Updated: Sep 6, 2021
The experience of human love is a complex cocktail, composed of hormones, emotions, and abstract chemistry. What often begins as a sizzling thrill of compatibility and bonding, can eventually turn into two isolated humans, struggling to connect and re-ignite that initial magic.
Thanks to modern research, we are always learning ways to hack biology. We can implement our knowledge of human psychology to ensure that the great mystery of love has the best chance of surviving between you and your partner.
The concept of love languages was first brought into the collective consciousness in 1992, by a researcher named Gary Chapman. His wildly popular book, The Five Love Languages, documents the various ways that people prefer to give and receive love, and how that affects the health of their relationship.
Oftentimes, when two people are struggling to connect or feel loved, the underlying core problem is that they are showing love to each other in the ways they want to be loved, not necessarily in the ways that actually make their partner feel loved. This dissonance between their love languages can create an environment of disconnection.
With its simple but profound premise, the book quickly gained steam, and has sold over 12 million copies since its publication. It created a tidal wave of relational self-awareness, and sparked resonance within millions of couples who had been struggling to find a common thread of connection and mutuality once the honeymoon phase had worn off.
Chapman was able to offer a vocabulary of needs, wants, and desires, that allowed couples to see through each other’s eyes, and forge deeper understanding. By viewing each other through this lens, they could intentionally practice the art of love in such a way that they could finally, truly meet each other’s deepest needs.
According to Chapman, everyone has one primary love language, and one secondary language. The love languages he identified are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
Most people contain some percentage of each, deep inside, but we do tend to speak one language more than others.
Here is a quick test to help you determine your love language. The results you can find at the end of the article.
TIP: Write down the answers, for example: 1A, 2B, 3C...
Here is a deep dive into the primary love languages, along with examples of how you can implement them into your personal vocabulary of self-expression. This will help you to deepen your sense of intimacy with your partner, and make them feel truly loved when they are in your presence.
Words of Affirmation
Someone who did not receive much praise or validation from their authority figures as a child, may find themselves craving this level of verbal love and nurturing from their partner as an adult. As you get to know your partner, and inquire as to how they prefer to be loved, you may discover an opportunity to help fill those unmet needs from their childhood.
This effort will make them feel deeply loved and nurtured in a way that no other expression of love can.
A person whose primary love language is words of affirmation will feel fed and adored if you shower them with witnessing compliments. Pause to look them in the eyes, and share something unique about their soul that makes your heart light up.
Actively offering your beloved praise and appreciation daily will make them glow and feel properly adored by you. It can also serve to bolster their self esteem, and help them heal any inner wounds they may carry around self love. If you sprinkle love notes throughout their day, you will find that they come alive in a whole new way.
Here are some ideas for how to romance, nurture and woo your partner if they require words of affirmation.
1. Leave little sticky notes on the steering wheel of the car, telling them something you love about them.
2. Pause to kiss them, look them in the eyes and thank them for being who they are.
3. Send little love texts throughout the day, with messages of love and adoration.
4. Encourage them in their achievements and aspirations, acting as a cosmic cheerleader for their goals.
5. Compliment their appearance or what they are wearing, and tell them how attractive you find them.
Taking a few moments out of your day to implement these simple, connective actions, will make your partner feel seen, supported, loved, and nurtured. If words of affirmation are their love language, no amount of gifts or acts of service will spark that same fire of love in their hearts, as much as some meaningful, loving words from you.
Think of it as a fun, creative game. It will become an aspect of your daily creative self-expression that you look forward to. Bringing joy to your loved one, by speaking their language, is an incredibly selfless and rewarding act.
Once you have found love, the challenge is to nurture it so that it becomes stronger with time, instead of fading away. If your partner’s love language is quality time, they will be fed and fulfilled by the act of you creating pockets of focus where the two of you are able to completely give each other your undivided attention, with no outside distractions.
If you are a busy entrepreneur, you may find that no matter how many presents you buy for your partner, or how many times you tell them how amazing they are, they will feel starved of love unless you are able to set aside all of your business concerns, and simply be deeply present with them in a timeless bubble.
So often, we see people who are addicted to their phones, breaking the energy in the middle of dinner to send an email or a text. Something as simple and careless as that can fracture the energy field between two people.
If your partner values quality time together, this small action might feel like a massive betrayal or loss of connection, even if you are present throughout the rest of the meal.
One of the greatest forms of connection for someone who values quality time, is when two partners melt out of the daily routine of life, and become lost in the moment together.
If your partner shares with you that this is a love language they value, here are some ways you can put in effort to meet them where they wish to be met, and fulfill their souls.
1. Turn off your cell phone when you are sharing time with them (especially at the dinner table).
2. Focus your attention purely on them, without distractions like television in the background.
3. Kiss them until you completely lose track of time. Then kiss some more.
4. Ask questions and inquire about things that are meaningful to them, without interrupting.
5. Make eye contact, and deeply listen when they share.
If you find it difficult to get your head out of work and to be fully present with your partner, you can try utilizing an app like Tell Me More App. Intended to stimulate deep, meaningful points of inquiry, it functions as a shortcut to help you build intimacy and connection with your partner.
This way if you need help to shut off your work brain, and truly bond and connect with your mate during your quality time together, you have support to dive deeper, faster. Intimacy tools like Tell Me More App can truly make your partner feel explored and cared for, by focusing your depth of presence and inquiry onto them.
Some people grew up poor, or felt neglected as a child, in the realm of material needs and possessions. Some weren’t allowed to receive birthday presents, or may have had parents who withheld their basic physical needs or desires.
As a result, when they reach adulthood, the act of gift giving may take on a special meaning in their hearts. It may spark a sense of being cared for that was lacking for them as a child.
If your partner is one of those people who feels deeply loved and cared for when you give them thoughtful gifts, take this as an exciting opportunity to always be scouring life for small tokens of love that will make them feel adored.
Think of it as a video game. Pay attention to things your partner may mention that they need, or like. Then go seek out a small gift that shows you were listening and paying attention. You will find that it’s not the size of the gift that matters, it’s the thoughtfulness behind it, and the fact that you were paying attention that makes it meaningful.
Giving gifts is about so much more than materialism or consumerism. It’s about noticing and anticipating your beloved’s wants, needs, and desires, and providing for them. When done thoughtfully, this can spark a depth of love within your partner that will blow their minds, and will bond your hearts together.
Try one of these actions if your partner loves receiving gifts, to forge a deep loving connection between you.
1. Make them a homemade card or gift, and share what you love about them.
2. Make a list of everything you hear them mention that they need, want, or like.
3. Pay attention to their favorite foods, and surprise them when they least expect it.
4. Notice if something they value breaks, and immediately go replace it for them.
5. Take them shopping.
You will find that the gifts you give to your partner are treasures that they will relate to as symbols of your love. If you buy them a piece of clothing, they will think of you every time they wear it, and it will make them feel they are basking in your love.
For a person whose love language is receiving gifts, they will feel cared for by you, even when you aren’t around, just by looking at one of the gifts you gave them. If you give your partner a watch, they may wear it everywhere, simply because then it’s as if there is a piece of you, with them, all the time.
Acts of Service
When your partner’s love language is acts of service, they will feel loved and supported when you take actions to be helpful to them. Think of it as being an incredible teammate.
If your partner is washing the dishes, come stand beside them and help them to wash or dry, so it gets done twice as fast. Or tell them to go sit down and relax, because you’ve got it covered.
If their car is having trouble, either take a look at it and try to fix it yourself, or offer to take it to the mechanic. Take out the garbage without them asking. If you see them making the bed, jump in and help tuck in the sheets on the other side of the bed. Better yet, make it for them without them even asking.
This love language is all about teamwork, and thoughtful effort. If your partner spent a great deal of their life alone, handling everything themselves, they will feel deeply loved and touched when you show them through your actions that they aren’t alone, and that they are a part of a supportive team.
Try a few of these actions if your partner requires acts of service to feel loved.
1. Pay attention to places where they are exerting effort, and take care of it for them.
2. Anticipate chores or household activities that you can do to make your life together better.
3. If you notice that you are low on something in the kitchen, stop by the store and pick it up.
4. If you notice their gas tank is low, go fill it up for them.
You will find that being thoughtful and considerate is not only easy, but is fun for you. The more you put effort in to make your partner feel supported through acts of care and service, the more you will find that you are inspired to find new ways to contribute to the life you share together. And the more loved your partner will feel.
For most people, the act of physical touch releases oxytocin and various feel-good chemicals. When we are babies, we need physical affection from our primary caregivers in order to establish a sense of safety and belonging in the world.
Having a partner who expresses affection regularly can fill us with a sense of wellbeing, and can help keep us in a good mood. For someone whose love language is touch, they need regular expressions of physical affection in order to feel loved and connected. When you walk past them, reach out and touch them. Kiss them at every opportunity.
Here are some ideas for creating more touch with your loved one, and initiating that bonding mechanism that fills their love language need for physical affection.
1. Schedule a time for you to give them a massage once a week.
2. Reach out and squeeze their body whenever they walk by.
3. Pause to share a lengthy kiss with them often throughout the day.
4. Come up behind them for a hug, and nuzzle their neck from behind when they are washing dishes.
5. Cuddle up for a movie, and stroke their hair.
6. Pet their skin lightly, as if you were touching a baby.
You will find that not only will these acts of affection make your partner feel connected, loved, and fuzzy inside, you will also notice that it infuses your nervous system with oxytocin. Sharing affection is a win-win for your nervous system and your partner’s.
At the end of the day, even though we each have our unique ways that we prefer to give and receive love, we all appreciate when our partner makes the effort to express all of the love languages to us. Sit down with your partner with a game like Tell Me More App, and explore what makes them tick.
The more you get to know the depths of your beloved’s soul, the more inspired and creative you will be about expressing your love for them, and finding the most impactful ways to make them feel loved.
Just remember, giving love is its own reward. And the more we give, the more we get to keep.
IF YOU ANSWERED MOSTLY:
A - Physical Touch
B. Acts of Service
C. Quality Time
D. Receiving Gifts
E. Words of Affirmation