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A Twist On The Love Languages

A different way of looking at the love languages. Expand your mind by exploring new perspectives on concepts you already know.

If you're even vaguely interested in the psychology of relationships, you've probably heard of the "love languages." This phrase was coined by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The 5 Love Languages. The book has sold over 20 million copies since it was published in 1992 and is listed on Amazon as a "perennial New York Times best seller for over a decade."

The book explores five simple ways in which we tend to express love in relationships. The five ways are: physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time and gifts.

Here's a little info about each of the five love languages in the original way they are discussed:

1. Words of affirmation

Words of affirmation means expressing to your partner the things you love, admire and appreciate about them. For example, you can tell them how beautiful you think they are, or that you appreciate the dinner they cooked for you last night, or that you love how they make you feel seen, felt and heard. You can communicate words of affirmation orally, in writing, or through other forms of communication. If your partner's love language is words of affirmation, whether you express affirmations to them face to face, over the phone, or through a text message, this gesture will make them feel cared about and loved by you.

2. Quality time

Quality time means giving your partner your full, complete, and undivided attention and meaningfully engaging with them while doing shared activities. This means: making lots of eye contact, listening actively, responding thoughtfully, and sharing when appropriate. One easy way to make someone feel like they are important to you is by putting away your phone during your time together, and prioritizing your conversation with them over everything else in that moment. If your partner's love language is quality time, schedule time together for just the two of you, and really focus on them during that time to make them feel loved and cared about by you.

3. Receiving gifts

Receiving gifts means getting your partner presents they like. For people whose primary love language is receiving gifts, it's not necessarily about receiving lavish or expensive gifts. It's really about the effort put into and the thoughtfulness behind the gift. People who speak this love language feel loved when they feel like their partner knows their preferences and the things they like. If your partner's love language is receiving gifts, pay attention to the little details about their preferences and then get them whatever it is they like. For example, how does your partner like their coffee? Do they like it black, with sugar, with almond milk or soy milk? What kind of yummy treat do they like to enjoy with their coffee? A croissant, a donut, a muffin, a brownie? Pay attention to the small details, and your partner will be sure to feel loved and cared about by you.

4. Acts of service

Acts of service means doing things for your partner to make their lives easier or more enjoyable. For example, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, cooking their favorite meal, or giving them a massage. People whose primary love language is acts of service feel loved when they feel like they are being taken care of by their partner, and tend to reciprocate and perform acts of kindness for their partner and others in their lives. If your partner's love language is acts of service, doing chores for them or planning a nice date or a vacation for the two of you will make your partner feel loved and cared about by you.

5. Physical touch

Physical touch means making bodily contact with your partner. Keep in mind physical touch does not necessarily mean sexual touch, and includes non-sexual too. For example, holding hands, hugging or cuddling are all forms of physical touch. If your partner's love language is physical touch, a perfect date idea could be a night in together snuggling up on the couch to binge watch a favorite show or movie.

Learn more about the love languages straight from the source here.


Here's the twist

The way Dr. Gary Chapman defines the love languages, your love language refers to how you prefer to receive love. If you're not sure what your love language is and want to find out, take the official love language quiz here.

An alternative perspective from which to explore this concept is to consider your love language when it comes to how you prefer to give love. The way you prefer to give love and the way you prefer to receive love may not be the same, and that is perfectly okay.

It's worth spending some time to think about this as it can provide you with valuable information about how you tend to show up in relationships. It can help you establish, develop, deepen, cultivate and improve the meaningful relationships you have in your life.


Bonus exercise

This can be a great starting point for some deeper reflection into your Self. One way to do this is by journaling.

The journal prompt could be: "I prefer to receive love through....(insert love language(s) here)." Then list some examples of how you like to receive love.

The deeper self reflection exercise would be to then continue your exploration into your Self through contemplation of the question: "Why do I like to receive love in this way?"

It may be helpful to look back on your childhood: Was this a way love was expressed to you by your parents or other caretakers when you were a child? Or perhaps this was something you felt was lacking in your life as a child? Or maybe you feel it is lacking in your life now as an adult?

There are so many possibilities and paths to go down from this initial starting point. You choose the journey you take into the depths of your mind. Whatever you choose, may your journey be fruitful, healing and bring you closer to love.


"The 5 Love Languages" Book

If you're interested in learning more about this book, here's a link to the book on Amazon.


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