The five love languages describe the way we feel loved and appreciated. Depending on our individual personality types, we may feel loved differently than how other people do. Understanding and decoding these different ways of showing love will help take the guesswork out of expectations and needs in your relationships.
According to Dr. Chapman, there are five love languages:
1) Words of Affirmation
2) Acts of Service
3) Receiving Gifts
4) Quality Time
5) Physical Touch.
Each one serves as a touchstone to understand how love is perceived and given.
Chapman says, "It became apparent to me that what makes one person feel loved isn't always the same for their spouse or partner," he explains. "I discovered every person understands and receives love in a specific language, one of five to be precise. The other four are just as important and offer [other] ways to express love to each other."
And yes, I realize that Chapman specialized in couples counseling so a lot of this is aimed at romantic love but it is important to emphasize that love is prevalent in all relationships, romantic or platonic, and at least personally, how I give affection in a romantic relationship has not been too off from how I express affection in a platonic one.
There's really no scientific research behind Chapman's theory; it just makes sense because it's relatable. It's obvious that we all show affection in different ways. These "languages" simply label those ways so you can understand people a little better. Even just reading about them to get a deeper understanding of each one can improve the relationships in your life.
Knowing what makes you tick and what doesn't can help you empathize with people a little better.
Overall, it all comes down to knowing what's important to people so you can understand, empathize and work with them a little better. Everyone is different. We all have different life experiences; we come from different backgrounds. It makes sense that we communicate differently, too.
Having a better understanding of yourself directly impacts your relationships. How can someone else understand your wants, needs, and preferences if you don't? Figuring out your love language is valuable information for all your relationships.
Once you are more intentional in your expression of affection to those you love, you quickly realize that not everyone expresses their love in the same way, so being aware of the different love languages can help you understand your relationships better.