanding how people around you express love and care is a great way to understand them fully as a person.
While you may feel like you’re not receiving as much in a relationship, you might just be receiving love in a different language than what you’re used to. For example, you might not care about quality time very much, but perhaps the coworker going to lunch with you and chatting after work is trying to show their appreciation or admiration for you through their love language.
You might think that the cute gifts you buy for your partner is an obvious show of love, but if they show love through Acts of Service, they might not be appreciating or interpreting your gifts in the way you’d expect.
In order to better understand yourself, and how you express and receive love, you can identify your main love languages. Some ways to do this include:
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