Love Languages

May 31, 2017

Gary Chapman is the pioneer of the five love languages.  He posits that there are five ways that people speak and understand love.  In most couples, the individuals usually have a different primary emotional love language.  When this happens, the messages of love does not translate.  Hence, it is common to hear someone say, "I tell him how much I love him all the time, but he never says it back to me," and the other says, "I work so hard for this family and provide. I don't do anything, but work. All I think about is this family."  As part of a healthy couple, you have to identify and learn your partner's primary love language keep the communication flowing.

 

The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.  

 

Words of Affirmation

Verbal compliments and words of appreciation are two types of this language.  It includes "thank yous, encouraging words, kindness, and soft requests.  Here are some tips on how to speak your partner's words of affirmation language.  Look for her/his strengths and comment on it, write a card, and pay attention to what s/he says to you.

 

Quality Time

Talking and listening are the main components of quality time.  You are giving the other your undivided attention.  The purpose of the time spent together, whether it's at dinner or going for a walk, is to open up and have dialogue.   Watching television and commenting on the show do not qualify as quality time.

 

Physical Touch

Appropriate physical touch is one way to communicate love. Touch can be sensual, acknowledging, gracious, kind, or sexual.  Look at how animals and babies respond to touch.  It is a human need to have physical contact.  It is part of a thriving human experience.

 

Acts of Service

The phrase "actions speak louder than words" belongs in this category.  Doing favors and anticipating someone else's needs through action communicate care and love.  It may also look like washing the dishes or cleaning up after the kids.   Notice what chores your partner asks you to do then do it without being asked first.

 

Receiving Gifts

Giving a gift shows that you were thinking about the person.  It also demonstrates how much you listen and know about the other.   If remembering details is not your forte or you are a terrible gift giver, ask your partner for a list of desirable gifts to avoid future disappointments.  Remember, mall gifts like candy or music playlists count!

 

 

What do you do if you and your partner speak different languages?   Observe his/her behavior, notice what he/she complains about, or remember his/her regular requests.  Ultimately, make this a joint effort and discover each other's languages to strengthen the relationship.  Then, put in the effort to communicate in those languages.

 

 

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Natalie A. Ma, PhD

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