I am going to make a bold statement: At least half of the relationships in your future will inevitably end because you and your partner speak different languages. I’m not talking about a spoken or written language; you don’t need to be a language scholar to have a loving and healthy relationship. I’m talking about five different languages made up of nonverbal codes embedded into our subconscious that communicate importance and intent. I am talking about the Love Languages.
The Five Love Languages are the five primary ways people express and receive love and affection.. This idea was first introduced by Gary Chapman in his book, The Heart of the Five Love Languages. These principles are now used in couples therapy and are starting to be addressed in scholarly studies relating to human psychology. The Five Love Languages are 1) words of affirmation, 2) quality time, 3) acts of service, 4) gift and 5) touch.
Communicating through the Love Languages is powerful and effective. The first step to utilizing them is understanding your own.
When do you feel the most validated? Is it when someone gives you a thoughtful gift? A hug? Makes you breakfast? Gives you their undivided attention? Tells you they love you? When do you feel the most fulfilled in a romantic relationship?
The second step to mastering the Love Languages is understanding your partner’s language. In new relationships, there is a certain amount of excitement to the newness—the honeymoon phase. Chances are you and your partner speak different languages. It’s best to identify differences early on so you can avoid communication catastrophes in the future. How does your partner show love? This is a good place to start. The kind of love and affection they show you could be the kind of love and affection they want in return.
Alternatively, you can turn to science to help determine someone’s Love Language. A scientific study from 2006 identified a strong correlation between specific relationship maintenance actions and the Five Love Languages.
For example, touch is predictable in someone if they use assurance, which is communicating to their partner a strong commitment to the relationship. Touch can also be inferred if they enjoy sharing tasks equitably with their partner and naturally gravitate towards these activities.
If your partner makes efforts to maintain a level of openness and transparency by emphasising discussions around what they need from the relationship, requesting rather than demanding, these emphasize the language of quality time. If you and your partner share a lot of mutual friends and have the same social networks, then it is likely one of you speaks the Love Language of gifts.
Moving past the honeymoon phase and into long term, partners may face trouble when busy schedules and free time becomes occupied by school, multiple jobs, internships and other social commitments. You might forget to incorporate your partner’s Love Language into your busy routine if it does not come naturally to you like your own Language does.
If your Love Language is words of affirmation and you tell your partner you love them every night, but your partner’s Love Language is quality time, and you reserve no time to see them, you may run the risk of miscommunicating.
If you want to prioritize your relationship, you need to prioritize your partner’s Love Language.. The goal of any serious romantic relationship is to foster a long-lasting, healthy and fulfilling partnership. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but try speaking the Languages of Love, and you might get close.