How Love Languages Can Help You Forge A Stronger Bond
Sometimes, it can feel like there are gaps in the way your partner and you communicate your love. Knowing each other’s love language can bridge the gap. We explore what love languages are, and how they can help.
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are buzzing with two words—love language. But what exactly does it mean? The hashtag might be trending now, but the concept is nearly thirty years old, and it all comes from the 1992 book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by pastor and talk show host Gary Chapman.
In his book, Chapman says that there are five ways to express and receive love, known as the love languages. Everyone has a primary and a secondary love language, and the way in which a person expresses their love towards others tends to be the same way they like to receive it in turn. While it is important to know what your own love language is, it is also about paying attention to your partner and understanding what makes them feel loved for a stronger bond. If your partner and you have different love languages, it can cause discord in communication, but learning about each other and being mindful of the other person’s needs help to bridge that gap, making you attuned to your partner and building a healthier connection.
Since its release, the book has been hugely popular, both with the general public and in the area of research. According to an article by Nichole Egbert and Denise Polk published in Communication Research Reports, the concept of love languages might have some psychometric validity, while a study published in the Journal of Human Sciences and Extension showed that participants achieved better communication with their partners using Chapman’s concept.
What Are The Five Love Languages?
- Words of Affirmation: If your love language is words of affirmation, you feel appreciated when someone expresses their love for you through words. Be it an “I love you” or compliments, verbal or written communication of genuine appreciation are valuable for people in this group. If this is your partner’s love language, tell them how much they mean to you. Write them heartfelt notes, and offer them sincere compliments to show your affection.
- Acts of Service: Doing something for your partner that they like or helping them out is the behaviour associated with this love language. Help out with a chore they dislike or are too swamped to do to show them they are not taken for granted and have a shoulder to lean on.
- Quality Time: Chapman says that this language is about “undivided attention” from a partner. Spending time together free of any distractions is key in such a dynamic. Be actively present in the moment and spend time establishing mindful connection to each other if your partner enjoys quality time.
- Gifts: This language is about the happiness derived from giving or receiving gifts. Although it might sound materialistic, it is actually not about how monetarily valuable the gift is, but about the thoughtfulness of the gesture, a token that symbolises love. Surprise your partner with meaningful gifts, no matter how large or small, that showcase that you value your emotional connection.
- Physical Touch: Benefits of touch have long been widely researched, and a review published in Developmental Review shows that studies suggest that touch can reduce blood pressure and increase levels of oxytocin and serotonin. If physical touch is the language of your love, you appreciate physical displays of affection. Show your partner your love through tactile acts such as holding hands, hugging, and kissing.