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Understanding Love Languages

The five love languages are a concept brought about by Dr. Gary Chapman. He introduced these love languages as the ways in which people receive and give love. Dr. Chapman was a marriage counselor who was noticing trends in his cases. One partner would exclaim “I just don’t feel like I am loved” and the other partner would exclaim “I don’t know what else to do”. Dr. Chapman took this information and decided to look at specifics. When someone says they don’t feel like they are loved, what is it they are looking for? He found that the answers landed in five different categories, and love languages were born. The five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Everyone has at least one love language that they prefer over the others. It is possible to have more than one primary preference of how they receive love and affection. Let’s take a closer look at each of the love languages to get a better understanding of what they are.

Words Of Affirmation Words of Affirmation are spoken sentiments of love, affection, and appreciation. If this is your primary love language, you feel loved when your partner often tells you that you are appreciated or gives you encouragement. For example, I have a friend who gushes over me every time I see her. “You look so great! How do you get your hair to look so good? You’re always so fashion-forward and put together”. Her primary Love Language is definitely words of affirmation. As a personal aside, I highly recommend finding a best friend like this! It’s great having my own, personal hype-woman!

Quality Time If quality time is your primary love language, you feel most loved when you have your loved one’s undivided attention. Remember, this does not necessarily need to refer to a romantic partner. If you are at a restaurant, there are no cell phones on the table. It’s just you and your loved one. Keep in mind that any relationship will thrive if both parties are making time for one another. The key here is the undivided attention. If my love language is quality time, and I am spending the day with my partner, there is absolutely nothing that is going to get in the way of that time. My phone ringer is off. I don’t take quick glances. Eye contact is made frequently, and active listening skills are used so my partner knows he has my focus.

Receiving Gifts When we talk about gift-giving as love language, we are not just referring to the gift itself. The person with this way of expressing her love prides herself on giving the perfect gift(s) for her loved ones. She considers the thought, time, and effort put into purchasing, wrapping, and preparing the gift, all part of the present. Likewise, when someone with this love language receives a gift, she values it far more than the monetary value for those reasons.

Acts Of Service With a love language of acts of service, you feel most loved when your loved one does nice little things for you. Maybe your partner switched the laundry over for you while you were out. That is an act of service. People with this love language are good at noticing all the little things and tend to be extremely appreciative of them.

Physical Touch If physical touch is your primary love language, you feel most loved when your loved ones are touchy-feely. These people are typically huggers and say “hello” and “goodbye” with a hug. Cuddling is big with romantic partners with this love language. They need it to feel loved, and to express their love. Holding hands is also big for folks with physical touch as their love language.

Why Does It Matter It’s important to learn our own love language as well as the love languages of those we care about. As Dr. Chapman found, if we are not aware of how our loved ones are trying to express their love, we won’t be able to acknowledge it. Similarly, until I am aware of my own love language, and how I feel the most comfortable receiving and expressing my own love, I am unable to share that with the people who care about me. And when it comes to love, everyone just wants to be operating respectfully. Take the time to get to know yourself enough to learn your love language, as well as those of the ones you care about. There are countless quizzes online, but you can take one on the official love languages website at

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