The Five Love Languages: How People Express and Receive Love

The Five Love Languages: How People Express and Receive Love

love language is often defined through gift-giving

Love is a complex emotion. Understanding how one receives and expresses it can enhance the relationship and allow one to communicate in a meaningful manner. Dr. Gary Chapman in his book “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” explained five different ways in which people understand, express and receive love. It gives us insight into how we communicate our needs as humans. Dr. Chapman, who is a marriage counsellor by profession, realized that often couples were misunderstanding their needs. He came up with the five love languages, stating that, understanding how your partner expresses it and how they receive it, can help alleviate misunderstandings.

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The Five Love Languages
1. Words of Affirmation

Some people primarily express their love and care through words. Similarly, their need for it is also fulfilled through words. Verbal appreciation and compliments, cute notes, and text messages are the way to go. These resonate deeply with people who have words of affirmation as their primary love language.

2. Acts of Service

You must have heard of the phrase, “Action speaks louder than words.” We apply this to people who have acts of service as their primary love language. They show care and love for their partners by doing things for them, like cooking a meal, offering to help in various ways and doing chores. At the same time, they also feel loved and taken care of when their partner’s actions are meaningful and considerate. Your partner will also appreciate, and notice the small acts you do for them. This includes making them a cup of coffee or tea, helping them with chores, etc.

3. Receiving Gifts

Giving gifts is a cherished practice. When someone’s love language is receiving gifts, this doesn’t mean that you need to go all out and spend an excessive amount of money. Some people communicate affection through gift-giving. One thing to be kept in mind is that the gift is cherished regardless of its value in terms of money.

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4. Physical Touch

Despite common misconceptions, however, physical touch isn’t just sexual (Kassel, 2022). In simple words, people who prefer physical touch, prefer the non-verbal way of expressing care and love. Simple touches like gentle caressing on the back, holding hands, etc. It’s more about feeling safe and seen through physical touch than fulfilling sensual needs.

5. Quality Time

People with quality time as their love language, prefer spending moments together than anything else. Chapman (1992) explains, “Quality time is giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television. I mean sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking.” These simple gestures are important and worthwhile.

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Benefits of Understanding Love Languages

As you begin focusing on how your partner experiences affection and how he expresses them, you start to show empathy and empathise with them. It makes you step into your partner’s shoes and learn what makes them feel loved and cherished. Empathy is expected to be a critical factor for better understanding of and responding to the partner’s needs (Mostova, et al., 2022). Mostova et al., (2022) also found that love languages are associated with empathy levels, given that empathy is likely to support adaptation to the partner’s needs.

Improve Intimacy

Research has suggested that improved communication skills aid in building better relationships and intimacy in relationships (Kardan-Souraki, et al., 2016). As you connect deeper and more significantly, you build deeper intimacy with your partner and enhance your relationship. Experts suggest that the entire act of giving gifts—from the thought, the careful choosing of a tangible item to represent the relationship, and finally the actual giving itself, elicits the feeling of affection toward another person (South University, 2011).

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Is There Scientific Evidence Backing Love Language?

Despite the popularity of this theory and how often it is talked about, only a handful of research on this area of study exists. Researchers have developed their version of the LL survey, but the results did not meet the statistical thresholds to conclude that the survey adequately captured the five love languages. Also, their findings did not support the idea that there are five love languages (Karantzas, 2023). Some studies have also found that couples with incongruent love languages are as satisfied as couples with congruent love languages. Contrary evidence, supporting and endorsing the theory of love language. Studies have shown that couples who understand and match the love language needs of their partners experience greater relationship satisfaction.

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Summing Up

Chapman further explains how many of the problems modern couples face arise because partners often feel and express love in different ways (Benninger, 2020). Remember, your partner’s love language may not be the same as yours. It may take time to understand each other’s love language and there are bound to be some misunderstandings. But once they learn yours (and theirs), they will feel love and appreciation. This will ultimately lead to a blessed and happier relationship.

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