If you have ever been dating to find a serious connection or in a long-term relationship but found there was a certain level of unfulfilment, it’s likely because someone’s love language was not met.
Your love language is the way in which you feel and give love which is based off primarily how you felt loved as a child.
So, it’s no wonder that as we grow into an adult our hearts seek out the same pathway to accept, share and feel love with the people we’re in romantic relationships with.
In this article, I will introduce you to the concept of love languages by Dr. Chapman. I will tell you how the different love languages influence your dating life, how they show in expressions of love and what the benefits are of knowing you or your date’s love language.
This knowledge is also valuable for when you start out in online dating, to get a better feeling of a person’s partner needs in order to know what they need in lasting relationships.
What are the 5 Love Languages?
The 5 love Languages was a concept brought about by author and radio host Dr. Gary Chapman. His theory in “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” was that every single person gives and receives love in one of the following 5 ways:
Words of Affirmation
Speaking or receiving praise and words of encouragement and validation. Having or giving affirmation over someone’s actions, feelings or being.
Spending or giving focused time with someone to communicate value and love. This shouldn’t be confused with quantity time, it’s not the amount of time but rather how that time is spent together.
This includes affection and intimacy such as hugging, cuddling, kissing, intercourse and general touch. In most cases, physical touch refers less to sex and more to the need for giving or receiving affection.
Acts of Service
Doing things for someone or having them done for you. Whether it is a simple act of making a cup of tea, picking up groceries or something grander. The love is expressed through the act of aiding someone.
People with this love language love to receive little (or big) signs of affection. They find love in the presents their partner gives to them, knowing they were thought of. To them, gifts are a sign of their partner knowing them well and caring for them.
The key however with Chapman’s theory is that every one of us has a primary love language, and this must be fed in order for us to feel loved to our fullest.
However, the way in which we receive love is not always the way in which we give love.
For some people, they may feel most loved when their partner spends quality time with them, however they way in which they give back love is through physical touch.
Are you interested in more theories about love? How about you check out our article on attachment styles and how they influence your dating life?
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The Weaknesses and Strengths of each Love Language
Like any emotion there is a strength and weakness associated with it which determines our experience and expression of it in relationships.
Let’s look at both the benefits and flaws of each of the 5 love languages:
Words of Affirmation– The strength of verbally affirming someone is that you help build a conviction in their mind that what they do and who they are is validated by you.
From a neuroscience point of view, having someone speak or speak over you positive affirmations starts to rewire your brain and release endorphins and serotonin to feel happy and confident.
You can also make use of this while using a dating app or going on your first date. If you know that a person’s love language is words of affirmation, be charming, give compliments and show appreciation and you’re guaranteed to get the same expression of love back eventually.
So, what are the weaknesses then? Whilst having or speaking words are great, they need to be followed up by actions. It can be that a person whose love language is words of affirmation needs your undivided attention often times.
We also have to remember that whilst you may speak affirmation over someone, it doesn’t mean they will automatically feel better.
We can’t choose how someone receives our words of praise, nor can we always feel like someone says exactly the right words to us.
Quality Time– This is probably a popular one, because it means that someone feels like a priority.
Having someone make you feel like you are seen, valued and matter because they are focusing their energy and emotion on you is a sure way to fill up the love tank.
Quality time however often gets confused with quantity time. Just because someone is spending or giving lots of time, doesn’t mean it is focused attention.
Often couples will be in the same room together supposedly spending ‘quality time ‘together, yet there will be little conversation or connection.
Quality time means putting away distractions like phones or other people and just focusing in on the other person.
Physical Touch– Physical touch often gets associated with sex. Whilst it can involve feeling or giving love through intercourse, it should not be limited to this.
Most of the time when someone needs physical touch to feel loved it’s because they are craving nearness and affection.
This includes hugging, holding hands, kissing and other acts that share a sense of intimate connection without anything overly sexual.
Receiving Gifts– Giving or receiving gifts is a love language more common in females. And this isn’t because they are more materialistic, but rather they perceive the gifts as a tangible thought of love.
Gifts can also be the little things in life, like the partner preparing breakfast on a Sunday or running you a bath after a long day of work.
Unfortunately, what happens here is that a monetary value can be attached to a gift making this love language become ‘expensive’ or superficial.
When it is expressed in the right way by putting thought into each gift, it becomes an affordable and romantic way to express and receive love.
Acts of Service– This is essentially ‘love in action’. Expressing and receiving love through actions of aid is the best way to sum it up.
Its strength is that it solidifies what love is about, rather than just relying on words or promises of love.
However, whilst doing something nice for someone or having it done for you might sound easy, it should also be backed up with some loving words and solid communication.
What is my love language? How do I find out?
By now you may be wondering what is your love language and how do you find out?
This isn’t about embarking on a self-discovery journey or filing a personality test or questionnaire to every ex you have had.
Here are some simple ways you can learn what your primary and secondary love languages are:
Look at your upbringing
Our way to receive love especially is shaped by how our parents expressed love to us.
If you had a parent who used to spend quality time with you each day or had weekly family time together, then your love language will be the need for this quality time.
Alternately how your parents didn’t love you also shapes you need for love.
For example, if you never felt like you got any presents for your birthday because it was “too expensive” or deemed unnecessary or superficial, then your love language may be Gifts.
Look at past patterns
Your past and present relationships also hold the key because of the patterns they have.
Because we operate 90% through our subconscious, this means that we will have our love language build automatically into our actions.
What was one thing you kept constantly doing to try and feel loved in your relationships? Did you feel affirmation starved? Did you crave affection and touch?
What are some of the words that were said to you during fights that indicate that person didn’t feel loved? Whilst our past may be painful it holds the key to understanding how to have power in the present.
Ask yourself what makes you feel most loved?
Take a moment and label in order of priority which love language you most identify with.
What makes you feel most loved in relationships? What made you feel loved by your parents? Or how had you wished they had expressed love to you?
What are you known for?
This is a good way to know how you give love and what you crave to feel fulfilled in a relationship.
Are you the girl who is known for chasing men because you want quality focused time?
Or are you a man who is always doing things to help others because you express love through acts of service?
Whilst we can choose and mould our identity, our love language will always remain consistent.
How your love language impacts your dating life
Your love language will impact your relationships even right from the beginning stages of dating.
Because dating is where we form attachments which then leads to love, we have to be aware of what both person’s love language is.
Here are a few ways that your love language affects your dating life:
It makes you more dateable– Knowing your own love languages, primary and secondary, means you are dating with self-awareness.
This gives you an opportunity to step into the best version of yourself and up level your accountability as a potential partner.
It opens up channels of communication– Giving and receiving love from a place of clarity and awareness means you can feel more secure in your actions and expression of needs.
This will open up communication because there is direction on what needs to be said.
It produces clarity and direction– Identifying the way in which you give and receive love means you can further assess who you should date and whether or not they can meet your needs.
If you are someone who needs quality time to feel loved but are dating someone who is always away or super busy, it allows you to pinpoint that lack of compatibility.
Enhance your relationship by knowing you and your partner’s love language
There is no doubt that knowing your partner’s primary love language, or even the primary and secondary one, will revolutionise your relationship.
The ultimate goal in a romantic partnership is to love and be loved wholly. And whilst we may feel that we are giving ‘love’ to our significant other our way, it doesn’t mean that they are receiving that love.
We have to remember that the five love languages have two sides to the coin; we give love a certain way and we receive love a certain way.
For some people, it may be the same love language for both giving and receiving, however in most cases it’s not.
Knowing how you both feel loved and show love gives you an opportunity to strengthen your bond and create a deeper and stronger connection, being more sensitive towards both of your partner needs.
It also encourages partner trust and gives you both an ability to love back from a place of abundance rather than lack.
Fulfilling each other’s love language enhances communication because it breaks down defenses and creates a safe space for vulnerability and emotions.
Expressing each other’s love languages also increases intimacy and guards against unmet expectations and temptation.
In short, it is vital to being able to build a healthy and fulfilling relationship and shouldn’t be something that either or you just ‘wing’.
FAQ, you need to know about the 5 Love Languages
Should you date someone with the same love language?
Dating someone with the same primary love language means you are likely to have less friction when it comes to giving and receiving love.
However, it isn’t necessary to only date someone with the same love language.
As long as you are able to understand each other’s love language and put it into action that is all that matters.
What are the love languages for singles?
The 5 love languages are not determined by your relationship status.
Each person is different and their love language is influenced by their upbringing.
Which love languages are most compatible?
The truth is each love language can work with each other. Every relationship needs a combination of all love languages in some capacity. A healthy loving relationship requires love in action.
What are the 5 love languages in a relationship?
Again all 5 love languages can work in a relationship and are not subject to singles or couples. Each person will have a primary and secondary language regardless of their relationship status.