The 5 Love Languages® And What They Mean

What are the five love languages and what do they mean? We're helping you decode them to understand the different ways people express love.
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Couple kissing and smiling at each other between trees

The book that sparked the new way of thinking about love, The 5 Love Languages® by Dr. Gary Chapman, was written in 1995 and has become more popular recently. What exactly are they and what do they mean?

The five love languages describe the way we feel loved and appreciated. Depending on our individual personality types, we may feel loved differently than how our partners do. Understanding and decoding these different ways of showing love will help take the guesswork out of your partner’s expectations and needs.

According to Dr. Chapman, there are five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.

Heart saying "I am grateful" to partner

1: Words of Affirmation

This love language expresses love with words that build up your partner. Verbal compliments don’t have to be complicated; the shortest and simplest praises can be the most effective.

“That dress looks incredible on you!”

“You always make me laugh.”

“I love your hair today.”

Words mean a lot if your partner has this love language. Compliments and an “I love you” can go a long way. On the other hand, negative or insulting comments can hurt your partner and it could take them longer to forgive than others.

Learn more about the Words of Affirmation love language!

Husband cooking dinner for partner

2: Acts of Service

Your partner might have this love language if their motto is “Actions speak louder than words.”

This love language expresses itself by doing things that you know your spouse would like. Cooking a meal, doing the laundry, and picking up a prescription are all acts of service. They require some thought, time, and effort.

All of these things should be done with positivity and with your partner’s ultimate happiness in mind to be considered an expression of love. Actions out of obligation or with a negative tone are something else entirely.

Learn more about the Acts of Service love language!

Man giving flowers to his girlfriend

3: Receiving Gifts

This love language isn’t necessarily materialistic. It just means that a meaningful or thoughtful gift makes your partner feel loved and appreciated. Something as simple as picking up a pint of their favorite ice cream after a long work week can make a huge impact.

This is different than Acts of Service, where you show affection by performing actions to help your partner.

Learn more about the Receiving Gifts love language!

Couple spending quality time together

4: Quality Time

This love language is all about undivided attention. No televisions, no smartphones, or any other distractions. If this is your partner’s primary language, they don’t just want to be included during this period of time, they want to be the center of your attention. They want their partners to look at them and them only.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t curl up on the couch to watch Netflix or HBO; it just means that you need to make sure to dedicate time together without all of the distractions. That will help them feel comforted in the relationship.

Every time you cancel a date, postpone time together or aren’t present during your time together, it can be extremely hurtful to your partner as it can make them feel like you care more about other things or activities than them.

Learn more about the Quality Time love language!

Married couple holding each other's arms

5: Physical Touch

To people with this love language, nothing is more impactful than the physical touch of their partner. They aren’t necessarily into over-the-top PDA, but they do feel more connected and safe in a relationship by holding hands, kissing, hugging, etc.

If Physical Touch is your partner’s primary love language, they will feel unloved without physical contact. All of the words and gifts in the world won’t change that. They want to feel you close by, not just emotionally, but physically.

Learn more about the Physical Touch love language!

Summary

There are five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Each one is important and expresses love in its own way. Learning your partner’s and your own primary love language will help create a stronger bond in your relationship.

Are you ready to find out more about your love language?

Now that you know about The 5 Love Languages®, you should have a good idea of which one is your primary language. Let’s see what yours has to say about you!

What’s your love language? Click here to take the FREE QUIZ or get your copy today!
The concepts of The 5 Love Languages® have been shared with permission. ©1992, 2015 Gary D. Chapman. All rights reserved.