The Language of Love

By Jeffrey Kraft, AMFT

How do you understand and experience love from others in your life? This is the very question that Dr. Gary Chapman set out to answer to provide individuals and couples with insight into their internal needs and affections. In 1992, Dr. Gary Chapman created categories for these types of expression called the 5 Love Languages. ( Since then, Love Languages has assisted couples with effectively communicating their needs for compassion and commitment from one partner to another. Love Languages has since evolved and grew into a movement that allows couples to experience the multifaceted dynamics of love expression. The languages are boiled down to five domains where some people can identify and respond best to one type of language. It is not to say that there is only one language a person experiences and responds to, but rather there may be a secondary language a person may also speak to.  Knowing what language your partner speaks in and understands when it comes to love can help you connect further and feel more fulfilling affection!

The Five Love Languages are:

Words of Affirmation: This includes a verbal expression of affection. An individual who responds well to this language aims to accept and experience kind words from their partner.

Examples include: “You look great today!” “Thank you for unloading the dishwasher.”

Quality Time: This is focused time that maintains attention towards your partner. An individual who responds well to this language aims to develop a deeper connection with their partner through the sacrifice of time and attention.

Examples include: Going on a date or a walk. Talking about your day and asking questions.

Receiving Gifts: This is more focused on the effort of providing more than the actual gift or its value. An individual who responds well to this language aims to promote a sense of security based on effort when showing and receiving of affection.

Examples include: Buying flowers or chocolates. Picking up your partner’s favorite take-out.

Acts of Service: This language is focused on following through with a communicated task or errand. An individual who responds well to this language aims to accept the efforts a partner puts in when it comes to positive actions for the relationship. 

Examples include: Sweeping the floor, picking up dry cleaning, taking care of a pet.

Physical Touch: This is focused on the appreciation and need to feel wanted through a bodily connection. An individual who responds well to this language aims to create love through physical expression.

Examples include: Holding hands, cuddling, massage.

While Dr. Chapman believes that an individual holds one primary type of love language, not having the same love language as your partner does not mean you are not compatible with one another. By learning more about your partner’s language and their love experience, you can create a deeper understanding in how your partner works to show their appreciation for your efforts. What is your Love Language?