09 March 2019 Posted By : Lia Ryerson

How the 5 Love Languages Can Completely Transform Your Relationship

One of the key tenets of all successful relationships—be they platonic, romantic or otherwise—is communication. As much as I’d like to say that I’m a master at communicating openly, honestly and vulnerably at all times, the truth is that sometimes I struggle. More accurately, I struggle when I’m feeling unsafe or misunderstood. That’s where the five love languages come in to help.

Happy friends holding each other

What are Love Languages?

I first learned about the term “love languages” four years ago. I had just agreed to move in with my partner and was looking up tips online about how to ensure that our foray into cohabitation would go as smoothly as possible. I stumbled across a book called “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” by Gary Chapman.

The premise of the book is simple. Essentially, Chapman suggests that there are five different love languages, and that everyone has a particular love language that makes them feel the most loved. The five different love languages are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Personal Touch

The idea is that identifying both your own love language and the love language of someone in your life can drastically improve the quality and efficacy of your communication. Some even refer to the love languages as the “key” to healthy and lasting relationships.

For me, that turned out to be true.

Playful mature husband and wife having fun, celebrating, dancing and laughing together in living room

My experience with love languages

The most important thing to understand about love languages, in my opinion, is that we all “speak” each of the five languages. Just because you favor some of the languages over the others doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate each of them or aren’t fluent in all five.

The love languages are meant to give you insight into how to make others feel their best and what you need to feel great, too.

After taking the love languages quiz online here, I determined that my primary love language is “words of affirmation”, which means that I feel the most loved and fulfilled when someone uses their words to genuinely appreciate me. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it when someone gives me a hug, buys me a present or does me a favor. It just means that if I was to star in a romcom, my love interest would show up at my door not with roses but with a sincere and thoughtful compliment to make me swoon.

My partner, on the other hand, has “acts of service” as his primary love language, which means he feels most appreciated when someone goes out of their way to do something for him, like a favor or a chore.

young couple hanging out and walking in Greenwich Village - New York, USA.

The Love languages in action

When I want to make my partner feel great, my first instinct is to show him my support and admiration with my words. I want to go into detail about how proud I am of him or compliment him verbally. After learning his love language, I still do that, but I also try to make sure to do things like swing by the grocery store for him if he’s too busy to go shopping or wash his dirty dishes if I can see he’s stressed or tired. Those acts of service make him feel the most appreciated.

He, on the other hand, had to learn that as much as I might appreciate and genuinely love when he does favors for me, it’s also important for me to get verbal confirmation from him semi-regularly about what I’m doing right in our relationship. If he notices that I do the dishes for him, for example, I don’t want a back rub in return (although I wouldn’t turn it down). A simple “thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to do that for me, and it doesn’t go unnoticed,” is the reciprocity I actually crave.

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