There’s a book by Dr. Gary Chapman called The 5 Love Languages which essentially narrows down and clarifies how you give and receive love. There are 5 categories: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Gifts. I actually think those are mine in that order.
The great thing about doing this as a couple is that you then have shared language to talk about your needs. It’s just a simple and easy way to help a relationship flow better and it’s helped in mine and after talking to another friend about it recently, I thought I would post about it in case it can help anyone else too.
So for instance my top love language is Quality Time. This means for me to feel like my cup is being filled in my relationship I need to be 1:1 with my loved one phones down, doing something, almost anything really, just together. This is probably why I love roadtrips so much, it’s like the ultimate Quality Time activity, heading in the same direction, getting to have unlimited talking time, and times of silence, getting to listen to the same audiobooks or music, and seeing new things together. It can be something even more close to home like taking a walk together. One that fills my cup regularly is to have family meals, we have them at our dining table for every meal we are home. I love the feeling of being able to just hang out and be together.
My very close second top love language is Words of Affirmation. It means a lot to me when someone tells me encouraging words, or shares their appreciation for me or something that I have done, or some way that I have positively impacted them. Sometimes I wish I didn’t care as much about this, but I really do and it goes so far for me. I don’t do things for the praise, but getting the praise in some way really does add more fuel to my own fire to keep giving, to keep showing up, to keep doing what I’m doing. So when my son tells me “I love you to the galaxy and back” it makes me feel so good. It also means that when my husband tells me that he’s impressed with my mind, or likes the way I look, or loves the meal I’ve cooked, that also fills my cup.
Acts of Service is another one that is a lower item on the list for me. It’s when a loved one does something for me that I need to do. This could be like my husband doing the laundry, which I definitely appreciate, but it doesn’t fill me up, it just feels like we are sharing the work load. I have a good friend who tells me about her husband having Acts of Service as his top love language and when she irons his clothes it means so much to him and makes his love grow.
My husband’s top love language is Physical Touch. Physical touch isn’t just about sex, it’s the little things like holding hands, or resting my hand on his leg in the car, giving a little back rub, hugs, cuddles. I haven’t asked in these specific terms, but I bet that having two small children really fills his cup in the touch department because kids have zero personal boundaries for space and are always on top of you, and when he’s home, that’s exactly what’s happening. He also carries the baby around everywhere when he’s home, and it’s probably also good for him, not just because he’s keeping the baby out of things, so perhaps a nice dual purpose activity.
There are other love languages, and for me Gifts is at the bottom. It’s not that I don’t appreciate gifts and material things, but it’s the one that matters least to me. I will still be grateful if someone gets me something, but any day of the week, I’d prefer to spend time doing something with someone I care about instead. I like to have nice things, I like a comfortable life, but I feel like that’s just a side part of having a good life spent laughing and enjoying time with loved ones.
Anyway I’m writing this post truly to be helpful, there is no affiliation whatsoever. I can imagine if you were looking for a mate, it would be helpful to know this and find someone else who also knows what their love language is to start out with common language and open eyes going into a relationship.
To make it easy if you want to try the 5 Love Languages Couples Quiz click here, and perhaps consider buying the book if you want to go deeper.