By Andrés Muñoz

A few months ago, someone asked me what my “love languages” were. I hadn’t given it much thought, but then she listed them. We noticed that our languages were different in some parts and similar in others. 

The concept of “love languages” comes from Dr Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts. He explores five ways people express affection in an intimate relationship. While it has a traditional perspective on relationship dynamics and is aimed more towards married couples, it helps people define how they interact with their loved ones. 

The book has biblical references given Chapman’s background as a pastor. However, it still might help you navigate the tricky landscape of intimate relationships more than you think!

Words Of Affirmation

For many, it all starts with what we say. Words express what goes on in our minds, and when you share your thoughts with a person you care about, you’re reassuring them that you occupy an important place in their mind (and heart, for that matter!). While it may be effortless for some to express how they feel, the act of opening up and sharing their emotions might be pretty hard for others. 

Apart from saying the words “I love you” a lot, and often, compliments require thinking about the person and saying things in such a way that they will be appreciated. You can also take it one step further by complimenting them in front of others!  

Quality Time

Some of the best moments I had with an ex-partner was going out on long hikes and weekend trips. We’d be out in the middle of nowhere, walking through dense forests and taking photographs while sharing these new experiences and getting to know what really drove us. 

Those who appreciate quality time appreciate activities that require their full attention. You may be watching television together, but both of your attention is on the TV, and not on each other! A key element of this language is the exploration of “togetherness”, not just physical proximity. It might sound strange, but many people right now don’t want to be alone, but alone together. Try to join their world, and they’ll welcome you to it.

Giving Gifts

While gift-giving and receiving might be seen as a general confirmation of purchasing power and might appear as the most materialistic of the languages, they can mean much more than that. They’re a concrete symbol of time and dedication to someone else. I know of someone who does an extensive study of what type of gift they’d like to give, giving themselves weeks to research what would really make this person smile. 

Conversely, there is unbelievable power in simple gifts, like a flower during a nature walk or a shell taken from when you went to the beach together. 

Dr Chapman also has a crucial point here: the gift of your personal presence is also a precious way of expressing affection towards someone who likes receiving gifts. For example, accompanying your partner during a particular time of crisis is an extremely valuable gesture that they will appreciate and remember.

Acts Of Service

“Let me do that for you” is the operative word for someone whose love language is acts of service. Concrete help is a manifestation of love, as you are using your time and resources to help your partner. It can be as simple as helping with the household chores or other everyday tasks like making them a cup of coffee. Still, it has to be purposeful and done in a positive spirit. 

If you like to receive acts of service, ask them as a request, but not as a demand. Also, make sure to go over these acts after marriage, as many people change their behaviour when the wedding ring goes on the finger! 

Physical Touch

Touching is an expression of love from the moment we are born. It is also a test of reciprocity, as you learn how to affectionately touch and physically express your love to each other. Kissing, for example, is a crucial way to give and receive physical love, with kissers usually being very receptive about the way their partner reacts to them. 

Holding hands, embracing, and other types of public display of affection might rank high to these individuals. That being said, there might be ways of touching that your partner might not like, so be mindful of your partner’s body language. 

If you’re still uncertain about which is your primary love language, ask yourself the following questions: 

What is my partner not doing that hurts me the most? 

What have I asked most of my partner? 

What do I regularly do to express love to my partner? 

Having studied these questions, what is your love language? Let us know in the comments section below!