Everyone shows love in their own unique way. Some of us might have a way with words. Others may show love by cooking a decadent meal. We’ve all noticed this throughout our lives, but did you know there are actually five distinct “love languages?” 

First defined in a 1992 book by author and pastor Gary Chapman, the five love languages are as follows:

🕑 Quality Time – Carving time out of your schedule to dedicate wholly to your loved ones shows you care. Whether it’s planning an elaborate date or just watching a half-hour of your favorite TV show snuggled up together, these are treasured moments.

🎁 Gifts – You don’t always need a special occasion. Be it a handmade craft you spent hours on or a piece of jewelry you ordered, gifts let someone know you were thinking of them!

💬 Words of Affirmation – While this doesn’t mean writing your beloved a new sonnet every day (though it would be nice!), verbalizing our love reminds others how much we mean to them. This can also mean saying “I’m proud of you” or “your feelings are valid.”

🤝 Touch Perhaps the clearest of all the languages, physical touch makes many people feel emotionally closer. From a lingering good morning hug to a proud pat on the back to a night of frisky fun, the possibilities are numerous.

🛒 Acts of Service – An oft-overlooked love language, some of us give love by completing shared chores, making our loved ones comfortable, and helping their lives move smoothly. This could mean cleaning, cooking and serving meals, picking the kids up from school, and more.

While all of these things are enjoyed and appreciated to some degree by all people, an individual will usually speak one “primary” language. Discrepancies or oversights in love languages – “translation errors,” if you will – often contribute to miscommunication that leads to the erosion of a relationship. Becoming aware of the myriad of ways to show love helps us become more attuned to how we and our partners give and receive affection. This is important, as we may not pick up on certain ways love is being shown to us unless we have opened our hearts, minds, and eyes to noticing and accepting it.

Think about when you have felt most confident and accomplished in your abilities as a partner. When your positive emotions overflow until you can’t contain them any longer, how do they manifest? How do you show your partners what they mean to you? Put simply: how do you give love? Remember, you may exhibit a hybrid of languages, but choose your primary one here.

Once we are aware of our own love language, there’s still more work to do – but this part is the most fun!

The next step is to define how we like to receive love. Believe it or not, our love languages of giving and receiving are not always the same. For example, some people may love to give gifts, but may feel most appreciated when they receive words or touch in return. Think back to when you have felt most loved and valued by a partner. What was the context? What made your heart flutter?

💟 Today’s homework:
Share your newfound knowledge with your partner today. Try to guess each other’s love language and then see if you’re right! When we open this dialogue and we are equipped with the knowledge of how our partners, friends, and family best articulate their love for us – and how we best express the love within our own hearts – we open up a world of possibilities! 

Appreciate all of the love around you, in whatever form of expression it takes.