What your love language says about your relationships

In The Know
·5-min read

The concept of love languages was developed in 1992 when Dr. Gary Champan figured out that there are five distinct ways people express love — whether it be to a platonic friend, family member or a romantic partner.

Love languages describe how you feel love and appreciated and how you convey to someone else that you love them and appreciate them. According to Chapman, understanding your love language can help you in all sorts of relationships and eliminate a lot of miscommunication.

Each person can relate to all, if not most of the languages, but typically there are one or two languages that stand out the most to an individual. Here’s what each language means:

Words of Affirmation

People with this as their top love language value verbal acknowledgments as their preferred method of affection. These are people who want to hear “I love you” and compliments, and appreciate a written letter over a gift. These are people who are typically very talkative in relationships and, in modern times, are those who use texting and social media engagement as both an expression of interest and to gauge whether someone is into them.

If you’re dating someone with this love language, avoid withholding compliments as punishment or limiting how often you say “I love you” — the excuse “they should know I love them” does not cut it for people with this love language.

Is this your love language?

  1. Can you ever get enough of hearing your partner say “I love you”?

  2. Do you appreciate it when your partner notices tiny changes about you?

  3. Do you feel valued and respected when you can tell your partner has spent time thinking about what they’re going to say?

  4. Do you feel snubbed when someone doesn’t thank you verbally after you’ve done them a favor?

Quality Time

Those who prioritize quality time feel most loved when their partner spends time with them in person. It can be anything from joining them on a trip to the pharmacy or hanging out and watching TV. They prioritize active listening, eye contact in conversations and full attention.

People with quality time as their love language are going to be people who hate when someone texts at the dinner table or takes it personally when their partner doesn’t want to share even mundane activities with them. Interestingly, the quality time love language is theorized to stem from growing up with a family who ate dinner together every night.

Is this your love language?

  1. Do you enjoy spending uninterrupted time with just your partner?

  2. Do you think it’s important/reflective of how much they love you if they make time for you?

  3. Do you prioritize sharing special experiences with someone you love?

  4. Do you feel happy and content not doing anything with your partner, but just being together?

Acts of Service

Anyone who enjoys acts of service is the type of person who feels loved and appreciated when their partner goes out of their way to make their life easier. Bringing you coffee in the morning, picking up your dry cleaning without you asking or having dinner ready for you after a long day at work are all examples of acts of service.

These are the people who believe actions speak louder than words. Compared to someone with words of affirmation as their language, someone who prioritizes acts of service cares more about physical representations of how much someone cares about them.

Is this your love language?

  1. Do you feel “taken care of” when your partner does small tasks or chores around the house without being asked?

  2. Do you take it very personally if someone doesn’t follow through on something?

  3. Do you think talk is cheap and that actions mean more?

Gifts

Gifts are a straightforward love language. Those with this love language feel most appreciated when they are given a “visual symbol” of love. It’s not about how much it costs, but the thought put in behind it and the deliberation in choosing this gift for them.

The emotional benefits of receiving a gift — planned, like for a birthday, or unexpected — outweigh any other expression.

This love language can be misconstrued as greedy or spoiled, but in reality, it’s the sentimentality behind the gift that these people enjoy. It’s the idea that they have a tangible representation of someone thinking about them that makes them feel loved, it doesn’t matter what the gift actually is.

Is this your love language?

  1. Do you feel love when you receive a gift?

  2. When you have a good day or go on a good date, do you try to keep a physical memento of the memory?

  3. Do you love using holidays, birthdays, special occasions as excuses to think deeply about your partner and find them the perfect gift?

  4. Would you rather receive a nostalgic gift over something new and expensive?

Touch

Touch is another straightforward love language. Physical signs of affection are prioritized and physical intimacy is a powerful emotional connection for them. Similar to quality time, this love language has roots in childhood — those who grew up with physically adoring parents who were hugged when they came home from school or kissed goodnight every night are more likely to associate touch with the epitome of love.

Is this your love language?

  1. When you like someone, do you go out of your way to touch them — whether it be a hug or a brief pat on the shoulder?

  2. Do you feel secure in a relationship that is expressed physically?

  3. Do you not mind public displays of affection?

  4. When you’re next to your partner, do you feel the need to reach out and touch them, whether it be a hand on their leg or resting your head on their shoulder?

Love personality tests? Find out what your Myers-Briggs type says about you.

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