Five Love Languages
It’s February and you know what that means… chocolates, hearts, flowers, and lots of plushies coming to stores near you! But, what does one do when they want something unique for themselves and their partner that doesn’t fit the yearly cliche? Well, I would like to introduce to you “The Five Love Languages” originally created by Gary Chapman.1
As the name suggests, there are five types of love languages people usually can have. While we often discuss the love languages in the context of romantic relationships, I also want to highlight that they can appear in friendships, family dynamics, and self-love. The five love languages are outlined as follows:2
Giving gifts does not mean you are buying designer jewelry or a new car for others. It can include alternative gifts that aren’t monetary, such as making something handmade or crafty. There can also be low cost examples, such as picking up a snack or a coffee for someone, or buying flowers for a loved one.
Quality time includes the mentality of “it’s not what you do but how you do it.” The activities you and a loved one may engage in for quality time can vary greatly. It can range from an at-home date night to hiking or going out to dinner and going to an event. The options are truly limitless. However, what makes quality time key is the word quality. This usually means you are focused on your loved one and they are focused on you. Perhaps you two will spend one-on-one time without others, or you will make an agreement to have no tech time, or minimal tech time. The purpose of quality time is to spend focused time with each other, with minimal distractions, and be able to talk and/or enjoy an activity together.
For physical touch I would like to debunk a myth: physical touch does not have to be sexual. While with a romantic partner physical touch may include sexual interactions, I emphasize that this love language is not limited to sexual touch. Many people desire more physical touch than they realize. Some examples may be the person who likes to hold hands with their partner, “the hugger,” and the person who enjoys high-fiving their friends often. Keep in mind all forms of physical touch when deciding which love language fits your needs.
Words of Affirmation
While affirmation is sometimes used interchangeably with validation, I would argue (although Chapman does not necessarily explicitly state this) that they are different. Especially in a love language context. To validate is one type of affirmation, but not all affirmations are validations (think back in school when the teacher used to say squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares!) Take for example, someone may say to their partner, “I think you handled that situation wonderfully.” This is both validating and affirming. However, a partner can also say, “I trust your judgement.” This is not a validation for an action or belief but instead an affirmation for a character trait. We also can use words of affirmation for self-love such as “I am trying my best.”
Acts of Service
Acts of service occurs when one does a service for someone else or “a favor” without an expectation of something in return. Examples may include running an errand for someone, helping someone fix something, cooking a meal, and driving someone somewhere.
Practicing the 5 Love Languages
So, now that we named the five love languages and debunked some myths surrounding them, what do we do with them? To turn the five love languages into a unique Valentine’s experience (or a date any time of year) with a loved one, I suggest two different exercises.
Have a Love Languages Date
While this might sound self-explanatory, there are two steps I suggest to make this a bigger success. First, sit down with your loved one and have a conversation about the love languages. Take turns answering two questions: 1) What love language(s) is most important for me to receive? 2) What love language(s) do I give others the most? (Note: your answers may be the same or totally different for these two questions- either way it is totally normal!). Second, after answering these questions plan a date around your love languages. You can either pick a date that incorporates both of your love languages, or you can plan a two-part date where one activity of the date addresses one partner’s love language and then the second part of the date addresses the other partner’s love language.
Love Language Dice Game
I have included for you a Free Printable of the love language dice game with this article. The way it works is you will print out the sheet to fold and tape together the two dice (or feel free to use any two dice- but make sure to designate what each side of the dice will represent!). First you are going to roll the love language dice which will land on one of the five love languages or partner’s choice in which the person notrolling will pick a love language. Then roll the timer dice which represents a duration time in increments of five minutes, meaning you can land on anywhere from 5-30 minutes! Then, you must act out that love language for however many minutes was designated. So, for example, if you got word of affirmation for five minutes, you maybe will come up with one compliment a minute for your partner. I typically recommend doing 2 or 3 turns for each partner in a game (depending on how much time was used up after two turns). See below for some examples of what you can do for each love language to jumpstart ideas:
- Words of affirmation
- An affirmation a minute
- Write a letter/text/email/poem to your partner giving affirmation
- Take small post-it notes or index cards and make a jar of affirmations for your partner
- Any artistic craft!
- Plan to take your partner out for lunch or dinner some time in the next week and follow through (use the time to plan when and where)
- Online shop for a gift- set a budget! (seriously, it can be $5 if that’s where the budget is at) or go to a nearby market and pick up your partner’s favorite snack, coffee, or tea
- Hold hands for the timer
- 4) Quality time
- Talk about your day with each other uninterrupted
- Do a brief activity if your timer is for 15-30 minute such as a yoga video, a meditation, a quick game like connect four, etc.
- Plan out a date with each other using the time
- 5) Acts of service
- Do a household chore your partner hates (I.e. dishes or throw out the trash)
- Ask your partner “what is one thing I can do for you now?”
The love languages can be a fun way to incorporate something new in your dating life. However, if you would like to learn more skills for you and your relationships, we are here to help. Did you know that one of the categories that online-therapy.com has therapists specializing in is relationships? If you are interested please head on over to the following link to learn more at https://www.online-therapy.com/
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!
Chapman, G. D. (2015). The Five love languages: The secret to love that lasts. Northfield Publishing.