The ‘Five Love Languages’ is this notion that people express love differently, and people feel loved in different ways. The term was familiarized by Greg Chapman’s The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate (1992.)
Chapman identifies the types of expression and perception as in an interpersonal relationship as the five “love languages:” (1) words of affirmation, (2) quality time, (3) receiving gifts, (4) acts of service, and (5) the physical touch.
The Five Love Languages gives several case studies to show that your sweetie will feel loved when you express love in a language that is natural to her. If love is expressed in a different language, she’s unlikely to receive your message of love.
- Each of us has a primary love-language (and often secondary and tertiary ones.) Couples seldom share the same preferences. Learn to speak the language of your sweetie. You may be showing your love regularly, just not in the way your sweetie wants to receive love.
- Chapman believes love-language-preferences tend to be fixed throughout our lives.
- To help identify your love-language, focus on the way you most frequently express love. Often, what you give is what you need. “We speak and understand best our native language.”
- Determining which love-language your sweetie speaks can be challenging. If in doubt, just ask. Try out different ways of expressing your love and be sensitive to what gets a better response.
- Be more observant of your partner’s preferences. Get better at reading them—be mindful of how your partner may be showing you love. “People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.”
- Even in close relationships, individuals are afraid to ask what they want. They feel vulnerable—or don’t want to appear needy.
- All individuals have a “love tank” that needs to be topped up frequently by their loved ones in different ways.
- Exploring the love-languages with your sweetie can spark a more in-depth conversation.
- Become fluent in all the five love-languages. The framework can also improve and illuminate all kinds of other relationships—with parents, children, friends, and perhaps employees (professionally and platonically, of course.)
Recommendation: Quick-Read through Greg Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. It’s a convenient formulation, and it’s simple, and it’s relatable. You may find the book’s tone a tad preachy and hinting at Evangelical Christian attitudes (Chapman is a Southern Baptist pastor and holds a Ph.D. in adult education.)
Nonetheless, The Five Love Languages is a practical approach. This framework isn’t a cure-all to marital and relationship issues, but it is a stepping-stone toward breaking communication barriers.
Chapman’s guidance is convenient given that most people aren’t comfortable expressing their likes and dislikes. And, in return, they hate struggling to guess their partners’ likes and dislikes.
Idea for Impact: Relationships are a lot of work. Prioritize your loved ones. Doing nothing is not one of the five love-languages.