Do you feel most loved when you receive a special gift? Or does a hug mean more to you than anything wrapped in paper?
Answers to these and similar questions can be the first steps toward more fulfilling relationships or a happier marriage.
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages,” everyone has a primary love language. These languages may be so different from each other that Chapman describes them as being “as different as Chinese from English.” (1)
Calling upon over 30 years of experience as a marriage counselor, Chapman identified five ways that people experience and understand emotional love. His five love languages are:
1) Words of affirmation
This includes compliments and verbal acknowledgements of personal characteristics like kindness and thanks for things done, such as taking out the trash.
2) Acts of service
Actions speak louder than words for some people. This may include washing dishes, painting a wall, or spending time with the kids.
3) Receiving gifts
For some people, receiving a gift is the surest sign that they are loved.
4) Quality time
This means focused, one-on-one time without distractions like the TV blaring in the background, or pauses to check Facebook posts. Quality time can happen at home after dinner when you unwind together, or on a date or vacation, away from children and responsibilities.
If this brought to mind the most intimate physical touch — sex — you’re on the right track. But just sex is not enough. Physical touch as a love language also means more casual contact including hugs, holding hands, and a gentle pat or kiss on the forehead.
Chapman describes every person’s need for love as an emotional “love tank.” When that tank is full, we feel loved and content. When the tank is empty, life may seem emotionally barren.
Knowing your own love language can help you explain to your partner what you need to feel loved. Knowing your partner’s love language gives you the tools you need to keep his or her love tank full.