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The Five Languages of Love

Identifying your partner's love language will help you build a long-lasting relationship.

Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, outlines five different ways in which we express and experience love that he calls “love languages.” Emotionally, we all need to receive love, but – as Chapman explains – our personal love language and that of our loved one may be drastically different. No matter how hard we try to express love in our own language, if our loved one only understands his or her own love language, we will have difficulty understanding how to love each other.

We tend to speak our primary love language and become confused when our partner doesn’t understand what we are trying to communicate. Once we identify and learn to communicate in our significant other’s primary love language, we will have discovered the key to a long lasting, loving relationship.

Below is more information on each of Chapman’s languages of love. If you and/or a loved one would like to learn your own personal love language or would like further relationship support, don’t hesitate to call Allegro Counselling for a free 30-minute consultation.

#1: Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

#2: Quality Time

For those whose love language is spoken with Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

#3: Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

#4: Acts of Service

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

#5: Physical Touch

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.