“Love languages” is a specific term pioneered by Dr. Gary Chapman in his groundbreaking book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate which provides a structured approach to understanding how love is expressed and received by individuals. The five love languages are revolutionary in how emotions can be interpreted and understood, and for many people, helps to stop the guessing game about feelings. Here’s a primer on how love languages can help improve communication in your relationship.

What It’s All About

Love languages are separated by Dr. Chapman into five different categories:

  • Words of Affirmation: This is essentially verbal communication of validation. Compliments are of supreme importance for people who thrive off this type of love language.
  • Acts of Service: Actions speak louder than words for people who express love and affection with gestures. An example would be receiving assistance on a project, especially if provided without being requested.
  • Receiving Gifts: This is not about monetary value or materialistic desires, but rather people who use gifts as gestures of unexpected thoughtfulness or a token of affection. This can be either receiving or giving.
  • Quality Time: This is for people who thrive off having someone else’s undivided and singular attention. If your most prized moment with a loved one is being their primary focus, then quality time is most likely your love language.
  • Physical Touch: A hug or pat on the arm speaks volumes over a kind word or thoughtful gift for this love language. Appropriate touches are what will communicate love most effectively. A hug in some situations can be worth more than a diamond ring when it comes to showing appreciation and commitment.

How Love Languages Work

SheKnows reminds us that love languages aren’t only applicable to romantic relationships, but all interpersonal relationships. Expressing and receiving love extends to everything from parent-child relationships to friends. Being able to recognize these traits by observation and awareness of the five types of love languages, and also having the ability to understand yourself, aids greatly in using this knowledge as a tool. Establishing and enjoying a relationship isn’t about just finding the mythological “one,” but rather, about discovering functional ways to read another person and effectively communicate. Whether utilized by a Allen-based therapist or serving as a self-guided assessment, love languages provide a framework to help understand how love is conveyed to you, and how you convey it.

What Your Quiz Result Reveals

Lifehacker points out that love languages not only reveal how you receive and express love, but also the ways that you don’t. The five love languages lie on different points of a spectrum for everyone. For example, you may find that Quality Time ranks highest and Physical Touch lowest. It depends on the answers you provide during the quiz, which you can take on the official website. The highest possible score in one type of love language is 12 and the lowest is zero. These scores can be very telling, and help you to understand how you express and receive affection.

What To Do With Your Love Language

Love LanguagesOnce you’ve figured out your love language, the next step is figuring out what to do with the knowledge. First and foremost, it’s about self discovery! While you may have initially thought that gift-giving was most important to you, the science of love languages may reveal that you value physical touch above all else. This doesn’t mean that suddenly gifts mean nothing, but simply that getting a hug or pat on the arm may convey love to you more easily and effectively than any other type of communicative gesture. Love languages aren’t about negating gestures of love you may enjoy, but rather fostering a better understanding of the ones that speak to you most poignantly on an emotional level.

Understanding your love language is one part of the process of refining and opening lines of communication between you and your partner. An Allen family counselor can offer services that help you effectively communicate your emotional needs using tools such as love languages in combination with other therapeutic approaches. In the end, a successful relationship is about communication and understanding. Comprehending and recognizing how both you and your partner express love enhances your ability to read each other. This supports a healthy rapport in your relationship and can deepen the love bonds already formed.