What Are the 5 Love Languages?

There are different ways to express love. What’s your love language? Do people have a single love language? In this article, discover the five love languages and learn yours!
What Are the 5 Love Languages?

Last update: 26 April, 2021

What are the love languages? Is there only one? Is love universal?

Theorizing or talking about love is something people have done for many years. However, there’s nothing conclusive about it.

One of the people who dedicated himself to studying love is Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor who wrote about the five love languages. In his book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, he analyzed the different ways in which people express this feeling.

Although each person has their own style and way of giving and receiving love, most people agree that love is very important in life. Meanwhile, Chapman proposes that a couple can connect in a better way when each partner discovers their love language.

What’s a love language?

Chapman argues that many times, couples don’t seem to understand each other or speak different languages, because their love languages ​​aren’t the same.

He also states that people often give love in the same way they like to receive it. For this purpose, he proposes that people should identify what those languages ​​are and then learn from their own to also try to understand those of others.

A couple arguing.
Sometimes, it seems that each partner communicates in different ways, which results in conflict.

1. Words of affirmation

This is one of the most important love languages. The words you say to your partner to show them how much you appreciate them or how important they are to you are spontaneous at times and more thought out at others.

We have to mention that, to be credible, they must be genuine, sincere, and based on something you feel or think. On the other hand, it’s important not to assume that your partner knows how you feel. Recognition and confirmation help strengthen the relationship.

Make sure the things you say aren’t simply empty talk. Remember that actions speak louder than words!

2. Quality time is one of the love languages

In a society in which people have instilled ideas such as multitasking, and where cell phones are used 24/7, it’s even more important to give quality time the place it deserves.

The truth is that many times when someone asks you after going to a social gathering how a certain person you met there is doing, you may not know how to answer.

This is because you’re not “totally there”. That’s why time should be measured in quality, not quantity. Use your time to fully dedicate yourself to your partner, listen to them, and share moments with them.

3. Gifts

This is another of the five love languages Chapman defined. The author states that the gift itself isn’t what matters but also the effort a person made to find and buy it.

However, many people question, at least partially, if the word “gift” is the right one. You probably know that a relationship full of gifts, with all the material needs met, doesn’t necessarily imply reciprocity or interest.

Perhaps the right word would be “gesture”. Paying attention and taking an interest in knowing your partner’s tastes could trigger you to buy them something, which is very different from doing it out of sheer inertia.

As such, it’s best to find a balance. One thing shouldn’t replace the other. Many people also recommend gifting experiences to share.

4. Acts of service are one of the love languages

These are all those actions through which you help another person and do them a favor. For example, bringing food to your mother if you know that she comes home from work very late and is very tired.

At this point, it’s always important to check yourself so you don’t believe that you’re doing acts of service when, in reality, certain things are expected in the framework of equal relationships. For example, cleaning the kitchen isn’t a gesture or a favor if your partner is the one who made dinner.

5. Physical touch

A kiss, a hug, a pat on the shoulder, a caress… Different gestures communicate appreciation, accompaniment, and support. But some people are more physical and need to be nearby. On the other hand, others value their personal space.

Beyond each person having their preferred language to express or receive love, it’s important to find the balance between all of them and be aware of the language of the people you care about. This way, it’ll be easier for everyone to communicate their affection.

A man surprising his partner with flowers and a gift.
Although a gift is a way of expressing love, it shouldn’t be an empty gesture but must actually mean something.

The love languages: Love is more than just romantic love

You must remember that love is built by REAL people. Thus, instead of resorting to ideals or stereotypes, you should base it on the person you’re with.

Also, no one has an exclusive love language per se, as they tend to intersect with one another. You also need to bear in mind that relationships and people change over time, and that it’s important to be aware of these changes.

The ways of expressing love don’t have to be confused with romantic love. Love has to be mutual and based on respect, as a delicate dance.

Love has little to do with the myths of romantic love, which aren’t helpful at all but instead pressure and frustrate people with demands, expectations, and beliefs. Relationships need time, patience, knowledge, and a lot of communication. Knowing your love languages can help.

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  • Eguiluz, L. R. (2006) Las parejas funcionales que perduran en el tiempo En A. Roizblatt (Ed.), Terapia familiar y de pareja (pp. 517-530). Santiago de Chile: Editorial Mediterráneo.
  • Gottman, J. y Silver, N. (2006). Siete reglas de oro para vivir en pareja. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana S.A.
  • Chapman, Gary. The five love languages: How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate. Moody Publishers, 2009.