Effective communication is the key to any successful relationship, most experts will agree. There are many different facets to communication, one of which is expressing love and affection for the other person. A problem couples often run into is that each person expresses their love in a different way. This means what makes you feel loved and appreciated may not be the same things that make your partner feel loved and appreciated. The discrepancy can lead to misunderstandings and disconnect in even the strongest of relationships.
In 1992, Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book about these different styles of love expression entitled, The 5 Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. In it, he explores the different ways in which people communicate and recognize love. Most of us resonate with aspects of all of these languages, but one likely speaks more to you than the others—this is your love language.
Understanding Chapman’s love languages can help you improve communication with your partner and help you both better understand and meet each other’s needs in a relationship. Let’s take a better look at what each of the five love languages means.
Words of Affirmation
People who speak this love language value the expression of love through verbal acknowledgement. Spoken words of appreciation, love, gratitude, encouragement, and compliments make them feel loved and valued. Written words will also resonate with them.
Examples of this love language: frequent “I love you’s”, social media posts, cute text messages, love notes or letters, verbally expressing how much they mean to you
For those who fall within the “quality time” love language category, love and affection is best communicated by spending active time with their partner. Quality time is valued over quantity of time. That means giving them your undivided attention, eliminating distractions like phones or television, actively listening, and really being present. Intentionally making time to spend together and build your connection is the most meaningful thing you can do for someone who speaks this language.
Examples of this love language: doing recreational activities together, couple’s vacation, meaningful conversation, maintaining eye contact when they speak, no screens when you’re together
Acts of Service
Acts of service is a love language defined by exactly what it sounds like—love expressed through actions. If this is your partner’s language, they will feel love and appreciation from you when you do things for them. This doesn’t mean fulfilling their every whim, but performing acts (often without being asked) that make their life easier. These “services” can be big gestures or just little thoughtful acts that show you value someone and don’t take them for granted.
Examples of this love language: getting morning coffee, filling their gas tank, taking care of dinner after they’ve had a busy work day, folding the laundry
If you feel the most loved when your significant other gives you a physical gift, then this is your love language. For you and others who speak it, gifts are symbolic of love and affection. They don’t have to be big or expensive, for it is truly the thought that counts in these scenarios. The love is recognized mostly in the time, effort, and thought that has been put into choosing a gift specifically for your partner.
Examples of this love language: bringing home their favorite candy, giving a book about something they’re interested in, buying them a new phone case because theirs is broken
Physical touch, obviously, is the love language that puts the most value in physical signs of affection. Sex is the example most people think of first, but any type of physical intimacy or touch can reflect and is crucial in creating a strong emotional connection. For these language speakers, physical closeness fosters emotional closeness.
Examples of this love language: kissing, hand holding, sex, cuddling, hugging
Finding the right match is not about finding someone who speaks your same love language. It’s about finding someone who is willing to discover and speak your language, even if it’s not their own, and for whom you’re willing to do the same. When you sign up for a membership with My Safe Dating, you take your first step toward doing that. Our platform is designed for singles aged 40+ in Metro Vancouver who are looking to connect with someone new—and maybe even learn about a new love language in the process.
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