The Five Love Languages

I spent a very pleasant evening yesterday in the company of my peers of Cognitive Hypnotherapists at a talk organised by the company I did my training with, The Quest Institute ( listening to a talk by one of the graduates, Russell Davies on The Five Love Languages.

The Five Love Languages talk developed from the ideas of a book by the same name, written by Gary Chapman. The premise is that we all have a preference for the way we show love to others and the way we would want to be shown it by others. By communicating our love in a way that the other person can understand it we are more likely to be successful in getting the meaning of the communication that we want.

The trouble is, we can have a tendency to show love in the way we prefer to receive it. Unfortunately this may not be in the same way as our partner prefers to receive it! By understanding your preferred way, you can begin to understand your partners as well and enhance your relationship.

Of course, when I talk about ‘love’, I’m not merely talking about it from the romantic perspective, but within any relationship that we have with other people. However, I will be referring to ‘partners’ here, purely for simplicity.

WARNING: understanding your partner’s love language can radically effect their behaviour!

So, here they are:

1 Words of Affirmation

Does criticism crush you? Do you feel especially loved when someone expresses his or her gratitude for you?
Some people like to be told they are loved – they need it to be said out loud. This can be done in a number of ways, of course, not just saying those three little words:

 Try simple compliments
 Use encouraging words
 Include kind and humble words (don’t forget the tone of voice should match the words!)
 There should be absence of criticism or judgement

2 Quality Time

Do you feel especially loved when someone gives you his or her undivided attention? With this preference, your partner’s way of knowing they are loved would be to spend good, quality time together. Again, there are many ways to do this, including:

 Giving your undivided attention
 Doing quality activities together (the things they would want to do, not you)
 Having quality conversations (real, honest learning, listening and talking)
 Offering understanding to problems, not necessarily solutions to them
 Demonstrating that understanding (using clarification when necessary)
 Learning to talk by sharing feelings

3 Gifts

Do you feel especially loved when someone gives you a gift or another tangible expression of his or her love? This can be high on some people list of importance. It need not necessarily be expensive, but is seen as an outward sign of the love you share. They can be:

 Symbols of love
 Bought, made or found
 The gift of yourself just by being present

4 Acts of Service

Do you feel especially loved when someone pitches in to help you or helps with the chores? Quite often it is easy to get into the situation within a relationship, where there is almost a demarcation of who does what job. When there is a preference for love to be shown, it may mean doing something that you might not ordinarily do. Make sure:

 You are doing what they want to do, not what you want to do
 Do what’s most important to them

5 Physical Touch

Do you feel especially loved when someone expresses their love through physical contact. A hug can say more than a hundred words to the person whose love language is physical touch. It can be:

 Powerful
 Explicit (massage or holding hands)
 Implicit (a glancing touch when passing)
 Not just about sex

Communicating love to your partner in their preferred love language can transform your relationship, as they will feel emotionally loved and wanted. You might think ‘what’s in it for me?’ Well, they will automatically respond and reflect that love back to you. And if they don’t seem to understand your preferential love language, tell them how you like to feel loved. See if you can identify your partners primary love language and then do something to express your love to them in that way and watch the transformation unfold.

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