In his groundbreaking book, The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman defines five different love styles. Each style is the way someone likes to be loved and feels most appreciated. Learning your own love style, as well as that of your partner, is the best way to love and be loved. It’s quite likely that your love style and your partner’s love style will be different. If so, you may need to do a little work and practice acting in the way your partner wants to be loved. Then do a little education—determine your love style and ask for your spouse to do more of what makes you feel truly valued. If you do both of these things, you’re bound to see and feel more love in your everyday life.
Chapman’s Five Emotional Love Languages:
Words of Affirmation
People who value verbal compliments, such as “Wow, you look beautiful in
that dress,” and those who desire encouragement are Words of
Affirmation types. Loving comments and statements of appreciation, like
“You’re an incredible photographer, thank you so much for these
pictures!” are what this type craves most.
Spouses who are Quality Time types would like to spend alone time
together, focusing only on each other (i.e., not on the football game on
TV), while sharing inner feelings, thoughts, and emotions. People who
treasure conversation about hopes and dreams while sharing a drink at a
local coffee shop are most likely Quality Time types.
Most of us love to receive gifts, but this alone does not make
someone a Gift type. Gift types look for visual signs of love, such that
any gift—big or small, expensive or casual—is likely to be saved,
treasured and adored. People of this type often feel that a lack of
gifts reflects a lack of love from their spouse.
Acts of Service
Partners who are Acts of Service types feel loved when their spouse
does little, everyday things, such as taking out the trash, paying
household bills, picking the kids up from soccer practice, and the like.
In order to feel loved, an Acts of Service type would like to see their
partner go out of their way to care for them: to put in the planning,
time, effort, and energy to make daily life a bit easier.
Physical Touch types are perhaps the easiest types to spot. These
partners thrive on physical contact and crave all of the hugs, kisses,
and physical attention you can bestow upon them. People of this type are
most want to be in close physical proximity to their partner and want
to be touched or held with some frequency.
Determining Your Style
Answer these questions to determine your love style:
1. How do you show your love to others?
2. Think back to the moments when you felt most loved, what made them so memorable?
3. What do you really wish your partner knew about how to do things differently?
4. What do you complain about most often?
5. What do you save, keep, treasure, or hold on to most?
From your answers, look for a pattern: do you value physical closeness most? If so, your love style is
likely the physical touch style. Do you crave more alone time? If so, your love style is probably the
quality time style. Do you secretly desire a new wedding band for Valentine’s day? Perhaps you are
the gift style type.
Determining Your Partner’s Style
To determine your partner’s love style, which one of these statements would your spouse most agree with?
1. I feel most loved when my partner expresses feelings for me through physical contact, such as a hug or kiss.
2. I feel most loved when my partner shows affection by taking care of errands, doing household chores, and doing favors for me.
3. I feel most loved when my spouse brings me a very special gift.
4. I feel most loved when my partner pays attention to me, focuses on what I am saying, and plans to spend alone time with me.
5. I feel most loved when my partner tells me how grateful they are for
me and talks about how much all the little things I do are appreciated.
Statement 5 = Words of Affirmation style
Statement 4 = Quality Time style
Statement 3 = Gift style
Statement 2 = Acts of Service style
Statement 1 = Physical Touch style
Speaking Your Partner’s Love Language
After identifying your love style and your partner’s love style, communicate what you’ve learned in
their love style. If you’re married to a Words of affirmation type, tell
them “I am so lucky to be married to you, you’re the most caring man in
the world.” Then go on to tell your partner what you’ve learned and how
you think it could help you both, make sure to tell them about your
love style and how you’d really like to be loved. If you partner is a
Quality Time type, invite them for a romantic dinner and share your new
knowledge. Perhaps you’re dating a Gift type? If so, write a loving
statement inside a silver fortune cookie and present this gift along
with a copy of The Five Love Languages.
By learning your love language and actively communicating in the love
style of your partner, you’ll experience a deeper connection than you
ever thought possible. Having this knowledge and
practicing it daily will be a Valentine’s gift that gets better every year!
The Five Love Languages, How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Dr. Gary Chapman is available online at www.thefivelovelanguages.com and at bookstores everywhere.