When I first heard about love languages I was very intrigued. It made so much intuitive sense– this concept that people have different ways of showing and receiving love.
“Love language” has now become a household term. While people describe any random thing as their love language these days, the original book on the topic that Gary Chapman published had five love languages:
- Physical touch
- Quality time
- Acts of service
- Words of affirmation
- Receiving gifts
The key idea is that your love language might differ from your partner’s.
Suppose you have ‘Words of affirmation’ as your primary love language, but your partner gives you a gift because that’s their primary love language. This causes friction in the relationship.
So, it’s essential to understand your and your partner’s love language.
Origin of love languages
Our early interactions with our primary caregivers are likely behind the individual differences between love languages. How you were loved when you need to be loved the most forms a ‘love template’ in your mind that sets your expectations around love.
So, the next time your partner asks for a back rub, instead of getting confused, you can reasonably assume that that’s how their primary caregiver/s showed love to them.
In psychological terms, they have more positive associations with being lovingly touched than you do. So, they’re likely to score higher than you on ‘Physical touch’ in a love language test.
Modified version of love languages
Note that the concept of love languages isn’t without its flaws. For instance, just because you have a primary love language doesn’t mean you won’t respond to other love languages.
It’s all a matter of degree. You’re likely to respond more to one love language than another.
So, if you score high on every love language, that’s fine. Your mental associations with each love language are positive.
Also, love languages can be overlapping. For example, what’s your love language when you’re spending quality time with your partner playing a video game that you both enjoy, occasionally touching them lovingly and praising their wins?
Quality time? Yes.
Physical touch? Yes.
Words of affirmation? Yes.
Love languages are not a magic pill that’ll fix all your relationship problems. But it’s a valuable tool to better understand yourself and your partner.
I had issues with some of the terms of these languages, so I created a modified version.
1. Touching (Physical touch)
Touch is always physical. Why use two words unnecessarily?
2. Connecting (Quality time)
Quality time is mostly about connection.
3. Helping (Acts of service)
‘Acts of service’ sounds like you’re in the military or something. It is a weird term to use in relational contexts. Also, three words are hard to remember.
4. Giving (Receiving gifts)
Giving and receiving things is a great way to express love. Not all things are gifts though. So, ‘Giving’ is a broader term.
5. Praising (Words of affirmation)
One word is better than three.
Taking the ‘Love languages quiz’
While the concept of love languages may apply to any relationship, this test is focused on romantic relationships and applies to couples. It consists of 25 items on a 5-point scale ranging from Strongly agree to Strongly disagree.
You’ll receive a score on each love language when you finish the test. Your results are only displayed to you and are not stored in our database.