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Understanding Your Partner: The 5 Love Languages

January 23, 2013

We’re going deep today.  Bear with me!

Waaaayyyy back in the late 90’s I was introduced to a book that really hit home for me.  The Running Man and I were dating (we practiced that for 8 years) and we kept hitting snags.  Through understanding how each of us gave and received love, we were able to come to a clearer picture of how each of us, and the together us, clicked.  (I warned you this was a departure today.)

Recently, this came full circle.  I was talking to someone who is in the early stages of a relationship and was confused over an argument they had.  I remarked, thinking this was common knowledge, that her love language was gifts.  He looked at me funny and I grabbed the book for him.

Then I was chatting with another friend, and the book came up again as we discussed which language we were.

So here it is:

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts – Add this to your library!

The 5 Love Languages are (drumroll please):

  1. Words of Affirmation – positive reinforcement through words
  2. Acts of Service – actions speak louder than words
  3. Receiving Gifts – the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift; not necessarily materialistic
  4. Quality Time – nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention
  5. Physical Touch – hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches

Here’s the premise:

Individuals give and receive love in these 5 ways.  We each express all 5 ways, but some are stronger, or more prevalent, than others.  The key is to understand what you need most from your partner, and, perhaps more importantly, to understand what your partner needs in return.

Here’s an illustration: in my 20’s I was, without realizing it, all about #3 Receiving Gifts (hey, I was in my 20’s).  I would look forward to holidays and birthdays like they were a beacon of how well our relationship was going.  You know where this is headed right?  Big gift=fabulous relationship.  The Running Man, I realize now, is #2 Acts of Service and #4 Quality Time, and really, honestly, could care less about receiving gifts.  Crying ensued (poor guy, but please remember I was in my 20’s).  My a-ha moment came when I realized I needed to let that go (and buy my own gifts if I want them), and find another love language to concentrate on.  This also makes it all the more meaningful when he does give me a special gift (and he does sometimes).

On the 5 Love Languages website, you can take a free 5-minute quiz (you need to provide an email address) to find out which love language you are (Look for the “Discover Your Love Language” link beneath the 5 circles).  I just confirmed that I am #4 Quality Time and #5 Physical Touch.

How we work this information into our day:

For him: He knows that I require loads of hugs and kisses during the day.  In our house, it’s a huge offense to leave or come in without one of each.

For me: I know the Running Man reacts to Acts of Service and Quality Time.  So when I look at my day’s to-d0 list, I complete the things first that either he’s asked me to or that I know he needs done.  Most times these are tiny: I pick up his dry cleaning and hang it in his closet (he leaves at 7am and is not home until 8:30 pm – hello 3-hr roundtrip commute! – so all errands are my domain).  I pay the bills, get the laundry done, etc.  For quality time, I try (in most cases) to have all my work done for the day when he’s home at night and on weekends.  Remember, Quality Time is mine too, so this is as much for me as him.  We curl up on the couch and watch tv or sit at opposite ends of the same couch and read our books.

Please share: have you heard of the 5 Love Languages before?  Has this information helped your relationship?  Which love language are you?



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1 Comment »

  1. Cathy Baker

      on January 23, 2013 6:45 pm

    One of the BEST BOOKS we ever read in our marriage! Glad we found it early on in our marriage too! My love language is touch is and his is Quality Time. :) I also recommend 5 Love Languages for Kids and will probably buy 5 Love Languages for Teens in a year or so! (gulp, not that I almost have a teen or anything!)


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