In the book “Five Love Languages,” Dr. Gary Chapman describes the concept that there are 5 love languages that we each use to express and communicate love to those around us.

What are the 5 love languages?

Dr. Gary Chapman describes 5 primary love languages:

1) Words of Affirmations:  In this love language, words are the most powerful way to express love. Many people who speak this language use “I love you” sparingly and when they do say it, they mean it. What makes the words so special to them is that when these words are spoken with feeling and sincerity, they are not just words of expression but a way for the speaker to share how he or she truly feels inside. A person with this love language feels unloved if there are no verbal expressions of love.

2) Quality Time:  In this language, time spent together with the one you love is the most meaningful. It’s not about how much time but what you do with that time that is important to this person. Just the fact that you take time out for him or her means a lot. In this person’s mind, words are not important as long as your actions show your love and devotion.

3) Receiving Gifts:  To this type of person, the most loving thing you can do is to give a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Even small tokens of your affection are very meaningful. If he or she receives gifts frequently, that person will feel loved and happy.

4) Acts of Service:  In this language, actions speak louder than words. The person will feel most loved when you do things to ease his or her load. Asking him or her if there is anything you can do for them shows love more than saying “I love you.”

5) Physical Touch:  This language requires that the affection be physical, as in hugs, kisses and hand holding. It’s not about being sexual, but it does mean that this person needs to know that you are physically available in times of need. If they get little physical contact they will feel unloved no matter how much time is spent together or what gifts are given.

What is the most common love language?

In Dr. Chapman’s studies, he found that the most common love language among Americans is Quality Time. This was followed by Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and then Receiving Gifts.

How do you know what your love language is?

Try the following test:

1) Think of three people closest to you, past or present.

2) List all the ways that they show(ed) their love to you.

3) Separate the items into each of the love languages. 

4) Now rank the items in order of what was most important/meaningful to you. This should give you a good indication as to your primary love language and may be different from one or more other people in your life.

In order to show another person love in their primary language, you must speak their primary love language. Even if you use this approach with just one person, it can make an incredible difference in how they feel loved and valued by you.

What if you don’t know your primary love language?

If you can’t decide which of the above sounds like you, then it may be that several apply to you and all of them are important on some level. If nothing seems to fit perfectly but something is close, then use that as your primary love language.

Can you have more than one love language?

Yes, it is possible to have more than one primary love language. In fact, most people do. 

What if my loved ones and I have different love languages?

Most of us tend to express love in the way we prefer to receive it. For example, if your primary love language is Physical Touch but you find yourself married to someone who has Quality Time as his or her primary love language, then you may be doing a lot of hugging and kissing with not much time together. In this case, words are important to you but not to him. As a result, you may feel unloved while he feels very loved. In this case, it would be wise to talk about this difference in needs and try to meet each other halfway by spending time together and doing the things that are important to each of you. If these differences aren’t resolved, they will never feel fully loved or appreciated.

If you have kids, it’s helpful to know their love language. This will help you in demonstrating and teaching that love to them.

Think about what will make it easier for you to start speaking your family’s primary languages.

Can I change my love language?

As adults, we do have the ability to change our behaviors and even lower our priorities in certain areas. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we can completely switch from one love language to another, but we may  be able to improve upon an area which has been neglected or underutilized in the past. It’s important to look at each situation individually.

In Summary

Learning to speak another person’s love language is one of the most powerful and important skills you can acquire. It will take your relationships with others to a whole new level, resulting in more connection, intimacy and fulfillment.