Going on dates and falling in love might come easily to some people, however, maintaining a steadfast and healthy relationship for an extended period may be where challenges arise. Building intimate relationships requires conscious effort and care from both parties, and Dr. Gary Chapman believes that love languages are the key to doing so.
The five love languages – words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch – are believed to encapsulate the ways individuals give and receive love. The love language that is most meaningful to individuals varies from person to person, and learning the ways that your partner feels valued (and them learning the same about you in return), has been shown to lead to a deeper sense of intimacy and fulfilment within relationships. It is important to understand what each love language means practically, and how to best love and appreciate your partner, as well as knowing your own!
1. Words of Affirmation
While everyone loves receiving a cheeky *heart eyes* emoji on their Insta-story selfie, words of affirmation being your primary love language goes much deeper than that. Individuals receive love from words of affirmation through spoken words, praise, or appreciation. This can come in the form of compliments, kind words, encouragement, love notes, sweet text messages, or expressing your gratitude for them. For someone who has words of affirmation as their primary love language, they will likely feel the most loved when their partner is verbalising their feelings towards them, rather than giving them a hug or buying them a gift.
2. Quality Time
If your primary love language is quality time, you feel most loved when you have someone’s undivided attention. This goes deeper than just physically being together – for the time to feel “quality”, it means putting the cell phones down, turning off the TV, making eye contact and actively listening. For individuals who have quality time as their love language, the time is more quality-focused than quantity-focused. If this is your partner’s primary love language, try actively listening when you are having a conversation together, asking them follow-up questions to what they are saying, or turning off your TV show to play an interactive game together.
3. Physical Touch
Physical touch is probably the love language for those individuals who are described as “touchy feely” or who love a bit of PDA. Receiving love primarily through physical touch goes beyond just sex – it includes hand holding, touching your partners’ arm, or simply just cuddling on the couch together. If the thought of being physically close to your partner makes you feel loved and valued, then physical touch is probably your primary love language, and you can communicate this to your partner by holding their hand when you are in public, asking for a massage at the end of a long day, or initiating big hugs when you get home from work.
4. Acts of Service
The love language acts of service is communicated and received by doing nice things for your partner, or vice versa, that make your life easier. For example: helping with the dishes, running errands, hoovering, putting petrol in the car, etc. If this is your or your partner’s love language, then even the smallest acts of kindness do not go unnoticed. It is likely that you feel the most valued when your needs are taken care of by your partner, and that them helping with a chore means more to you than just receiving a compliment from them.
5. Receiving Gifts
Lastly, the love language of receiving (and giving) gifts encapsulates not only the gift itself, but the thoughtfulness and meaning behind it. For individuals whose primary love language is gift, it is not necessarily large or expensive presents that make them feel the most valued. Rather, the time and effort that the gift-giver put into the present is where the feeling of appreciation comes in. If your primary love language is receiving, or giving, gifts, then someone taking the time to pick out or make a gift for you is something that you value and will remember for time to come.
Altogether, love languages are quite a new phenomenon as the literature in this field only goes back 30 years. While the research within this field is limited, there are studies that support love languages as a means of communicating affection and intimacy within a relationship. However, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in learning how to better love your partner – and yourself – by understanding how they tend to feel the most valued by you!
At Maclynn, we work closely with our clients with the ultimate aim of getting them into long-term relationships with individuals that will love them well. It is a very personal and bespoke service and my team and I are ready and well prepared to continue our Cupid work. Get in touch and let us help you find your special someone to share life with.