Break-ups, heartbreaks and vowing never to wear your heart on your sleeve again. Sounds familiar? We’ve all experienced love in various forms, both good and bad, at least once in our lifetime. And with experience, we also understand that it carries different meanings for different people. When talking about feelings of affection, we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss that it only exists in romantic relationships. Neither is it solely communicated and received through physical touch and gifts. Affection, too, exists in friendships, relationships with your pets or even towards food for what it’s worth.
“Quand il me prend dans ses brasmÉdith piaf, french singer
Il me parle tout bas,
Je vois la vie en rose.”
(When he takes me in his arms,
and speaks to me softly,
I see the world through rose-coloured glasses.)
What Are Love Languages And Why Are They Important?
The term ‘love languages’ was conceived by Dr Gary Chapman, whose book “The Five Love Languages” published some three decades ago, has impacted millions of lives around the world. Love languages are the medium of communication we should use when trying to communicate our affection to someone. Love language is a two-way street, which means it reciprocates when you receive or express love language. Each of these love languages has its dos and don’ts that will make one feel either appreciated or otherwise.
To strengthen your relationship, first identify what you and your partner’s love languages are. Then learn how both respond to each other’s love languages. Once you both have a mutual understanding of each other’s inclinations towards any of the love languages, communicating becomes easier. Maintaining a relationship requires loads of effort, patience and understanding. Love languages help keep relationships burning. The five love languages are: physical touch, words of affirmations, quality time, acts of service and gift-giving. It is not uncommon for two individuals in a relationship to have their differences when communicating affection.
1. Physical Touch
This love language is all about intimacy. To a certain degree, we all crave and need physical touch in most of our relationships. Romantic or platonic, touch is usually used as a tool to solidify certain feelings like empathy. It’s important to note that although physical touch might suggest otherwise, having a conversation about physicality is normal and shouldn’t be avoided. People who consider physical touch as their primary love language are sometimes misunderstood to only want sexual intimacy. Having open and honest conversations about physicality is necessary and beneficial to a relationship to avoid miscommunications.
2. Words Of Affirmations
For those who delight in words of appreciation and reassurance, this one’s for them. Nothing makes them happier than words of affirmations during their highs and lows, happy and bad times. With verbal expression, being aware of how you express your affection is very important. Although this may sound easy to do, there are some pointers to heed. People who resonate most with words of affirmations don’t sit well with emotionally harsh words and would feel hurt if their efforts go unnoticed or unappreciated. So, express your genuine affections and top that off with a little reassurance and they’ll be content.
3. Quality Time
As it suggests, quality time means spending time together which could include exploring new things together. People who enjoy being in the company of their loved ones appreciate when the person they’re with are entirely present with them. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. That means putting away distractions (i.e. phones) and giving your loved one your full attention. Having quality time as a love language means creating meaningful moments or engaging in deep conversations. The major don’ts are complaining that your loved one is needy or lamenting too much time is spent with them. It is also hurtful to them when you prepare for other engagements when you’re together.
4. Acts Of Service
“Actions speak louder than words.” Actions speak volumes to those who translate acts of service as their primary love language. This means, of course, showing rather than telling. Some examples include following through with what you say you will do or giving a helping hand to do difficult tasks. It could even extend to looking for small ways to help them with their daily chores (i.e. cooking or cleaning for them) or making spontaneous plans. Without a doubt, do be aware of the way you respond to their needs. Ignoring requests for help, not following through and being close-minded (i.e. feeding into gender-based stereotypes when it comes to chores) can cause miscommunication between the both of you.
People who adore getting gifts are often misconstrued to be materialistic. When in fact they receive love in tangible items. People who receive affection through gifts appreciate the sentimental value of the gift rather than how extravagant it is. Gifts serve as a memento to them that they are loved. However, on important occasions like birthdays, they might enjoy your intention in being extravagant with them. Getting them gifts that bear special moments or getting them a souvenir when you travel without them, places a lot of emphasis on the sentiments behind the gift. If your partner’s love language is gift-giving, hold off giving gifts out of “duty” rather than out of love. Other than that, it’s also important not to forget important occasions and don’t be quick to dismiss their love language as being materialistic.
How Do Love Languages Strengthen Relationships?
It is common for people in a relationship to share different love languages. However, the language in which you receive, may differ from the way you show affection. Taking the time to self-reflect on which love language is most fulfilling to you is important to effectively communicate your affection and thoughtfulness. This will also allow your loved ones to translate that affection accordingly. Practical approaches in communicating love languages with your loved ones can encourage better communication that is fundamental to a happy relationship.
Talking about communication, there should be healthy boundaries in place whilst practising each other’s love language. Healthy relationship consists of communicating both your needs and most importantly, consent. Although love languages can strengthen your relationship, they shouldn’t be used against one another. It’s worthwhile to note that expressing the ways that feel good should be beneficial for both of you. Genuine acts of love shouldn’t cause guilt or unease and most definitely shouldn’t make you feel obligated to acquiesce to the other person’s demands. Recognising those acts of love disguised as red flags are equally important in prioritising your well-being in a relationship.
Want To Discover What Your Love Language Is?
Are you curious to know which love language you communicate in or like to receive in? Take this quiz to find out more. There will be explanations for each of the love languages, and what you may enjoy or what you can do to communicate your affection. Bear in mind that a healthy relationship allows space for growth and adapting to each other’s way of showing and receiving love. Learn to take your partner’s love language seriously and don’t make it seem like a chore. Communicate your needs and wants clearly and keep the conversation on-going instead of one-off. Being flexible around each other’s way of affection will surely bolster a long lasting and healthy relationship.
Feel free to comment below on what you find interesting about love languages. Do suggest some of the ways you show affection to the people around you. Don’t worry, there isn’t a wrong or wrong answer! 🙂 Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, read this article for some budget date ideas!