You are never too old to express love to your significant other no matter how long you’ve been together! But are you and your mate struggling to lovingly express yourselves to each other in a way that still speaks to your hearts? If you find that this describes your situation, you may want to learn more about the five love languages developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages.
After years of conducting studies on couples, Dr. Chapman came to realize that the couples were misunderstanding each other’s needs. He wrote his best-selling book to dissect the principles behind communicating love by developing the theory that there are five primary ways romantic partners give and receive love. Even though the book is 30 years old, its practical applications are still helping countless couples today.
It is never too late to learn how to speak to your partner in a love language they will appreciate, understand and that will get the results you desire:
Words of affirmation: Verbal or written compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love, best expressed in simple and direct statements of affirmation. Psychologist William James said that possibly the deepest human need is the need to feel appreciated, words of affirmation will fill that need in many individuals. As human beings, we aspire to feel competent, valued and appreciated. Positive words have this type of power, creating the solid foundations needed to build strong, productive relationships.
Gift giving: means we “speak” our love through presents ranging from small tokens to surprise deliveries. The true meaning of gift-giving isn’t a high price tag, it’s sentimentality. Every time they see the gift, it will serve as a reminder that they are loved. Many people think someone who has this as their love language means they only care about wealth or objects. Not true! It focuses more on the thought and efforts of the other person. The key to the gift-giving love language is understanding that the price tag has no bearing on the impact of the gift. Rather, it’s the meaning behind it.
To become fluent in your partner’s particular dialect requires listening for clues (and taking notes so you don’t forget!) that will help you meet their individual needs. If your partner’s love language is gifts, don’t forget the special dates like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and other milestones. Set reminders in your calendar so you don’t miss them. “Giving gifts on non-special days would also be important for you to understand,” according to Dr. Chapman. “It’s not just holidays — any day is a good day to give a gift to a person whose love language is receiving gifts.”
Quality time: For those who identify with quality time as their love language, love and affection are expressed through undivided attention. Dr. Chapman explains, “Quality time is giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television. I mean sitting on the couch with the TV off, cell phones down, looking at each other, talking and actively listening.” Time is a precious commodity, we all have multiple demands on our time, yet each of us has exactly the same hours in a day. We can make the most of those hours by committing them to our partner, if your partner’s main love language is quality time, she/he simply loves you, and loves to be sharing together.
Physical contact: For this person, nothing speaks more deeply than an appropriate touch, that does not mean just in the bedroom, everyday physical connections such as hand-holding, cuddling, hugging, kissing or any kind of reaffirmation of physical contact are highly appreciated. For some folks, physical touch is their primary language of love, without this they feel helpless and with it, they feel safe in love. Touch is crucial in creating and strengthening romantic relationships.
Acts of service: By acts of service, Dr. Chapman refers to doing the things you know your mate would like you to do. You seek to please your partner by serving them, expressing your love by doing things for him/her. Consider actions such as cooking, doing the laundry/folding/putting away the clothes, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, filling up their car with gas; running an errand, all are acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, and energy, if you handle your task with a positive attitude, it will be viewed as an expression of love. Keep in mind ‘actions speak louder than words!’