The Five Love Languages

The Five Love Languages
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Author: Gary Chapman

Genre: Self-Help

Have you ever fallen in love with someone? How does it feel at the beginning when you are falling for someone? Do you remember that “in-love” experience, when you get butterflies in your tummy, when you keep thinking about the person 24/7, dreaming about them, and wanting to be with them all the time? Did you feel like your “emotional love tank” was always full when you were fresh in love? If you are in the first two years of your romantic relationship, you are probably experiencing all these feelings. But if you have been in a long-time relationship, do you still feel the same way? How full is your love tank now? Do you feel loved by your partner?

The author explains that the intense feelings of being in love, or the “in-love” experience lasts for only two years. Slowly, those feelings start fading away, and love no longer remains solely an intense emotion, rather, it becomes a choice that you make every day. Personally, I felt so validated by reading this book because I used to wonder why I didn’t feel the exact same way I used to feel several years ago about my husband. Is something wrong with me? Am I no longer in love with him? Apparently, my feelings are completely normal, and if you have been in a long-term relationship like us and feel the same way, I see you and I understand you. Both you and I are normal for feeling that way. A long-term relationship is a commitment and hard work that both you and your partner consciously put into every single day and as long as you both do your part, love shall always prevail. To sustain a long-term relationship, what’s important though is having one’s emotional love tank full. It is important for each person in the relationship to feel loved by the other.

People feel loved in different ways, which means different people speak different love languages.

Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English. No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse understands only Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other.

If one can understand the five love languages described in the book and speak/express their love in the relevant love languages to their partner, they are more likely to experience better communication, forge deeper connections, and develop healthier relationships. Let’s dive deeper into these five love languages then:

Words of Affirmation

Some people feel loved through the words or phrases that communicate love, respect, and appreciation. If your partner’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation, they will feel most loved when you express your love through affirming words and phrases consistently. As someone who feels loved through affirming words, I’d like to point out that frequency does matter for people like us. If your partner thrives on words of affirmation and you are not naturally inclined to affirm, make sure you put effort into doing that frequently in order for them to feel your love. Some of the words or phrases you could use are: “I am so proud of you”, “I am lucky to have you in my life”, “You are doing great”, “You look great in this outfit”, “You have a beautiful smile”, ”I appreciate when you make my favorite food”, etc.

Quality Time

Those whose primary love language is quality time, they appreciate the undivided attention of their partner. Especially in this era of chronic phone use, if you could set aside your phone and have one-on-one time with your partner, it can foster intimacy and deeper connections. Quality time may include something as simple as discussing how your day went, where both of you share your experiences and listen to each other. It is one of my personal favorite ways to spend quality time, along with taking walks/hikes and going on long drives- just the two of us.

Acts of Service

Your partner’s primary love language is acts of service if they feel most loved when you perform tasks or helpful actions for them, especially without them having to ask constantly. Acts of service may look like cooking your partner’s favorite meal, running errands, doing household chores, or taking care of the responsibilities that your partner is not particularly fond of. Personally, I dislike going grocery shopping. My husband takes care of the grocery every week, and I greatly appreciate it.

Receiving Gifts

Individuals whose primary love language is receiving gifts may value these gifts as expressions of love. The most important thing to consider is that gifts are not always about materialism, it’s the thoughtfulness behind them that truly matters. A few years ago, when we were still in a long-distance relationship, my husband (who was my boyfriend at that time) surprised me by giving me a hair dryer as a gift. I had recently moved to the US then and didn’t have a car. On the days when I had classes, I used to wash my hair and walk to the university with wet hair, and during winter, my head would hurt a lot. He knew about my headaches, and he thought it was because I walked out with wet hair in the cold, so he ordered a hair dryer for me. I felt so loved when I received the gift. The hair dryer was just an item, but the thoughtfulness he put behind gifting it still fills up my love tank. 😊

Physical Touch

Individuals with this love language feel most loved and connected through physical touch, such as hugs, kisses, holding hands, and sexual intimacy. Remember that there are several dialects within a love language, and different individuals may feel loved when different dialects are spoken/expressed. Physical touch does not always have to be about sex, simply holding hands when walking together, giving random kisses, and sharing warm hugs can fill someone’s love tank. If your partner’s love language is physical touch, move a little closer while watching TV, give them an unexpected hug, hold their hand during a walk, and give them random kisses throughout the day.

Now that we have gone through each love language, you might be wondering how I discover my own love language. No worries, I’ve got you covered! The author suggests the following:

Observing your own behaviors and desires- Paying attention to how naturally you express your love to others can speak volumes about how you want to be loved. So, take some time to reflect on that.

Observing your requests- What have you most often asked for from your partner? Your requests may unveil your love language. For example- if you frequently ask them to spend time with you, then quality time is likely what holds the most significance for you in your relationship.

Observing the pain points- What is it that your partner fails to do that causes you the most pain? If your partner’s words and tone of expression hurts you the most, then that may indicate that your primary love language is words of affirmation.

Relationships are fragile. If we do not nurture them with love and care, they are most likely to break. You may love your partner, but as mentioned before, if you do not love them in their right language, they may not feel loved, and vice versa. In order for both of your love tanks to be filled, you need to learn each other’s love language. As mentioned earlier, love is a choice. For a healthier and happier relationship, I hope you choose to learn about yourself and your partner and fill both of your emotional love tanks with as much love as possible.

I hope you find this summary helpful. HERE are my other book summaries!

See you in the next blog post!