Do you know the 5 love languages and do you speak your partners?


5 love languages list
image: Priscilla Du Preez

The differences between men and women are a piece of cake to understand, right? I mean, once you wrap your head around the Mars and Venus part.

Let’s not get started on same-sex relationships; suffice to say that things don’t get any less complicated when your partner is the same gender, but for the sake of this article, I’ll just stick to what I know best.

Men like to feel appreciated, and women like to feel special. Women like presents and men like affection.

Or is it the other way around?

Women like affection and men like… what do men like??

Of course, the way we feel loved is a very individual thing, so too is the way we show it, but what would happen if our wires were crossed and our partners weren’t picking up our love signals and they missed us communicating our devotion?

We can probably guess, right? Eventual messy messiness.

According to Dr Gary Chapman in his book The 5 Love Languages, everyone expresses love, and needs love expressed, in one of five ways. If your communication method is not the same as your partners, it’s possible that you’re missing each other’s love signals and therefore emptying your emotional love tanks… or as I like to call it, the Bank Account of Lurve.

One cannot only withdraw from the Bank of Lurve. One must make deposits to prevent the account from bankrupting you.

Apparently, the secret to this is endeavouring to understand the five love languages and then ensuring you’re both fluent in each other’s tongue.

Basically, it breaks down to this (although we are complex beasts who may have a couple, everyone has one dominant love language)…

Words of affirmation

“I can live for months on a good compliment.” Mark Twain

Do you or your partner thrive on sweet words? I think this might be my big one of the 5 love languages. Gentle, loving encouragement and compliments take only seconds to give, and if they equal full love banks then they should be given regularly. Sweet nothings and dropping compliments is not everyone’s style, however, and some struggle to do it.

I reckon this one is a bit like mastering an art. Maybe a bit hard at first, but with some practice you can be a silver-tongued devil in no time, and reaping the rewards of a partner with an overflowing lurve account.


Quality time

Warning : This one requires the smart phone to be put on silent and placed in another room.

All some partners need is your full and concentrated attention. It is about doing stuff together, maybe sharing a meal, or doing an activity that you both love, but it is mostly about undivided attention. No TV on in the background, no phones, just quality conversation and connection.

I would imagine that every single relationship would benefit from this, but if this is a love language in your household, not creating the time and space for your partner could prove fatal (for the relationship, I don’t mean…. well, you know.)

Receiving gifts

“Anyone who says they don’t like receiving gifts is lying.” Dita Von Teese

I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t love a present, or as Doc Gary likes to call it ‘visual symbols of love’.

Some spouses feel most loved when they receive a token of your affection. They needn’t be extravagant, or expensive, just a symbol to show that you’re thinking of them when they are not there.

These gifts need not be every day, but if your spouse responds to the language of receiving, they will feel most secure and fulfilled when you’re handing over the goods.

Acts of service

This is one I’ve thought about a lot.

Helping your spouse out by doing something for them is an act of service. Some spouses get their love tanks filled by you simply helping a lover out. When you share their load, they see it as an undeniable expression of love. If you’re doing this already, and this is the correct love language then you’re on a winner, but don’t expect miracles because you took the garbage out because it’s not actually that simple. Not all acts are created equal!!

You need to work out exactly which acts of service tick your spouse’s boxes to ensure you’re doing it right. I may suggest to my spouse that we try this one out thoroughly to see if it floats my boat. Even if it’s not my primary language, I’d be in a better mood.

Physical touch

“Don’t leave an inch of me untouched; and if you think that strictly means skin, well then, you don’t know much about love.”
KK. Meade

We’re not talking about the wild thing here, we’re talking about affection and touch. Love making is definitely a factor in this, but there are a million other ways to touch a physical touch lovin’ spouse that will help them feel the lurve.

If you have a partner that simply craves a cuddle but is left hanging, over time this can become a deal breaker. A caress on the face, or the back of the neck, holding hands whilst watching tv… also, canoodling is fun, just quietly.

Are the 5 Love Languages the secret to love that lasts as the book would suggest? Is Dr Chapman handing us the secrets to nuptial nirvana on a silver tongued platter?

I have no idea, but understanding your partner’s love language may certainly be a tool in your tool kit, and a well stocked tool kit is a welcome thing.


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