Understanding love languages dramatically improves relationship satisfaction, transforming what can be failing relationships, due to poor communication, into thriving healthy relationships that see love deepening on a daily basis between partners.
There are five love languages, understanding both your and your partner’s love language has you empowered to interact with them in a way that enables you to sense love more easily. People express themselves in different ways. Often, relationships end due to partners feeling neglected or unloved, one root cause of which can be the failure to properly interpret the messages being sent.
For some this can be being told “I love you” though never having the quality time needed to actually feel that love.
Understanding how people tend to communicate love, and then working out how you and your partner each work with the different love languages enables vastly different results from both dating and long lasting relationships including marriage.
Understanding Your Own Primary Love Language And Your Partner’s Love Language Massively Empowers Romantic Relationships
What Are The Five Love languages?
The five love languages are:
Quality Time Love Language
Partners who communicate through quality time need to actually be there, with their partner, though virtual dates, including video dating, and phone calls, can be acceptable for some partners.
For different people, this can also manifest differently.
For others, just going for a walk together, window shopping, or sitting chatting over coffee, can be good.
For some, even just heading out and doing the grocery shopping together can fulfill part of their need. You will need to communicate with your partner, clearly and effectively, to understand what works for them. There could well be some negotiation required depending on how differently you view things, and restrictions due to your own situation with work etc.
Physical Touch Love Language
Pure and simple this is about having direct physical contact with each other.
Long distance relationships are most challenging for those who have physical touch as their primary love language. Challenges of distance can be overcome with all the other love languages, though when it comes to physical contact, you have to actually be physically there with your partner in order for fulfillment to be possible.
Alongside this, different people have different needs when it comes to physical touch. For some, just holding hands is enough, for others, a kiss is needed. This can vary all the way through to sexual intimacy.
There can also be other points of importance when it comes to how the physical touch is carried out.
Holding hands may seem simple enough, for some partners they need to have their fingers interlocked, for others palm to palm without their partner’s fingers between theirs is what they need. Hugs can bring different challenges too, differing levels of pressure resulting in varying perceptions of love.
This all requires careful calibration, and potentially direct verbal communication in order to understand what your partner needs.
Acts Of Service Love Language
Acts of service translates to doing things for your partner.
This can be something simple like doing the dishes, it can also be something like giving them a foot rub or a shoulder massage.
Certain things are seen by some partners as just part of what partners should do for each other, chores often being cited in this way. So for some partners, you might do all the chores thinking that that behavior would be appreciated, only to be met with “Well I was busy and you had the time free” or something similar.
Generally, putting in more effort, doing something uncommon, something special, is what brings the greatest understanding that your actions were done out of love.
Equally well, if your partner usually does a certain chore, and they’re under pressure from a work project, or feeling really unwell, and you offer to do it for them, then that can be appreciated too. It can be enough to show that you are thinking of them, and wanting to make their life easier.
Essentially, for partners who regard acts of service as important, doing something special is the best way forward.
Words Of Affirmation Love Language
Words of affirmation are where most people tend to go when they are unsure what else to do, that simple act of saying “I love you” is all some people need.
There is more to use of words of affirmation for many people. While hearing “I love you” regularly can be important, there can be other messages that are needed. Compliments can be a requirement for some, noticing changes in hair style and color, items of clothing, positive shifts in body type due to lifestyle changes. Things that your partner likes about themselves, or has feelings of uncertainty about.
Variation in wording, and delivery of the message can be needed to.
While things may need to be spoken regularly, text messages, and hand written notes can bring great appreciation.
Receiving that seemingly randomly timed text message saying “I love you” or “Thank you for being so supportive this morning” can really flow straight to the heart. Finding a hand written sticky note on their water bottle, or on the kitchen counter near the coffee machine, can really brighten their mood for the day.
While words of affirmation can seem simple enough, there is a complexity and depth that can require thought in order for those feelings of love to be properly recognized in an ongoing basis.
Gift Giving Love Language
Giving gifts may seem like a simple enough thing, and it can be, though sometimes it is not only the gift but also the thought behind it, which is important.
For some people, they do just like to be given nice things. Whether that be based on brands, rarity, or some other factor.
Some partners have preferences for receiving gifts of high fashion brands, especially bags and things which are in season, and receiving them makes them feel like their partner loves them. For others, receiving gifts of vinyl from their favorite artist or record label, or a much sought after graphic novel, can have them feeling loved and valued by their partner. The gift that brings those sought after feelings will vary from person to person.
At times it is far more about the thought behind the gift, than the gift itself.
Knowing there is something your partner has been trying to get for a long time, or has held off on buying due to the expense, can be big things that bring a huge amount of positive feeling.
There are also times when solving a problem with a gift can be massively appreciated. You need to know which problem, and importantly what solution, will bring appreciation though. When situations are misread things can produce zero appreciation, or even backfire. So sounding a partner out, asking subtle questions, about potential issues and how they would like them solved, could be wise before doing anything. As an example, if they’re having trouble getting to work and you buy them a car, it could go down badly if they desperately wanted to buy the car for themselves as a mark of achievement.
Giving gifts can take a while to calibrate on effectively, and is generally easier when you can communicate openly with each other and get feedback.
Five Love Languages Examples In Relationships
A very common phrase is that actions speak louder than words, based on one in five love languages being about words this has a certain amount of truth, never underestimate the power of positive words with the right person though.
Knowing your partner’s love language is inherently valuable, as it means you can have high levels of assurance that messages of love are being properly understood when they are shared.
Physical Affection And Touch
Connecting with your partner physically is a requirement in terms of relationship delineation for some people, the act of expressing affection on a physical level being something that most people only do when they truly love a person.
The primary love language of physical touch can come across as being clingy to some. An almost constant need to be in physical contact, whether that be holding hands while walking, snuggled up close while on the sofa, along with having contact at every conceivable opportunity.
When behavior like this is challenging for you, finding someone with a different primary love language could be wise.
As a note, physical affection and sexual satisfaction may lack correlation at times.
While a person may be driven to have non-stop physical touch from their partner, sexual satisfaction comes more from compatibility and preferences in terms of techniques where intimacy is concerned. So while holding hands has little that can affect satisfaction, and can easily be adjusted for, achieving rewarding levels of sexual satisfaction can require more work, and can be challenging for some partners due to very different preferences.
This can also be challenging for more traditional couples who wait until after marriage to explore physical intimacy, it can also bring greater reward too, based on those couples knowing that they have only gone to that level of physical affection with each other. Something which demonstrates their commitment to each other deeply.
Physical touch is something which to truly kinesthetic people feels either right or wrong, with shades in between. When someone truly has physical touch as their primary love language, they will generally know when holding hands whether someone is the right partner for them. It is about the energy that flows within that connection, which is something measured and quantified on the unconscious level, with strong emotional feedback giving the validation to whether their partner is right.
Equally well, those who express love through physical touch, want their partner to be able to sense their energy too, and enjoy the receiving of it constantly.
Written And Spoken Words
Kind words and love notes are common in any new relationship, they can help keep things alive with long term relationships too.
Spoken words are likely the most universally recognized love language, yet they are also one of the least widely used, over time that is. While use of the words “I love you” is common in the early stages of relationships, those words are generally less often used as relationships grow older. Some married couples do tell each other that they love each other on a daily basis, that is relatively rare though. That never has to be an issue, provided other love languages are being used, and that each partner has a love language other than words of affirmation.
That said, even when couples do express love through a different primary love language, actually saying to your significant other “I love you” and sharing compliments, still goes a long way to help build and maintain your relationship.
One issue for many is that words lose meaning when issues of trust arise. Which in itself is good reason for understanding a partner’s love language when you wish to repair a relationship. Even when words are deemed to lose meaning, they still have value. Especially when combined with other love languages.
Context is always important in communication, so creating a definable, notable feeling and emotional environment that brings depth and a sense of assurance, is important.
Telling your partner that you love them, while holding hands, and spending time together, creates that kind of atmosphere. Depending of course on perception of primary love language.
The key point here being that depending on the situation it may be best to take a combined approach.
There are of course times when just saying “I love you” is enough. Even at those times though, adding in things like direct eye contact, enable the receiving of that communication in a much deeper, understandable, and rewarding way.
From the neuro linguistic programming communication model, words are only responsible for 7% of communication when face to face with a person, 55% is dependent on physiology, with the remaining 38% being tone of voice. Hence in part why for some people words lose meaning. Past acts, and other important elements of context can detract from the intent of the message being sent.
When you are using words of affirmation in order to assure someone that you love them, you need to ensure that all of the non-verbal elements involved in conveying your message are coming across properly too.
Work on your communication, be regular with your use of words of affirmation, stay faithful, and your words of love will become more trusted, and more believable.
Acts of service can be some of the most challenging for some to recognize as being done out of love.
Of course, this does depend on the acts of service involved, the manner in which they are done, and the context which led to them being performed for the person involved.
One person may think that doing the household chores is a great way of showing their love, while the other may just feel those things needed doing and that the other person had more time free, so it was logical for them to do them. Drawing a lot of attention to what has been done is rarely helpful. Changing the way the message is received can alter the situation greatly though.
“You seem really busy, so share I make dinner tonight?”
Addition of context in communication dramatically changes the perception of what is being communicated.
Even if one person is usually responsible for certain chores, for couples living together, the framing of those duties can be shifted. The making of dinner as a regular responsibility can be shifted in order to show love more effectively. Just by adding “I thought I would make that dish you like tonight as you seem a bit stressed, would you like that?” Can be enough to dramatically alter that partner’s view of that act of service.
Additionally, by adding in the question about appreciation it enables a conscious decision of that partner that something special is being done for them. Greater care and love is being shown. For most people this can snap a different psychological state, into one of appreciation. So even though a relatively run of the mill thing is being done, it gets perceived differently, more consciously.
Neglect is more responsible for divorce in U.S. marriages than any other reason, so doing things that actively promote interaction and appreciation, even with little things, can help nurture healthy relationships which can last long term with ease.
When service acts are your primary love language, work on how you communicate with your partner about them, especially if your partner’s love language is different. Different primary love languages can work together, as long as that gap can be bridged with good communication. Never assume anything within your relationship, communicate and achieve real understanding with your partner. It’s far more likely to bring relationship success.
Quality Time Together
When your partner’s love language is quality time, then they need to spend time with you, pure and simple. There can be components of duration, along with specific activity types that are needed too, all of which depends on that person’s mindset.
For some people, just sitting and watching a show, or a movie together, can be enough. For others, being in the same room reading can be OK.
What can be more challenging is when things like deeper conversations are required. With that partner needing to spend a long period of time talking with their partner, while in the same room. Those conversations could be about work, future dreams, almost anything, they just need the intellectual connection and the emotional flow which comes with it as a result.
So, even though you know someone’s primary love language is quality time, there are qualifiers that need to be understood so that you know that person’s love language needs are being fulfilled. Even when you share a love language, someone else’s love language perception, context and qualifiers, can be different to yours.
As an example, if they have zero interest in sports, then taking them to a game together is unlikely to be fulfilling for them, even if you are together for several hours.
While vacations together can be great, being on permanent vacation is unrealistic for most people. Finding everyday activities that you can enjoy doing together is the best way to ensure you get the regular, relationship satisfaction that will build the love you have to greater heights.
Higher relationship satisfaction can come from having variety to how you spend quality time together. This does depend on both of your personalities. Some people need a degree of variation in their life in order to remain interested, while others seek sameness and what to stick to set activities that never change. Again, this is another balance that you need to find between you, communicating and finding happy mediums really does help prevent relationship problems from establishing.
Gift Giver And Receiver
For some people, that act of receiving gifts, especially well thought out and heartfelt gifts, is something core to their ability to feel appreciated.
To common belief behind gift giving as a love language is that people tend to be more materialistic as gifts are generally material things. Some gift givers are anything but materialistic though.
For some, this manner of expressing love is a way of them showing how well they know their partner. They are expressing their deep appreciation of their partner, through giving them something which having spent a great deal of time getting to know them, often down to a soul level.
The gift giver is using something tangible to say, “this is how deeply I know you and appreciate you.”
They are providing something which they believe their partner will gain huge satisfaction from, regardless of whether that thing has been asked for.
Gift givers often make mental notes over time, with different things that happen, enabling them to hone in on ideal gifts. Often without their partner knowing that those things are on the way.
Of course, there are some people who giving things, just because they think they should, and have less consideration behind them. That is more of a personality issue based on their appreciation of others. True primary language of gift giver types use gifts to show how well they know and care for their partner.
Equally well, those who give gifts to express love, will be attuned to the gifts they receive, and consider how well their partner knows them based on what gifts they receive themselves.
Nurturing Better Understanding And Removing Potential Relationship Problems
There is variation within what makes every person feel significant, with every person’s love language having various attributes that create variation based on their values and beliefs. In part this is why choosing a life partner with the same values and beliefs, or very closely aligned ones, is so important, it makes things easier for the relationship.
While quality time may seem easy to achieve, perceptions around how that time is spent can cause some to lose recognition of what’s intended as quality time, due to variations in desire and how they achieve fulfillment.
Equally well with receiving gifts, it’s often not only the gift but the thought that went into that gift which is important.
With physical touch a person’s dislike of being touched in a certain way, too ticklish for example, or desire to be touched differently, especially where sexual satisfaction is involved, can create challenges.
Perceptions around acts of service and words of affirmation also have challenges.
Hence one of the reasons why good communication is so vital for healthy relationships. It can take time, with iterations of activities, or lots of different dates for new couples, to find what works for both of you. For good relationships, balance and harmony is required. When everything is one sided you end up with abusive and toxic relationships, things which could have turned out much more happily and harmoniously had good communication been present.
Even when you know your own love language and that of your partner, spend time understanding how your perceptions are different so that you can achieve greater unity and harmony together.
Differences With Expression For Dating Vs Long Term Relationships
Use of love languages can change over time with couples, with behavior altering across key time periods:
Behavior Of Couples When First Dating
When first dating it’s generally easier for partners to know they appreciate each other. We see this a lot during Omiai, the traditional Japanese introduction service first meeting, with matchmaking helping bring highly compatible couples together. After first meeting, in those early stages, partners are usually telling each other in messages, and on dates, that they like, even love, each other.
They tend to spend a lot of time together, hold hands, kiss, do things for each other, plus buy each other gifts.
In the early stages of dating couples are often doing things from all of the five love languages, rather than focusing on any one or two.
This is why when couples first start dating things seem so alive, and they have this rapidly growing feeling for each other. There is high energy in part due to the high level of attraction and newness, the excitement of opportunity, all being fed by every possible measure of being loved being fueled too. Something which can be interpreted as finding the love of your life very easily.
That level of excitement keeps energy high, as does the desire for increasing rapport, and building a closer relationship. There is an understanding that to get closer, things need to be done, action taken, and the right signals sent out of the right magnitude and frequency in order for that closeness to develop.
While the excitement is there, keeping that level of intensity and energy is relatively easy. Over time, and with less perceived need, it does start to drop off though for many couples who lack true compatibility.
Behavior As Relationships Become More Established
As couples transition into more established relationships, effort towards building rapport, i.e. love, along with energy output in general begin dropping off.
While all five love languages are often in use in the very early stages, as couples have been dating longer they usually drop off to using around three out of five love languages. One of those will be what it their own primary love language, while those others used depending on impetus from friends, family and their environment. Marketing around things like Valentines day often prompting people to give cards, flowers and other gifts, as an example.
This is where relationship satisfaction often begins dropping off for many couples.
They shift from every possible signal being sent and received, to fewer and fewer going out, and being received.
With highly compatible couples who share primary love languages this can be fine, with unneeded actions dropping off, while the core things important to both are still in action.
With less compatible couples, especially those with different love languages, there can be a sense that the magic is fading. Yet they continue dating out of the expectation that things can be good again. Provided they learn to communicate properly that is indeed possible. For many couples there is a sense of resignation that the ‘honeymoon’ phase is over, and they’re now in reality, that what they have is the best that’s possible and wanting more is silly. Issues around self love and self esteem can develop, and certainly cause people to accept lower quality relationships than are actually possible.
If relationship satisfaction drops off, communicate with your partner, find out what is missing from your relationship. Talk to each other, be direct, and work out if you can address the situation. Provided you have shared values, shared beliefs, and want the same things from life, then getting feedback so that you both feel loved is wise. It is often the case that partners do love each other, it is just that the necessary signals are absent from their relationship. Good reason for knowing each other’s love languages.
Behavior Of Couples In Long Term Relationships
With highly compatible couples, those who either share the same primary love language, or know and use each other’s love languages, then the magic of true love does continue on long term. Making marriage a very fulfilling, happy, harmonious state of being together.
When couples lack understanding other each other’s love languages, have different love languages and never utilize their partner’s preferred love language, and have low compatibility, long term relationships come to feel very constraining and claustrophobic. Often resulting in feelings of neglect, with desires to become free again. In the U.S. feelings of neglect are the cause of 75% of divorces, much of which comes down to lack of communication, and lack of partners sharing appreciation of each other over a sustained period of time due to lack of knowledge of teach other’s love languages.
Even situations of neglect can be salvaged, providing love languages are properly used.
When couples start doing things similarly to how they did when they were dating, feelings can be revived. Getting relationship coaching, specifically getting into core issues with their relationship and working out each other’s primary love language, then their relationship can be salvaged. It can even be made far stronger than ever before. Often it’s just that acknowledgement of true love which is needed for things to reignite, and the flames of love to burn hotter again.
Additionally, when couples have been together for a long time, even if the magic has gone, there is still a sense that they’re good together. Unless they’re slipped into an abusive toxic relationship that is. When toxicity has been avoided, love can come back stronger as the foundation of love and fidelity is still there.
There is huge value for every couple that chooses to learn and effectively utilize each other’s love language on a regular basis.
A husband properly using his wife’s love language, and a wife properly using her husband’s love language, is one of the most empowering things they can do for their marriage. As a marriage agency Marriage Matching highly recommends this for all couples.
Finding Your And Your Partner’s Love Language
Knowing each other’s primary love language, at the very least, can make a huge difference to relationship satisfaction and viability.
How a person assesses your expression of love has to be carefully calibrated on in order to be properly understood, and from their worked with. Part of this comes from good open communication, in terms of words through both spoken or written communication, with each other. Part of the calibration will also come from assessing their reactions as you do things together, specifically, paying careful attention to their non-verbal communication, physiological cues and tone of voice.
The use of techniques from neuro linguistic programming can greatly improve relationships, especially in terms of working out the more subtle indicators involved at times with all forms of communication.
In order to do this for yourself, you need to look at numerous examples of times when you have been expressing love, so that you can build up patterns emerge. You will also need to look at various relationships you have had, ones which were good, and ones that were less pleasant or even uncomfortable for you. Write down in a notebook, in a manner free from emotion, about the experiences. What you did, what others did, or didn’t do, and how you felt as a result.
From looking through what patterns emerged, you will then be able to begin building up a more solid impression about what your own primary love language is.
When doing this with your partner, they will need to do the same process for themselves.
Another point worth noting when you are doing this with a partner, aside from the importance of remaining free from judgement, is how you can then discuss different situations where each of you have expressed love, how it was received, what did or didn’t come through with each of your efforts.
This absolutely has to remain free from judgement and repercussions.
If you get angry with each other due to lack of perception on previous efforts, you will undermine your own relationship. You are doing this so that you can communicate your true feelings more efficiently, in the manner that you both will understand works. If you have been buying gifts, yet your partner needs quality time, there is nothing to be upset about, there is an opportunity to make your relationship stronger, and for your partner to truly understand how much you love them.
It takes effort and commitment to make relationships successful, understanding each other’s love language is a very positive step in that direction.
Taking The Direct Approach With Discovery
Coaching, be it relationship coaching, life coaching or mindset coaching, can be a much faster route to working out issues around love languages. When done with an experienced, skilled NLP coach, then coaching can also help release limiting beliefs, values issues, and numerous things that result in challenging relationships.
This is mentioned because love languages can change, and blockages to perception can come as a result of previous experiences and the limiting beliefs formed as a result.
Knowing your love language before going into a relationship can be wise too.
One of the best things people can do when preparing for a relationship is to get coaching that helps them clean out all the limiting beliefs they have, and help them move on from previous relationships effectively. While in the process, and when working with the right coach, it is relatively easy to discover your primary love language, which alongside the empowered mindset gained, puts you in very strong position to create a successful long term relationship when you meet the right person.
It also empowers you to find the right marriage partner more easily, largely because you understand yourself better, more so because your mindset becomes properly attuned for that to happen. Never underestimate the power positive psychology and self awareness have on relationships, especially where romantic love is involved.
Mental Health Effects Of Love Language Usage
There is mounting empirical support for the value of using the five love languages within relationships. There is also growing empirical support for how lack of various ways of expressing love during formative years affects development, mindset and relationship satisfaction in later life.
Mindset has a direct effect on mental health. With perspective taking a vital role in terms of how actions and communication are received on an emotional level. The same thing can happen to two different people, yet their perspective and thus sense of fulfillment can be dramatically different.
Self esteem can create various adverse reactions to genuine expressions of love, what one partner chooses to give as a gift may seem excessive, or too little, to the partner receiving that gift. Leading that genuine expression of love having negative consequences, something which can then tarnish a relationship, at times even having a lasting negative psychological impact. Acts of service, words of affirmation and every other language can have pitfalls based on perception and self esteem issues.
Issues can come from treatment by others at a very early age too. Clinical studies regarding treatment of babies in orphanages has shown correlation between the lack of emotional and physical connection while an infant, with higher risks of social, emotional and behavioral issues with age, including being scared to fall in love. With related studies showing how deprivation causes variation in what would be considered normal levels of oxytocin and vasopressin. Something which has caused the emergence of studies regarding how virtual touch, which can be yielded over long distances, can bring positive mental health benefits.
On another level, use of physical affection has been shown in another scientific study to be highly beneficial during times of conflict resolution between couples, regardless of each partner’s love language.
There is a lot of weight to the value physical touch brings in terms of relationship satisfaction.
The reality is, all of the five love languages induce mental health benefits for those within romantic relationships. Even though each partner’s love language may differ, and they may have a differing primary love language, use of all love languages when couples express love brings wider relationship satisfaction then working just with a partner’s primary love language.
It is also worth remembering that everyone’s background and upbringing is different. Lots happens behind closed doors, with people normalizing behavior of carers, parents, and others in order to process and deal with things they deem unpleasant. These situations can lead to benefit being derived from relationship counseling, relationship coaching, and especially coaching to help let go of the past.
Using Love Languages To Build Relationship Satisfaction
What is labelled as love language theory has been shown many times over to be very effective in terms of the empowerment it brings to the relationships of those who work with it.
When people use their own love language on its own, the relationship satisfaction results are mixed. The best results in terms of building relationships, establishing the psychological proof needed for love to blossom, and increased relationship satisfaction, all come from when multiple love languages are used when expressing love. with use of the partner’s primary love language being core to the best results.
When you know your partner’s preferred love language, you are in a very empowered position to cultivate true love, and a successful, long lasting relationship. Shifting love expression strategies can have such an impact as to completely transform failing relationships and make them successful, all because using partners preferred love languages enables them to comprehend properly the feelings being communicated.
Giving your partner your undivided attention when you’re together, especially on dates, along with using your partner’s love language, dramatically increases partner satisfaction. The happier and more loved they feel, the more inclined they will be to use your primary love language too. Each partner’s actions are important for marriage and long term relationships, with use of preferred love language being one of the simplest yet most impactful actions possible.