As humans, we communicate from the moment we are born to our last breath. Some scientists even argue that our ability to communicate and share ideas is the main reason why humans were able to conquer earth. Humans have used thousands of languages since the first sapiens walked the earth but even they used some form of the language we are about to discuss here. All those thousands of language have brought us to where we are but the most important language you must know is one which isn’t talked about enough (And no, it’s not a programming language).
I am talking about your love language.
The idea of Love Languages was popularised by Relationship Counsellor Gary Chapman in the 1990’s but it hasn’t received the kind of importance and hype it deserves. It was originally published in the book, ‘The 5 love languages’ but the concept is just as evergreen today.
Gary discovered early on in his career that different people responded differently to the same expression of love. For example, Sid cannot contain his joy when his girlfriend compliments his work ethics but for Tim compliments don’t mean much, he feels truly loved only if his girlfriend actually does something for him. Now just imagine how terrible all the 4 of them would feel if Sid’s girlfriend only expressed her love by doing things for him (helping in cooking, cleaning, laundry etc.) but not speaking any kind words to him. Sid would emotionally feel unloved and his poor girlfriend wouldn’t even know why, because she is expressing her love as best as she knows. Similarly, Tim wouldn’t feel much better with the mere compliments and loving words he gets from his girlfriend because he craves a helping hand from his partner.
I know that this one-dimensional example is incomplete but it’s good enough to explain the point. Read on, because you are just a few words away from an eye-opening discovery.
The Concept of 5 love languages
The book explains that there are 5 broad categories of love languages in this world and that different people have different primary love languages. A person with a particular primary love language mostly expresses their love in that language and wants to be loved in that same love language in order to feel emotionally fulfilled.
If you don’t already know you may wonder what these magical love languages are. They are very simple and straight forward, all of us use them but it’s the categorization and conscious awareness of aligning your actions in tune with the other person’s primary love language that makes it so surprisingly effective.
The 5 Love Languages
The 5 love languages, i.e. 5 ways in which people communicate emotional love are:
- Words of affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical touch
What each Love Language means
- Words of affirmation
For people whose primary love language is words of affirmation, kind and loving words mean the world to them. They instantly light up when someone compliments them or encourages them through words, be it orally, messages, cards or letters. Words are priceless to them.
- Quality Time
For people with Quality time as their primary love language (people like me) need moments of undivided attention throughout the day. No matter what the activity being done together -sitting and talking, cooking, exercise, a walk- it can be anything as long as the 2 people have each other’s undisturbed attention. It’s about enjoying each other’s company and doing things together.
- Receiving Gifts
For people with this primary love language a gift is a visual symbol for love. They feel extremely happy with a gift as it means the giver was lovingly thinking of them while choosing the gifts. The size or price of the gift isn’t as important as the thought. The gift of your presence on good and bad days also has a special place in their heart. Who doesn’t love gifts? But for these people gifts are the ultimate expression of love.
- Acts of Service
In this language, love is expressed by serving the person. Helping them and doing things for them is the surest way to make them happy. For people whose primary love language is not acts of service, loving or should I say serving the person through your service can be difficult but remember that if you wish to see that person beaming, it’s a choice you’ll have to make. Also, true love is a verb. In love, you can’t run away from actually doing an ‘action’.
- Physical Touch
If you were brought up in a ‘touchy’ family you would very well know how a bear hug or forehead kiss can make a bad day bright. For such people, physical touch is the most important vehicle for the communication of love. For them, words might be forgotten but a hug when they needed it the most will be remembered for a really long time. The kind of physical touch expected from you will vary depending on your relationship with the person. So it’s always a good thing to talk about their likes and boundaries beforehand.
As you must have realized each of the 5 expressions of love is important, and we all need different languages in different situations depending on our mood or circumstance, but the primary love language remains pretty much constant. Other languages too make the person feel good, but they are not as satisfying to the receiver as their primary love language. And this is the biggest takeaway for anyone who wishes to make their partner or friends or anyone for that matter, feel loved and fulfilled in that relationship.
Discover your primary love language
(And then help all your loved ones discover theirs too.)
Now that you know the 5 Love languages the next step would be to sit together with your partner or close friend and talk about which of these five speaks the loudest for each of you and what do each of you value the most.
If you find it difficult to figure out your primary love language just by introspection then take the 5 love languages quiz. Click here: The 5 love languages quiz
It tells you your primary love language and the other four in order of your preference. If you feel there are two languages that speak equally to you, you may have two primary love languages (that’s rare but possible) and that gives your partner and friends more than just one primary way to express their love for you.
How to use what you just discovered
Once you know the primary love language of your spouse or friends or family members you need to learn to communicate your love effectively to them in their language.
You can also explain your primary love language to them and request them to incorporate that language in their actions as much as possible.
That’s how you create a win-win situation!
This does not mean that you cannot use the other four languages. That would be silly (everyone loves gifts and cards!). Love them in a combination of all five. But being aware of their primary love language empowers you with the knowledge of what they value the most. If you don’t use their primary love language no matter how sincere your intentions your loving gestures will not have as profound an impact as you would expect them to have.
I had come across the 5 love languages quiz on the internet a long time ago. I had taken the test, agreed with the results it generated, and then forgot about it just like every other personality quiz we take online. But discovering this book in quarantine made me retake the test, and I am sure this time the realizations I had about my primary love language will stick with me for a lifetime.
This knowledge will not just help you to understand yourself better but it also has tremendous power to affect all your relationships positively especially your romantic relationships. If you are single, worry not, take the lessons from the book now and reap the benefits later.
This article was inspired by the book ‘The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts‘ by Gary Chapman. If you liked this article you would certainly love the book. Check it out here (Affiliate link).