The key to enhancing love in all your relationships
By Gary Chapman, PhD Prevention magazine
The 5 love languages
When someone says, “I feel like my spouse doesn’t love me,”—something I’ve heard countless times during my years as a marriage counselor—what are they really complaining about? After years of pondering this, I discovered that their answers fell into five categories that I now call the five love languages—five fundamental ways to express emotional love.
Just as we grow up speaking a primary language like English, French, or Italian, we also grow up with a primary love language. In the world of communication, if I speak only French and you speak only English, we won’t understand each other. The same is true in giving and receiving love. One language I call “acts of service”—showing your love by doing something for the other person. Another is “quality time”—if you love someone, you will spend time with that person and have extended conversations. The answer to keeping emotional love alive is learning and really jibing with each other’s language. I am still in awe that something so basic and straightforward has helped millions of couples restore emotional warmth to their relationships. Later I discovered that the same principle applies in all relationships. Learning love languages can enhance relationships with parents, siblings, and work associates and in the world of dating.
Here, the five languages I’ve identified.
Words of affirmation
“You look nice in that outfit.” “I really appreciate what you did.” “One of the things I like about you is…” All of those phrases express affirmation. Words of affirmation may focus on the way a person looks, some action he or she has taken, or something about that individual’s personality or character. You are simply looking for ways to positively acknowledge him or her. The words may be spoken, written, or even sung. (Not to mention affirmations can also boost creativity and reduce stress.)
If this is your primary love language, then nothing will make you feel more loved than sincere words of affirmation.
Acts of service
In a partnership, this might look like a massage, cooking a scrumptious meal, washing dishes, vacuuming, or taking out the trash. In a friendship, this might be helping with a computer problem or offering a lift to the airport. If this is your primary love language, then the old saying “Actions speak louder than words” will be true. Words may seem shallow, but when someone helps you, your “love tank” fills. (Going the cooking route? Consider these sexy meals for two.)
Articles continues here: What’s Your Love Language?