There are considered to be five different ways that people express and receive love. Each language represents how love is expressed toward others in one's life, as well as the way they wish to be shown love.
While everyone is different in this regard, there is said to be a primary language that each person prefers to send and receive. Renowned marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of "The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts" , the book that sparked conversation over the love languages. Over 7 million copies of the book have been sold and it also held a #1 spot on the New York Time's Bestseller List.
The five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.
Words of Affirmation
Affirming through emotional support and encouragement is the basic principle of this love language. Compliments or expressions of appreciation are vital within this language. Hearing "I love you" or "I am proud of you" is the most important way to show love to those whose primary love language is words of affirmation, and is more than likely the most common way that those within this language show love to others as well.
Acts of Service
Serving other people with actions rather than words is the backbone of this language. Completing chores for others or simply taking tasks off of someone else's to-do list is an important way that those with this love language show their appreciation and affection. Cooking a meal for someone else, filling up their gas tank, or simply completing a task for another individual are key examples of acts of service.
Giving and receiving gifts are the expression chosen by those with this love language. Thought, planning, and effort behind gifts are essential and special to these individuals. Birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions are never forgotten by those who speak this language, and they love when people remember special occasions in their lives with gifts as well. Materialism is not the central focus of this language; the gesture behind gifts is.
Undivided attention without the distractions of television, cell phones, and other technologies are fundamental to quality time. Quality conversation and activity with true listening and dialogue are how those within this love language express and like to receive love. Nothing says "I care about you" like making the time you spend with others your main focus.
Security is given by and to those whose primary language is physical touch. Pats on the back, hugs, holding hands, or other forms of physical contact are the dominating choice of expression of love for these individuals. Neglect of touch or abuse can destroy relationships with those who speak this love language.
While being knowledgeable about these findings is beneficial in improving and maintaining romantic relationships, many other types of relationships within people's lives can also be improved with the application of Dr. Chapman's findings.
"In all my years of counseling, speaking, and writing about the 5 love languages, I’ve found that everyone benefits when they begin to apply them in all their relationships; obviously people are at different levels and depending on the current condition of their relationship most find they see an immediate response," said Chapman in a 2013 interview with Verily Magazine.
Discovering your own love language and the love languages of those in your life allows room to express and receive love in the most effective and constructive way. (Mine is quality time!)
To find out your love language, take the quiz at www.5lovelanguages.com.