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What are the Five Love Languages?

communication love languages relationships
A woman is lovingly carried on the back of a man as they walk through a field


All you need is love.  The Beatles 

 By John Millen

We have readers around the world, and in some of your countries, you joined the United States in celebrating your love with Valentine’s Day last week.

But whether you celebrated this day or not, you no doubt join us in wondering how to best speak the universal language of love.

As with all communication, in the language of love, our actions often speak much louder than our words. We must understand our lover’s language to successfully express our love.

Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, is the author of The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. First published in 1992, the book has been a New York Times Bestseller and published in 49 languages.

Primary love language

Chapman believes each of us has a primary love language, a way in which we are most emotionally satisfied to receive love from another person. Our lovers may find satisfaction from an entirely different love language than ours.

The secret to communicating love, then, is to understand our partner’s language and act on that sincerely and consistently. “The one who chooses to love will find appropriate ways to express that decision every day,” Chapman says.

These are the five love languages identified by Chapman along with my thoughts:

1. Words of Affirmation 

Kind, loving, supportive words that express appreciation. The tone and the intent of the words, of course, carry as much weight as the words themselves.

2. Acts of Service 

The saying is “Actions speak louder than words” and for people who favor this language of love, nothing could be more true. Simple acts of service will speak deeply to your love.

3. Receiving Gifts

Throughout all cultures and civilizations, the act of giving gifts has been seen as an expression of love and appreciation. Certainly, the engagement ring is one powerful symbolic example.

But speaking this language is not about the expense. A small gift or thoughtful note sincerely given can mean far more than an expensive gift without thought.

4. Quality Time 

In our hectic, over-scheduled lives, nothing is more valuable than our time. Giving someone undivided attention, being fully present in the moment, is one of the best ways of showing love.

Sharing quality time has an impact on everyone but is enormously powerful to those who speak this love language.

5. Physical Touch

Human beings thrive on physical contact, from holding an infant to consoling loss, to expressing appreciation. Research finds deep emotional and physical benefits of touch. If this is your partner’s primary love language, nothing will communicate more deeply than your touch.

What is your love language? Your partner's?

What is your primary love language? Does your loved one know that?

More importantly, what is your lover’s primary love language?

Are you speaking that language consistently and sincerely? 

If you don't know, there's an easy way to find out: ask and listen carefully.

Serious questions, since love is all you need.

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John Millen

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