Love. What a loaded word we use to describe about a million different things. It's something that can felt from miles away and meaningfully expressed in the most mundane gestures. But if you've ever been left confused as to why you or your bae aren't feeling the love, even though you know you both really care about each other, it could be because you're simply not speaking each other's language — your love language. There are five love languages, to be exact. The five love languages were first discussed by Dr. Gary Chapman in his New York Times bestseller, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.
In his book, Dr. Chapman reflected on over 30 years of couples counseling, which led him to believe that pretty much all of the ways we express love for the people we care about can be grouped into five main categories: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, receiving gifts, and physical touch. Although they all might sound appealing in different ways, according to Chapman, of these five different love languages, most people value one or two of them more than the rest.
This concept may very well explain many of the less-than-perfect situations couples find themselves in at one point or another. Maybe your partner tells you they love you every day and gives you extravagant gifts from time to time, but they work crazy hours, meaning you don't get to spend much quality time that you crave together and aren't having as much sex or physical contact as you'd like. Despite their efforts, you're left not really feeling the love, and they're left feeling confused as to why their gestures are going unappreciated. This is a classic case of a couple who may simply be speaking different love languages. The good news is, with a bit more observation and communication, there's no reason you both can't make simple adjustments that will leave both your love tanks filled to the brim.
So here's a little bit more about each love language. As you read through each one, investigate which one(s) align most closely with what your partner would respond to. Once you know, you'll be better able to tailor how you show your partner love to the language they speak.
1. Words Of Affirmation
For some of us, there's nothing that gets us going like hearing our partner verbally express their feelings of love and adoration. If you or your partner's love language revolves around the spoken word, then it'll be clear that giving them compliments and telling them you love them goes a long way. On the flip side, people like this may be particularly sensitive to insults or criticism. So when communicating with them, it's important to always be aware of what you say and how you say it.
2. Quality Time
Baes who value quality time above all else might not be so taken with verbal affirmation and are likely more concerned with ensuring you both have time alone together. With people who speak this love language, it may be necessary for them to feel like they are getting plenty of your attention, so be sure to block of plenty of date nights and weekends spent together to ensure they're feeling the love. Rescheduling dates or constantly being glued to your phone might leave this type of lover feeling under appreciated.
3. Acts Of Service
These lovers are the ultimate believers in the ol' saying "actions speak louder than words." When it comes down to it, those who love acts of service love when their partners lend a helping hand whenever possible or do something kind for them. This might mean bringing lunch to their office on your day off or running errands for them when they're drowning in work. They probably won't be feeling the love with partners who don't stick to their commitments or whose thoughtlessness results in more work and/or stress for them.
4. Receiving Gifts
I mean, who doesn't love a bae who knows how to treat them? Personally, I've made a point of letting every guy I've ever dated know that if they want to be my forever boo, at some point in our relationship, I expect to open a beautifully wrapped box with a puppy inside.
Although those who love receiving gifts may have a bad rap for being materialistic. But according to Chapman, this isn't always the case. Some people's experience of love is more intertwined with symbolism, meaning that receiving a physical token of their bae's love leaves a lasting impression.
5. Physical Touch
Last, but not least, we have the cuddle monsters. These lovers simply can't get enough of that physical TLC — and this doesn't necessarily mean just sex. Kisses, hand holding, you name it. For some, physical contact with their loved one reigns supreme. Any misuse of physicality or hostile body language is likely to leave this type of lover feeling both rejected and unloved.
At the end of the day, the best way to figure out which combination of love languages you or your partner most identify with is to observe how they (or you) naturally give love. People who value quality time are typically those who aren't afraid to plan romantic dates and would appreciate if you took the reigns occasionally as well. Thoughtful and frequent gift givers are likely to enjoy receiving meaningful gifts as well. You get the idea. In the end, if you're still not sure, it never hurts to simply ask. Asking someone how they want to be loved might not feel like the most intuitive or romantic thing to do, but chances are, they'll be super appreciative of your effort to be the best partner to them you can be.