Crave a stronger relationship? Learn to speak the Five Love Languages
Therefore, a vital part of a successful relationship is knowing how you and your partner prefer to express love. And that's where Gary Chapman's theory of the Five Love Languages can help.
What are the Five Love Languages?
‘The Five Love Languages’ are a communication tool devised by experienced relationship counsellor Gary Chapman and first explained in his 1995 book ‘The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.’ 1
Chapman’s theory is really quite straightforward: he believes that the many, many ways in which people express emotional love can be condensed down into five broad categories or ‘languages’ (receiving gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time). Each language involves a particular set of actions, thoughts and words that, when added together, constitute a way of demonstrating and receiving love.
Chapman suggests that everyone has their own ‘primary’ language, which essentially means that everyone has a way of communicating love that speaks to them the most. The problem is, as Chapman puts it, ‘’seldom do a [couple] have the same primary emotional love language.’’2 And this sets the stage for all sorts of miscommunication: moments where a couple try to express their love to one another but end up missing the signals that mean ‘‘I love you.’’
Why are they useful?
When someone is important to us, we naturally want to let them know how much they matter – and it can be frustrating when they don’t appreciate our efforts in the ways in which we expect. In a similar vein, when someone who loves us demonstrates that fact in a way we find personally moving it means the world; even if the gesture itself is a small one.
This is where the love languages can be a useful tool. By knowing which language you relate to the most you will have a better idea of what you need from a partner in order to feel cherished. And, by also learning how to ‘speak’ your partner’s love language, you’ll have a better idea of how to demonstrate your feelings in a way that really makes an impact.
Read more: need help showing your feelings? Try these 15 little ways to say 'I love you.'