As a Brazilian, my mother tongue is Portuguese, so if you want to give me information in Portuguese, my brain will be able to decode and understand what you want to transmit to me.
However, if you give me information in another language, say Mandarin for example, no matter how much effort you put into this task, I probably won’t understand!
And that’s what I want to talk to you about today, dear reader! Just as spoken communication requires common languages, transmitting and receiving love also requires a common “language”.
According to Gary Chapman, author of the famous book “The 5 Love Languages” (one of the most revealing books I have ever read), love has 5 main languages by which it can be spoken and understood. These are:
- Words of affirmation,
- Quality time,
- Acts of service, and
- Physical touch.
You probably “speak” love using at least one of these 5 languages and, consequently, “understand” love through the same language. If I speak Portuguese, I certainly understand Portuguese better.
One of the first and most important steps in a relationship is to understand your own love language, but even more important is to identify the love language of the person beside you!
Without that first step, no matter how hard you try or how much the person next to you tries, if you have different languages, you will never understand that that person loves you and will never make the other person feel loved!
At this point, you must be wondering what your language is and that of your partner’s. “What if we don’t speak the same language? Are we incompatible?” Far from it! That is why understanding your language and that of your partner is so important! Knowing how to identify when your partner is “saying” that they love you and knowing how to make them understand that you love them is the main key to a relationship!
So, let’s talk about how each language speaks and understands love!
1. Words of Affirmation
People who speak this love language need praise. Don’t misunderstand them, you don’t have to be constantly praising everything about that person! A “you’re looking good!” or “I’m proud of you” will uplift that person for long periods of time! A sincere compliment is always welcome. This language-speaker needs to hear that they are beautiful/handsome, important and that they are loved and valued. So speak up! You know when you plan to meet up somewhere, and you see your boyfriend/husband approaching and think “Wow, he’s looking good today!”? Don’t just think it, speak it.
2. Quality time
Never go to dinner with that person and have your cell phone out. Don’t try to “spend time together” watching a movie or in front of the TV. These language-speakers need time spent exclusively for both of you! Make time to spend time. No cell phone and no worries! Be 100% there!
Calm down, don’t worry about money if you identify that your partner speaks this language! People who speak “gifts” are sensitive to literally any kind of gifts! If you buy a $1 chocolate and present it to them saying you were thinking of them, it will be enough. Surprise them! Give small gifts. Bring them something they like when you come from the grocery store or leave love letters scattered around the house. Any gift is a token of love for that person!
4. Acts of service
You can say that you love this person with all your heart, you can smother them with hugs and kisses, shower them with gifts, but if you do not demonstrate it with palpable attitudes, that person will never understand that you love them. You can fold the shirt they left behind, ask if they are okay, hug them and say that everything will be all right after a stressful day, take them a glass of water or help them pack their suitcase. Anticipate their needs. Focus on attitudes, on “taking care” of them. This is what “acts of service” means!
5. Physical touch
This is important: physical touch does not mean that this person only understands love through sex. Many people may see this language as a bad thing, but it isn’t. “Physical touch” means that this person will enjoy walking with your hand in theirs, when you play with their hair, holding hands while listening to the church service, sitting next to each other at lunch with your family, back and foot rubs, unexpected hugs and gentle caresses to their face. For that person, being with you will mean holding hands, sitting next to you and being close to you. This is how they feel connected to and loved by you!
This is just an intro to the languages. Of course, each one goes far beyond these few tips! But try to identify your love language and that of your partner! Strive to speak in their language and understand when they are demonstrating their love for you.
At the end of this article, I include a language quiz based on the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, so that together, you and your partner can discover your love languages and get to know each other even better.
A relationship without communication will fail, but how sad it is when both parties are talking but neither is understanding! So communicate your love to each other, but speak in the correct languages. Look for a “dictionary” to help you understand your partner’s language and know which language you understand the best, so you can ask for what you need. Love takes many forms, but it’s always worth the time and effort it takes to understand each other.
Which Love Language Do You Speak? – QUIZ
Complete this quiz when you are relaxed and without hurry. After marking your choices, go back and count the number of times you marked each letter. List the results in the appropriate spaces at the end of the quiz. Then be on the lookout for our next article: “interpreting and implementing your love languages”:
1. I enjoy receiving love notes (A)
I enjoy hugs (E)
2. I like to spend time alone with you (B)
I like it when you help me with my projects (D)
3. I like to receive gifts (C)
I like to take walks with you (B)
4. I feel loved when you help me (D)
I feel loved when you touch me (E)
5. I feel loved when I’m in your arms (E)
I feel loved when you give me gifts (C)
6. I like to go out with you (B)
I like to hold hands (E)
7. I like it when I receive visible signs of our love (C)
I like it when you say you love me (A)
8. I like it when we sit close to each other (E)
I like it when you tell me I look good (A)
9. I enjoy spending time with you (B)
I enjoy unexpected gifts (C)
10. I like to hear that you accept me (A)
I feel good when you help me complete a task (D)
11. I feel closer to you when we do things together (B)
I feel closer to you when you compliment me (A)
12. What you do affects me more than what you say (D)
I feel complete when you hold me (E)
13. I value your praise, I try to avoid your criticism (A)
Several small gifts mean more than one large gift (C)
14. I feel intimacy with you when we are talking or doing something together (B)
I feel intimacy with you when you caress me often (E)
15. I like it when you praise my achievements (A)
I like it when you do things for us even if it’s not something you enjoy (D)
16. I feel loved when you touch me in passing (E)
I feel loved when you listen to me (B)
17. I appreciate it when you do your part to take care of our home (D)
I appreciate gifts (C)
18. I feel loved when you praise my appearance (A)
I feel loved when you take the time to understand my feelings (B)
20. I feel safe when you are holding me (E)
Your acts of service make me feel loved (D)
21. I appreciate the things you do for me (D)
I like to receive gifts that you make (C)
22. I like to know that I have your full attention (B)
I like it when you perform an act of service for me (D)
23. I feel loved when you celebrate my birthday with a gift (C)
I feel loved when you celebrate my birthday with words (A)
24. I know you are thinking of me when I receive a gift (C)
I know you love me when you help me with my work (D)
25. I like it when you listen patiently, without interrupting me (B)
I like it when you remember special days with a gift (C)
26. I like to know that you care about helping me with our daily responsibilities (D)
I like to take long trips with you (B)
27. Unexpected kisses move me (E)
Gifts for the sake of gifts, without occasion, move me (C)
28. I like to hear that you appreciate me (A)
I like it when you look at me when we’re talking (B)
29. Your gifts are always special to me (C)
I like it when you reach for my hand (E)
30. I love it when you willingly and lovingly perform a task when I ask for help (D)
I love it when you tell me how important I am to you (A)
31. I need to feel your touch every day (E)
I need to hear loving words every day (A)
Add up the number of “As” you marked. Write this number in the A______ blank below. Do the same for “B”, “C”, “D” and “E”.
D _______ Service
The letter with the most points is your first love language.
Note: You will have a primary language and a secondary love language, but that doesn’t mean you won’t respond to another language every once in a while. It is likely that you and your spouse do not have the same love language.
My love language is: _______________________________
My secondary love language is: ____________________________
My partner’s love language is: __________________ and _______________________