Communicating Your Love to Your Partner: The Five 'Love Languages'

Reviewed Apr 28, 2016

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Summary

The five love languages:

  • quality time
  • affirming words
  • gifts
  • service
  • physical touch

In his bestseller, The 5 Love Languages, author Gary Chapman writes: “At the heart of mankind’s existence is the desire to be intimate and be loved by another. Marriage is designed to meet that need for intimacy and love.” Finding how you give, receive, and communicate love will enable you and your spouse to love better and stronger.

Case in point

Mark is a director in the information technology department in a large company. For the past month he had been working long and grueling hours to avert a major crisis. His wife, Mallory, also endures the stress of her husband’s work. Because of the hours Mark was logging at the office, Mallory had to adjust her schedule by “picking up” Mark‘s usual family responsibilities, including picking up their teenage daughter from soccer practice each afternoon and getting their two little ones ready for bed on her own.

After a month at this pace, both Mark and Mallory were utterly exhausted and looking to each other for an extra dose of support, comfort, and love. How they communicated during this time of extreme stress and tumult reflected their unique style of giving and receiving love. This proved to be difficult because during times of stress both Mark and Mallory were equally depleted and equally in need of affection and support, but needed to express it in a way that the other could best receive it.

On one particularly stressful day, Mark arrived home at 9 p.m. Mallory was worried, but as usual she had gotten the kids to bed and had some hot food ready for him. When he arrived, she began to chronicle the day’s events, and begin planning for tomorrow because serving others is her primary way of showing love to family. However, Mark was longing for some kind words and affirmation because that is how he hears and feels love. Under stress, Mark failed to recognize that Mallory was showing her love in the best, most excellent way she knew.

The problem facing Mark and Mallory is not unique. Many couples never realize that love is received and sent differently among most couples. Consider the 5 “love languages” below, and try to identify how you and your spouse communicate.

Quality time. When it’s all been said and done, time is perhaps the most precious commodity. It is the only thing that can never be replaced. When a loved one spends their precious time with us, it speaks volumes.

Affirming words. Mark Twain said that he could live for weeks on one compliment. When spoken from the heart, affirming words can invoke warmth, love, and inspiration.

Gifts. The retailers wish that more people spoke this language. The truth is that receiving a special gift—even a small one—communicates that a special effort was made, with thoughtful consideration of the likes and pleasures of another. So when she says, “you shouldn’t have gone to the trouble”—with tears streaming down her face—she is glad you did.

Service. Helping out, pitching in, and working hard for those we love is the most misunderstood love language—yet perhaps the most costly. People who love this way are seldom appreciated the way others are. Scrubbing a floor or fixing a car hardly seems romantic. Yet, where would the world be without these pragmatic acts of love and service?

Physical touch. Holding hands, a gentle kiss, or a big bear hug are the usual ways we expect love from our partner. All humans require at least a modicum of physical touch and contact with loved ones. Some require very little and only in private, while others are in constant need of physical affection and are very comfortable with public displays of affection.

Putting the theory to work

Chapman asserts that your primary love language is evident in two ways by being the one that:

  • speaks more deeply to you emotionally than the other four
  • you most often use to express love to others

If you are unsure whether you are expressing love to your spouse with his love language, ask. You can continue to pour out love in the way that comes easiest to you, but also meet your spouse’s needs better by making more of an effort to love him the way he best receives it.

Resource

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts (reprint edition) by Gary Chapman. Northfield Publishing, 2015.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD

Summary

The five love languages:

  • quality time
  • affirming words
  • gifts
  • service
  • physical touch

In his bestseller, The 5 Love Languages, author Gary Chapman writes: “At the heart of mankind’s existence is the desire to be intimate and be loved by another. Marriage is designed to meet that need for intimacy and love.” Finding how you give, receive, and communicate love will enable you and your spouse to love better and stronger.

Case in point

Mark is a director in the information technology department in a large company. For the past month he had been working long and grueling hours to avert a major crisis. His wife, Mallory, also endures the stress of her husband’s work. Because of the hours Mark was logging at the office, Mallory had to adjust her schedule by “picking up” Mark‘s usual family responsibilities, including picking up their teenage daughter from soccer practice each afternoon and getting their two little ones ready for bed on her own.

After a month at this pace, both Mark and Mallory were utterly exhausted and looking to each other for an extra dose of support, comfort, and love. How they communicated during this time of extreme stress and tumult reflected their unique style of giving and receiving love. This proved to be difficult because during times of stress both Mark and Mallory were equally depleted and equally in need of affection and support, but needed to express it in a way that the other could best receive it.

On one particularly stressful day, Mark arrived home at 9 p.m. Mallory was worried, but as usual she had gotten the kids to bed and had some hot food ready for him. When he arrived, she began to chronicle the day’s events, and begin planning for tomorrow because serving others is her primary way of showing love to family. However, Mark was longing for some kind words and affirmation because that is how he hears and feels love. Under stress, Mark failed to recognize that Mallory was showing her love in the best, most excellent way she knew.

The problem facing Mark and Mallory is not unique. Many couples never realize that love is received and sent differently among most couples. Consider the 5 “love languages” below, and try to identify how you and your spouse communicate.

Quality time. When it’s all been said and done, time is perhaps the most precious commodity. It is the only thing that can never be replaced. When a loved one spends their precious time with us, it speaks volumes.

Affirming words. Mark Twain said that he could live for weeks on one compliment. When spoken from the heart, affirming words can invoke warmth, love, and inspiration.

Gifts. The retailers wish that more people spoke this language. The truth is that receiving a special gift—even a small one—communicates that a special effort was made, with thoughtful consideration of the likes and pleasures of another. So when she says, “you shouldn’t have gone to the trouble”—with tears streaming down her face—she is glad you did.

Service. Helping out, pitching in, and working hard for those we love is the most misunderstood love language—yet perhaps the most costly. People who love this way are seldom appreciated the way others are. Scrubbing a floor or fixing a car hardly seems romantic. Yet, where would the world be without these pragmatic acts of love and service?

Physical touch. Holding hands, a gentle kiss, or a big bear hug are the usual ways we expect love from our partner. All humans require at least a modicum of physical touch and contact with loved ones. Some require very little and only in private, while others are in constant need of physical affection and are very comfortable with public displays of affection.

Putting the theory to work

Chapman asserts that your primary love language is evident in two ways by being the one that:

  • speaks more deeply to you emotionally than the other four
  • you most often use to express love to others

If you are unsure whether you are expressing love to your spouse with his love language, ask. You can continue to pour out love in the way that comes easiest to you, but also meet your spouse’s needs better by making more of an effort to love him the way he best receives it.

Resource

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts (reprint edition) by Gary Chapman. Northfield Publishing, 2015.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD

Summary

The five love languages:

  • quality time
  • affirming words
  • gifts
  • service
  • physical touch

In his bestseller, The 5 Love Languages, author Gary Chapman writes: “At the heart of mankind’s existence is the desire to be intimate and be loved by another. Marriage is designed to meet that need for intimacy and love.” Finding how you give, receive, and communicate love will enable you and your spouse to love better and stronger.

Case in point

Mark is a director in the information technology department in a large company. For the past month he had been working long and grueling hours to avert a major crisis. His wife, Mallory, also endures the stress of her husband’s work. Because of the hours Mark was logging at the office, Mallory had to adjust her schedule by “picking up” Mark‘s usual family responsibilities, including picking up their teenage daughter from soccer practice each afternoon and getting their two little ones ready for bed on her own.

After a month at this pace, both Mark and Mallory were utterly exhausted and looking to each other for an extra dose of support, comfort, and love. How they communicated during this time of extreme stress and tumult reflected their unique style of giving and receiving love. This proved to be difficult because during times of stress both Mark and Mallory were equally depleted and equally in need of affection and support, but needed to express it in a way that the other could best receive it.

On one particularly stressful day, Mark arrived home at 9 p.m. Mallory was worried, but as usual she had gotten the kids to bed and had some hot food ready for him. When he arrived, she began to chronicle the day’s events, and begin planning for tomorrow because serving others is her primary way of showing love to family. However, Mark was longing for some kind words and affirmation because that is how he hears and feels love. Under stress, Mark failed to recognize that Mallory was showing her love in the best, most excellent way she knew.

The problem facing Mark and Mallory is not unique. Many couples never realize that love is received and sent differently among most couples. Consider the 5 “love languages” below, and try to identify how you and your spouse communicate.

Quality time. When it’s all been said and done, time is perhaps the most precious commodity. It is the only thing that can never be replaced. When a loved one spends their precious time with us, it speaks volumes.

Affirming words. Mark Twain said that he could live for weeks on one compliment. When spoken from the heart, affirming words can invoke warmth, love, and inspiration.

Gifts. The retailers wish that more people spoke this language. The truth is that receiving a special gift—even a small one—communicates that a special effort was made, with thoughtful consideration of the likes and pleasures of another. So when she says, “you shouldn’t have gone to the trouble”—with tears streaming down her face—she is glad you did.

Service. Helping out, pitching in, and working hard for those we love is the most misunderstood love language—yet perhaps the most costly. People who love this way are seldom appreciated the way others are. Scrubbing a floor or fixing a car hardly seems romantic. Yet, where would the world be without these pragmatic acts of love and service?

Physical touch. Holding hands, a gentle kiss, or a big bear hug are the usual ways we expect love from our partner. All humans require at least a modicum of physical touch and contact with loved ones. Some require very little and only in private, while others are in constant need of physical affection and are very comfortable with public displays of affection.

Putting the theory to work

Chapman asserts that your primary love language is evident in two ways by being the one that:

  • speaks more deeply to you emotionally than the other four
  • you most often use to express love to others

If you are unsure whether you are expressing love to your spouse with his love language, ask. You can continue to pour out love in the way that comes easiest to you, but also meet your spouse’s needs better by making more of an effort to love him the way he best receives it.

Resource

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts (reprint edition) by Gary Chapman. Northfield Publishing, 2015.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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