A guide to the five Love Languages
How one receives and gives love in all relationships can be said to make up one's love language. Read on as we guide you to finding your love language - and how best to respond to others.
What is a love language?
Love language is how you both give and receive love in relationships. This can be to family, friends or romantic partners. In the 1990s, American relationship expert Gary Chapman formulated a theoretical framework that outlines five basic love languages: acknowledgement through words, quality time, gifts, favours and touch. Some love languages are clearly represented in one of the categories, while others are more fluid. Similarly, some have the same love language in expressing and receiving love, while others have different love languages. It can be a good idea to reflect on your own love language - just as it can be beneficial to talk to your partner(s) about their love language.
What love language(s) do you speak?
You can explore how you show love and appreciation to others - and conversely, how you best feel the love and appreciation of others. You can try to think back to certain times when you have felt particularly loved. How was love communicated to you then? Conversely, consider if there is anything special you do for or with people to show them how much you appreciate them. The list below is based on how to recognise and respond to the five love languages.
Acknowledgement through words: Particularly praising words and phrases that acknowledge your partner(s)' abilities. This can be by expressing your gratitude by saying thank you or encouraging them by telling them what you think they are good at. If your partner(s) speak recognition through words as a love language, make an effort to say or write something sweet and thoughtful to express your love.
Quality time: Time when you do something together and give each other your full attention. To avoid dividing your attention, it may be a good idea to agree to put your phones away and turn off the TV for a while. Cultivate each other's presence and intimacy. If your partner(s) speak quality time as a love language, it may be a good idea to prioritise and suggest different activities you can do together. This could be going for a walk, doing a project or starting a new hobby together.
Gifts: Gifts, for some, can be the greatest declaration of love. An item that you can look at again and again and have the experience of being thought of, cared for and about. If your partner(s) speak(s) the language of love, it's worth investing in gifts that express your love for them. It doesn't have to cost you a lot of money - it's more important that the gift expresses your thoughtfulness and attention. Buy something to remind your partner(s) of something you've experienced together - or pick up a stone along the route you usually walk together.
Favours: favours can be considered a labour of love. It's basically about paying attention to the trivial chores - and doing them without being asked. If your partner(s) speak(s) favours as a love language, it may be a good idea to start from the things your partner(s) tend to complain about or point out as annoying. If you feel up to it, try writing it down so you can remember to do it for them.
Touch: Physical touch is a good way to show love and appreciation. The physical intimacy of hugs, kisses, caresses or massages is important to prioritise - even when you are with others. If your partner(s) use touch as a love language, it's a good idea to remember to be physical with your partner when you're doing other activities. Hug them on the back when you go for a walk, caress them while you watch a movie, or take their hand when you're out walking. Try to remember to give your partner(s) special physical attention when you are with others. It will make them feel very seen and loved.
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