What Are the Main Ideas of the Five Love Languages?

There are many ways to show that you care.
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While all human beings need love, different types of people prefer to give and receive love in different ways, sometimes causing miscommunication. Offering a solution to this miscommunication in his book "The Five Love Languages," pastor and counselor Gary Chapman proposed that there are five "Love Languages" through which people communicate affection and that everyone has a primary language they prefer. Thus, many relationship problems can be solved by trying to communicate in your partner's preferred love language instead of your own.

1 Words of Affirmation

People with this primary love language feel most loved when their partners offer verbal encouragement and acknowledgement. This might include compliments and words of appreciation like "I love you" or "Wow, you did a great job on that!" If this is your primary love language, you might be the type of person who naturally offers a lot of compliments to other people and becomes discouraged when these compliments aren't returned. If this is your partner's primary language, you might make it a goal to give her a compliment every day and always say "thank you" when she does something for you.

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2 Quality Time

If your primary love language is quality time, you feel most loved and valued when your partner shows you his undivided attention. This can involve going out and doing something together or just staying home and talking, but it should be free from distractions like your smart phones or computers. Similarly, if your partner's primary love language is quality time, try to show eye contact when he is speaking and learn to listen without interrupting or being distracted.

3 Acts of Service

People who prefer this love language tend to keep and value their commitments and willingly offer their help to people they love. Showing affection through acts of service does not necessarily require that the acts of service be unique; it could also mean that you complete the same routine tasks more willingly. For example, if this is your partner's primary love language, you could offer to take out the trash or just start helping her with her chores without her asking.

4 Physical Touch

People with this primary love language feel most loved and appreciated when they are touched. This touch need not be passionate but could instead entail an affectionate pat on the shoulder or an embrace during hardship. If this is your partner's primary love language, try to touch his hand or arm while he is talking or give him a hug before he leaves for work. If you aren't sure if this is your primary love language, ask yourself if you are physically affectionate or if you regularly ask your partner for physical affection.

5 Gifts

People with this primary love language tend to give a lot of gifts and feel most appreciated when they receive gifts. Gift-giving is a way of communicating affection across cultures and should not be dismissed as materialistic or shallow. Gifts need not be expensive and might be as small as a doodle that you drew while thinking about your partner during class, or a free informational pamphlet that you think she would find interesting. These small gestures are valued for the effort and thought behind them, not the cost, and they show the other person that you were thinking of her.

Summer Depalma has worked as a writer and editor for the past 16 years and has a graduate degree from the University of Chicago.