Have you ever felt like you were putting a lot of effort into showing love to your partner, but they just didn’t seem to be getting the message? Or maybe you have felt like you and your partner aren’t speaking the same language when it comes to showing affection. Learning which of the five languages is yours and which is your partner’s could be the key to unlocking a deeper level of connection and could help you see things from their perspective.
The Five Love Languages, The Basics
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghFebruary 20, 2023 communication, couples communication, couples counseling, couples therapy, dating, healthy relationships, the five love languages0 comments
What are the Five Love Languages?
You may have heard the term “love languages,” but you may be wondering: what exactly are they? To put it simply, the love languages are the different ways in which people give and receive love. The concept of love languages was introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book The Five Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate where he proposed that each individual has a preferred way of expressing love. According to Chapman, the primary love languages are acts of service, physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, and giving and receiving gifts. Understanding your own love language, as well as your partner’s, can help improve communication, deepen intimacy, strengthen your relationship, and help build a foundation of mutual understanding, respect, and appreciation for one another.
Let’s take a brief look at each love language:
Acts of Service
Those with acts of service as their love language feel most loved when their partner does things for them that they perceive as helpful, such as running errands, cooking, cleaning, getting their partner’s favorite coffee in the morning, or performing other tasks. The focus is on the effort and the willingness to help, rather than the actual task itself.
People who have physical touch as their love language feel most appreciated when they receive physical contact and intimacy from their partners. This includes things like holding hands, hugging, kissing, having sex, massaging one’s back or shoulders, and cuddling. Physical touch communicates a sense of emotional closeness and comfort that words or actions may not be able to convey.
If your love language is quality time, you feel most loved when your partner and other loved ones spend uninterrupted, focused time with you. This means giving undivided attention, actively listening, and engaging in activities or conversations that both of you enjoy. Things like keeping phones away while on a date, your partner listening intently while you speak, and simply being present with each other are seen as meaningful.
Words of Affirmation
Those whose love language is words of affirmation feel most appreciated when they receive verbal expressions of affection and appreciation from their partners. This includes words of encouragement, appreciation, and gratitude, such as saying “I love you” often, or compliments, like “you are so kind.” Words of affirmation convey a sense of love, respect, and validation that can help build self-esteem and deepen the emotional connection between two people.
For individuals who have gifts as their love language, they feel most loved when they receive thoughtful, meaningful, and personal gifts, or as Dr. Gary Chapman calls it: “visual symbols of love.” The focus is on the time and effort put into selecting and presenting the gift, rather than the monetary value of the gift itself. Gifts can communicate love, care, and affection within the relationship.
Written by Téa Del Rio, Counseling Intern. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Téa, please call us at 412-322-2129.
Chapman G. (1992). The five love languages: How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate. Northfield Publishing.