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  • Writer's pictureLehandra Riley

The Five Love Languages

Often, when seeing couples for counselling in my private practice, I see a lot of improvement in communication and understanding once couples understand their love language. According to Dr Gary Chapman there are five love languages, namely: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.

Why is knowing your partner’s love language an integral part of a successful relationship?

  • It will help you and your partner feel more appreciated.

  • It will allow you to communicate your needs better.

  • It will show you and your partner what you both should do without being asked.

  • It will enhance thoughtfulness between you and your partner.

  • It will help you and your partner understand each other better.

  • It will help you and your partner improve your connection with each other.

  • I will make you and your partner more open to receiving love and feeling loved.

Principles of different Love Languages:

  1. There are different ways to communicate love, appreciation, and encouragement to others.

  2. An individual will value a certain language more than another.

  3. The most effective communication of love and appreciation occurs when the message is sent in the love language most valued by the receiver.

  4. Messages of love and appreciation in languages not valued by the recipient will tend to miss the mark.

The Big Five:

Words of Affirmation:

This love language refers to using words to communicate a positive message to another person. This includes praise for accomplishments and affirmation of character. This can be done one-on-one, in front of others (in public), verbally or it can be written (by hand or digitally).

Quality Time:

This love language refers to giving the person your focus and attention. This includes quality conversation while maintaining eye contact, without distractions, while listening to your partner’s thoughts and feelings. It also includes shared experiences, small group dialogue, and working together on a project or shared activity. This can be done by sharing a meal together, stopping by your partner’s work to check in, going for a walk, attending an event together, or making phone calls to check in during the day.

Receiving Gifts:

Gifts are a visual symbol of love. When giving a gift, the following is helpful to keep in mind:

Give gifts to those who appreciate them. Gifts must be something the person values. It can include time off. A common gift is food (buying your partner’s favourite treat).

Acts of Service:

This love language involves doing activities that make life easier and more enjoyable for your partner. It includes activities such as running errands or doing household chores. It is important to remember to make sure your own stuff gets done, ask before you help, have a positive attitude, do it in the way your partner prefers and complete what you start.

Physical Touch:

This love language refers to person-to-person contact where your partner craves closeness through hugs, holding hands, massages after a long day, cuddling, and little spontaneous touches that make them feel loved.

Important tips to remember to successfully facilitate love languages:

  • We all tend to "speak" our own love language, consciously and unconsciously. The love language that we value the least will be the one that we seldom use.

  • A mismatch of a couple’s love languages can easily lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding since one person believes they are "being loving" but the other does not receive it as being loving.

  • A person’s lowest love language may truly be unimportant to them. This is hard to imagine if you value that language, but it’s a critical insight. It is not a matter of "who is right and who is wrong". Take the initiative to learn from someone whose primary love language is your least important Have them explain its importance to them, listen, and really seek to understand the value involved. This is the key to communicating love in a way your partner understands.

Want to know what you or your partner’s love language is?

Take the official quiz here for free:


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