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What are love languages?

One of the most beautiful aspects of love is how different it looks and feels for each of us. In knowing which expressions of love fill our heart the most, we can develop stronger, more meaningful connections with partners, friends, family – even ourselves.

 

That’s where the five love languages come in. They were first articulated by counsellor Gary Chapman in 1992, after he noticed that people weren’t feeling loved by their partners – even though those partners thought they were showing love.

 

The problem wasn’t a lack of love, but a lack of communication and understanding. After investigating further, Chapman uncovered five key patterns – or languages – that people said made them feel the most loved.

And the world’s been speaking love languages ever since.


What are the five types of love language?
Words of affirmation

If this is your love language, you really value spoken acknowledgements of affection. Compliments, words of encouragement, regular texts or communication – and hearing those three words as well. They make you feel understood and appreciated.

Quality time

Time spent together without the distractions of phones, TVs or daily busyness. That’s what this love language is all about. If it’s your dominant language, you’re likely to value meaningful conversations and rewarding activities – where you can give your full attention to the connection.

Acts of service

If you’re the sort of person that thinks actions speak louder than words, you might relate to this love language the most. It’s all about the gestures that make life easier and show loved ones you care – from receiving help with housework when you’re busy, or simply having a cup of tea or coffee made for you in the morning.

Giving gifts

Chapman refers to gifts as ‘visual symbols of love’ – pointing out that it’s not so much the value of the gifts themselves, but the process of giving them that strikes a chord with people. If this is your love language, you’re likely to be touched by knowing someone has put real thought into a token that shows just how much they care about you.

Physical touch

From kissing and cuddling right through to more passionate lovemaking, this love language is all about the power of body contact. In connecting physically, you feel more connected emotionally – which makes you feel more loved as well.

Discovering your love language

You might have read through the descriptions above and immediately felt drawn to one of the love languages. Chances are more than one speaks to you, though – as most of us usually have a primary and a secondary love language. Keep in mind that your love languages can change and grow as you do, too.

There are all kinds of ways to discover which of the love languages most strongly influence how we express and receive love. From online questionnaires, workshopping with a therapist or counsellor, or even exploring each of them with partners or friends. We’ll also be diving deeper into each of the love languages over this series of articles – so you can find your love language right here with us.

What they mean for your own self-love

The beauty of the five love languages is that each of them can be applied to the relationship you’re continuously growing and nurturing with yourself as well. From reciting daily affirmations, gifting yourself something meaningful, such as a facial — our pick is Electro-Mesotherapy — or even exploring your own physical pleasure, knowing your own love language means knowing how to reward yourself with the best kind of self-care.

What they mean for your relationships

Understanding love languages can open pathways for better, stronger love connections in your life. Not only with your romantic partner, but friends, family members and colleagues. Which is why it’s such a worthwhile exercise to reflect on what your own love language is – and feel comfortable sharing the answer.

It could be as simple as saying ‘it makes me feel really supported when you tell me you value our connection’ (if Words of Affirmation is your style), or ‘I feel so much closer to you when we’ve made some time to hang out’ (if you identify with Quality Time). Open the doors for communication so that your preferred style of love doesn’t get lost in translation.

In the same way, it’s worth asking your loved ones which of the five love languages they’re most drawn to. You’ll be able to journey through life respecting and celebrating the approach that makes them feel most special – while making the most of opportunities to demonstrate that. Whether that’s a spa night shared at home, a couples’ massage, or a thoughtful Christmas gift.

We’ve got plenty of ideas to inspire self-love – no matter what your love language is – read about these here.

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