What the Five Love Languages mean

How to relate them to your relationships

Photo illustration by Julia Balakrishnan

I think we can all agree there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to love.

That being said, knowing more about ourselves and the way we love the people in our lives can only be productive to any sort of relationship.

That’s where the Five Love Languages come in.

The Five Love Languages were first introduced to the world in a 1995 book titled The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to your Mate by Gary Chapman. The book outlines five main ways people express and accept love and originally stated each person has a primary and secondary love language.

Chapman developed the languages when he looked back on his notes from his sessions as a marriage counselor. The most frequent statements he found written in them were something along the lines of “I don’t feel love from them” and “I try to show love but it is not communicated.” When he looked into the couples and what their issues seemed to be, he found people trying to express or receive love often fell into five exhaustive categories.

The Five Love Languages are acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, receiving gifts and quality time.

The idea is that partners might not have the same preferences concerning how they want to be loved. As a result, it’s essential to learn the preferred love languages of your partner to show them how much you care. For example, if one person’s primary love language is acts of service, their partner might not realize the act of running errands on their behalf is their way of showing love.

While many of Chapman’s readers assume his theory and quiz results only apply to romantic love, the philosophy of the five languages can be adapted to any type of relationship.

If your housemate is having a bad day and your preferred way of being loved is to receive gifts, you might be inclined to buy them a piece of cake or their favorite magazine to cheer them up. While any kind gesture is likely to make them feel better, it might not be apparent that you’re showing them your love if your actions don’t correlate with their top love language.

Since self-identifying your own preferred love languages can also be just as important as identifying that of those around you, there’s now a quiz available online to help you find out the rank of your love languages in less than 15 minutes.

In a world that can be a little scary and sad sometimes, it’s important to surround yourself and the people around you with love, so why not be educated on what kind of love language is best?

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