The term “love languages” was first coined by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts (1992). The book remains influential, having sold more than twelve million copies since its original publication. A lot of us will have heard the term “love languages” being used in the media in some way, but what are they and how do we use them?
Love languages refers to the way we like people to express their love to us, and also, how we might express our love to them. It could be that we dip into a few of the different “languages”. The five different ones are: words of affirmation; physical touch; quality time; acts of service and gift giving. People are different, so it’s only natural we express our feelings in different ways. I think recognising how we express an emotion (not just love), can go a long way in helping our loved ones understand us better. It’s also important to emphasise that these can be applied across various types of relationships – not just romantic ones.
If you are unsure of your love language you can take a quiz online to discover it, but for the purpose of clarity I will briefly address what each of the love languages are. Words of affirmation entails communicating to your loved one how much they mean to you, which could be by sincere compliments. Quality time means allotting time away from any diversions, so perhaps, arranging a special date. Acts of service encompasses doing favours for the person; so for example, if you know your loved one has a busy day, bringing them a cup of tea wouldn’t go amiss. For those who have friends whose love language is physical touch, hugging your friend on greeting them may be a good idea. The final love language is gift giving, which is fairly self-explanatory, but this need not cost much: you could bake them a cake or buy a small gift to show that you care.
Throughout the pandemic, people have had to find different and more inventive ways to express their love. I suppose those whose love language is physical touch have particularly struggled over the year. Now more than ever it’s important to realise how we can best communicate our feelings to each other, and the love languages model can be a brilliant tool for this. Its easy to find a quiz online if you are unsure what your love language actually is. Communicating your result to your loved ones could be beneficial in allowing them to understand what you appreciate and you can adapt to express your love in different ways. Of course, we don’t need to fall back on the love languages model to communicate this; we might already be in touch with ourselves and know what works best. But for those of us who are a little bit unsure or want a more simplistic way of communicating our feelings, it can be very useful. It’s encouraging that people are finding new ways to express their care, and I believe communicating this is a fundamental part of any relationship. Ultimately, the love language model can help us learn more about each other.
– Jessica Holifield
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