The 5 Love Languages - Ingredients of a successful relationship

“It’s just not working”, my friend said, “We have a completely different way of looking at things.”

She and her boyfriend were together for more than two years now. They were like those couples who look so perfect with each other that it’s hard to imagine them with someone else.

However, as they say, everything looks good from the surface.

Recently, their occasional fights had increased to such a level that it was almost impossible for them to go out and have a nice dinner without any nagging from either side.

It was easily noticeable that just like thousands of other couples, they were tired of each other, and it was time for them to call it off.

According to psychologist Dorothy Tennov, the average lifespan of a romantic obsession is two years. Afterwards, as most married people know, it’s all just routine.

Gary Chapman, in his book, titled as The 5 Love Languages had this to say:

The reason why everything becomes tiresome in a relationship is simple: the psychological part of love — hormones, infatuation, the need to be in someone’s company — naturally fades with time. And if you want to transform this experience into a real lifelong love, you need to learn to communicate your feelings with your partner.

According to him, mastering your partner’s love language is the secret ingredient for a long and healthy relationship.

As his book title suggests, there are five love languages in this world.

Love languages describe the way we feel loved and appreciated. Depending on our personality types, we may feel loved differently than how our partners do.

Understanding and decoding these different ways of showing love will help take the guesswork out of your partner’s expectations and needs.

1. Words of Affirmation

“I can live for two months on a good compliment” — Mark Twain

‘If we take Twain’s words literally’, Chapman states, ‘six compliments a year would have kept his emotional love-tank at the operational level.’

However, that would’ve only worked if Twain’s primary love language was Words of Affirmation.

Everyone loves compliments. Verbal compliments are powerful communicators of love. But for some people, nothing is more important than a good compliment.

Saying to your partner something like ‘You always make me laugh’ or ‘You look gorgeous today’ are some of the simplest things to earn your partner’s appreciation.

If your partner communicates through this love language, it means they value words more than anything else.

It also means that you’d have to be very genuine with your compliments.

People whose love language is words of affirmation care about the emotions behind words, and they can easily sense when you’re complimenting them just for the sake of giving a compliment.

If you’re not good with words, you can consider keeping a diary and note down short phrases and movie quotes that you find romantic.

2. Quality time

Quality time doesn’t mean watching Netflix and chilling with your partner. When two people are watching T.V., they are spending time near each other, not with each other.

Those who have quality time as their love language crave their partner’s undivided attention.

This includes staying away from mobile phone, Netflix, or any other distraction that might shift your focus away from them.

‘A central aspect of quality time is togetherness’, writes Chapman, ‘I do not mean proximity. Two people sitting in the same room are in close proximity, but they’re not necessarily together.’

Togetherness has to do with focused attention, which means to forego everything playing on the T.V. or in your mind and spending time with your partner.

3. Receiving gifts

Gifts are a sign of expressing love by way of thoughtful presents. However, people whose love language is receiving gifts are often considered shallow by the society.

But the author argues that gifts are ‘visual symbols of love’. A gift is something you can hold in your hands and say ‘Look, he was thinking of me.’

A gift doesn’t just drop from the sky. You must first think of someone to give them a gift.

A person whose primary love language is that of receiving gifts will think of your gift as the most heartfelt thing you could shower upon them.

It doesn’t mean that the gifts need to be expensive. Gifts may be purchased, found or made, but they are important to those who communicate through this language.

Something as simple as a flower or picking up a pint of ice cream after a long work week can make a huge impact.

This language is one of the easiest to learn. All you need is a list of some of your partner’s wishes and the gifts he/she has expressed excitement in the past.

Remember that it’s not all about the gifts. It’s about the effort and proving that you’re thinking of them and that the gift is just a representation of how much you care for them.

What really melts these people is being there for them when it matters the most. Physical presence while giving a gift and in the time of crisis is what they cherish.

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4. Acts of service

If your partner wishes you to do the dishes, or take out the trash, then their primary love language is this.

People whose primary love language is acts of service feel your love by the things that you do.

The best and simplest way to attend to your partner is by voluntarily doing the things that they want you to do.

Anything from mowing the lawn to helping kids with their homework is appreciated by people who speak this language.

Requests give directions to love, but demands stop the flow of love. — Gary Chapman

Acts of service cannot be counted in legitimate expressions if they become obligations. The most powerful actions are those that are done spontaneously or without asking.

Like the previous language, it doesn’t ask for much. Doing a simple task like setting up the dinner table while your partner is cooking is one such example of showing love to your partner.

Love is, essentially, an act of self-sacrifice. So it shouldn’t be about what your spouse can do for you, but what you can do for your spouse.

5. Physical touch

It can’t be argued how essential physical touch is in a relationship. This love language is more about intimacy than it is about sex.

Science has confirmed that there’s a sound reason for this instinct. Babies who are hugged, held, and kissed, tend to develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for an extended period without any physical contact.

In some degree or another, we all need physical touch. But people whose primary love language is physical touch needs it even more than others. Not being touched enough by their partners sends a signal to their brain of not being properly loved.

Holding hands, kissing, and sexual intercourse fills the emotional tank of these people and amount to a feeling of tenderness, safety, attachment, and love.

‘If your partner’s love language is physical touch’, writes Chapman, ‘nothing is more important than holding her as she cries.’

It’s also crucial to explore your partner’s bodies with them. That includes asking for appropriate feedback until you discover what they enjoy the most.

So there you have it. One thing worth noting down here is that it’s perfectly fine for someone to have more than one love language.

When someone has more than one love language, it becomes easier for their partner to figure them out and gift them the happiness that they deserve.

So there you have it. One thing worth noting down here is that it’s perfectly fine for someone to have more than one love language.

When someone has more than one love language, it becomes easier for their partner to figure them out and gift them the happiness that they deserve.