Who we are independently and who we are when we are in a relationship can sometimes be in conflict with each other. Sometimes what we want out of a relationship is not what we are hoping to get out of a relationship.
The Five Languages of Love written by Gary Chapman describes five love languages that we seek in a relationship and also which we give in a relationship. At the risk of this not sounding like a book report, let me list and briefly describe each love language.
- Quality time – This is a unique love language in the sense that it does not necessarily mean that we spend every waking minute with our partner. This essentially means that the time we spend with our partner is meaningful; qualitative over quantitative. If we seek to give it, we make sure every moment around our partner is filled with affection, joy, laughter and any means necessary to please our partner. If we wish to receive it, we expect the same. What is unique about this love language is that it emphasizes the depths of what we do with our partner, not how many times we do it.
- Gift Giving – Some of us like to show our affection buy purchasing lavish gifts. Some of us even will be creative and give gifts that are of little financial cost, but hold a powerful sentimental value to us. Those of us express our love through this means wish our gifts to make our partner feel appreciated, constantly surprised at what might be next and that we willing to provide and show our love through the passing of material and thoughtful objects and gestures.
- Words of affirmation – This language truly speaks to those of us who want to hear how our partners feel about us. Those who seek this type of love want to be constantly reminded how much they are loved and appreciated. Those who give their love in this way want their partners to feel secure in both parties feelings. We want to leave no doubt that we care for the other and it makes the one doing and receiving the affirmation feel at east that their bond is strong.
- Acts of Service – What some people would do for their partner. This essentially is placing the needs of our partner above the needs of our own. We wish them to be happy and we do whatever it is that pleases them. Those of us who wish to show our love through this means will often put aside their own desires to see the desires of their partner first. Those of us who wish to receive acts of service feel that by our partner’s willingness to do whatever it takes to make us happy, we feel a deeper love and affection for the actions they perform.
- Physical Touch – The touching of skin. The feeling of our partners body pressed against ours. This may also include hand holding, hugs or generally anything that involves skin to skin contact. For those of us who express our love language in this way, we are always thinking of different ways to touch and connect with our partner to make them feel sexy and wanted. Finally, for those who wish to receive this type of love language, we feel most desired when our partner finds a way to make skin to skin physical contact with us.
These love languages are meant to serve as a primary and a secondary. We each have one main way of expressing and receiving and a secondary way of expressing and receiving love that we prefer.
I had a hard time thinking about the love language that best suits me. At first, physical touch seemed like a slam dunk for me.
I have always valued the subtleties of human contact. Many women have been surprised to learn that touching me in certain places can get a response out of me or even make me squirm like an elementary school boy with a crush. My zones may not be the typical zones that many males have. In fact, one of mine is very transparent (I don’t want to give the mystery away!)
Having looked deeper in to these love languages I would have to say my primary for both giving and receiving would be words of affirmation.
Nothing makes me feel more special than my partner being able to express to me in some manner the feelings that they feel. I do not necessarily need deep expressions for this to please me. Simple compliments about my appearance or even just an act that I am doing that is a good deed noticed by my partner affirms to me that they have noticed, and that they do care about what I am doing.
I will absolutely admit that actions speak louder than words. While I could spend all day affirming to someone I love how much I love them, my secondary love language would be acts of service.
Much like affirming my love to my partner, my inner happiness comes from knowing I was able to put a smile on the face to the one I love. There is almost nothing more satisfying than seeing my partner completely at ease, relaxed, guard down and open to our connection.
In assessing my own love languages, I have come to learn that there is almost nothing I would not do for someone I loved.
I like to be reaffirmed that I am desired and equally (if not even more so) affirm to the one I love my true feelings for them. I like to service the one I love to see how big of a smile and how comforting I can make my partner feel. In this return, I hope to be on equal footing with my partner and see them be willing to put aside their own needs and tend to mine as I would tend to theirs. Acts of service almost seem like a give and take, yet it is a true act of love. One that signifies to our partner that they are important to us and that there is nothing we would not do for them.
Ironically, I also feel that my primary and secondary love languages will lead to the other three.
How could someone not want to spend quality time with someone who is constantly telling them how beautiful and appreciated they are? How could they not want to surprise someone with gifts to show their appreciation for all that they have done to make them happy? In this, I believe that all five love languages are used, it is that some of us choose to pursue and place emphasis on different love languages in attempts to reach and make our partners happy.
When showing your love to your partner, consider what type of love best suits you. What kind of a lover are you? What kind of a lover is your partner?
If you do not have a partner, think about what it is that you do best. This is who you are when you are looking for love. This type of language that you speak will help you find someone who will complement the love language that you speak and serve to create a deeper, more meaningful relationship and connection.
Keep in mind that love language does not always have to be verbal. It can be expressed in many different forms. It is called love “language” because it is how we communicate with those that appeal to us in some manner. How we choose to communicate is something each of us must examine to see which is most fulfilling for us to pursue and which give us the most pleasure to express.
Knowing these love languages can only serve to forge a closer bond with the one you love and also help find love when love is yet to be found. Place your emphasis on the strength of the type of lover you are and how you communicate that love. That will make you a magnet to receive love already given or one yet to be found.
Author: Adam Wilkinson
Adam Wilkinson, high school Social Studies teacher by day, freelance writer and free spirit by night. Firm believer in fate and that all things happen for a reason. Worshiper of the sun, ocean and the stars. Lover of tattoos, deep intellectual conversations and meaningful connections with like minded people. A jack-of-all-trades, so to speak. Someone once said of me, “You’re a lot of things, but one thing you never are is boring!” Words spoken from someone whom I’ve had a close bond with most of my life and words that I have always tried to uphold. “Vive intenso!”