What are The 5 Love Languages?

The 5 Love Languages

Happy Valentine’s Day from Journey to Joy!  Since love is in the air, today I’m going to talk about ways to improve your relationships and love your partner better.  Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a very popular book called The 5 Love Languages.  The 5 Love Languages include Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, and Gifts.  The premise behind the 5 Love Languages is that we all have 1 (sometimes 2) ways that we prefer to show love and be shown love by others.  This is very important information to know about yourself and your partner, because you may not be on the same page.  Here is what the 5 Love Languages look like:

Acts of Service

People who have this Love Language often enjoy doing things for others.  They will do the dishes, offer to run an errand, or fix a leaky sink.  These individuals will bring a meal to a sick friend, or mow their elderly neighbor’s grass because it shows love.  They show love by “doing”.  It’s important to note that the chore or task must be done out of love, and not out of obligation for it to mean something to them.  Actions speak so much louder than words do for these individuals.  You can speak their language by doing kind, thoughtful tasks for them.  You may also ask them what tasks or chores you can do that really makes them feel loved.

Physical Touch

Physical touch is often confused with sex, however, it does not just mean sex.  People who have this Love Language enjoy all forms of physical intimacy—a touch on the shoulder, a kiss, holding hands, a back rub.  They usually love massages!  These individuals crave touch from everyone, not just their partners.  In addition, cuddling on the couch or just touching during a movie can make them feel loved.  You can speak their language by initiating touch and reciprocating when they reach out to you.

Words of Affirmation

People who have this Love Language enjoy compliments and gratitude.  Often they are the people that will shower others with appreciation or compliment an outfit or hair-do.  They probably write cards with thoughtful notes in them, and leave Post-Its on the counter for you.  You can speak their language by saying simple things like “You look nice today” or “I appreciate that you cooked dinner tonight”. Thank-you’s and recognition make this individual feel important and appreciated.  Remember that Words of Affirmation can be either spoken and written.

Quality Time

Quality time is time spent together doing something or nothing at all.  Individuals with this Love Language just love being around people and having their undivided attention.  Taking walks, sitting on the couch with the TV off, or working on a project together makes these people feel loved.  These individuals crave one-on-one time with others.  They love to meet for coffee just to “catch up”.  You can speak their language by giving them your undivided attention, making eye contact, and engaging them in conversation.  It also means a lot to them when you initiate plans with them.


People with this Love Language love to give individualized and personalized gifts.  They spend a lot of time researching, planning, and obtaining the “perfect” gift.  The gift is not about the monetary value, but rather about the thought behind it.  Gifts are often small tokens to show “I was thinking of you today” or “I saw this and it reminded me of you”.  You can speak this language to your partner by giving flowers, a card, or a small gift every once in a while.  In addition, the more personalized the gift, the better.

Why are the 5 Love Languages important?

We all carry around an invisible tank that gets filled when we are shown love in the language we prefer.  When we aren’t being shown love in our preferred way, we can feel empty and depleted.  It is not unusual for this to cause some issues in a relationship.  A depleted tank can lead to feelings of disconnect, resentment, and loneliness within a relationship.  Can you relate to this?

If a wife’s Love Language is Quality Time, she will enjoy spending time doing an activity with her husband.  She will feel important and loved by him since he’s speaking her language.  If the husband’s Love Language is Physical Touch, his tank is not going to be filled by just spending time with his wife.  He will crave connection and intimacy from her that can only be fulfilled by touch.

Using this same example of the husband and wife, it’s easy to see how a relationship can be mismatched as far as primary Love Languages go.  Therefore, you may be showing your partner that you love them, but not in a way that fills their tank.  It is rare that a couple has similar Love Languages.  As a result, you have to be intentional.

If your Love Language is different than your partner’s, you are probably going to have to work at showing them love.  Their Love Language is not going to come naturally to you.  This means that every day you have to make a decision to love them in a way that is probably outside of your box.  The reward is, their tank will become full, they will feel loved by you, and they will want to reciprocate and show you love in your preferred way.  It’s really a win-win!

Further Resources

If you’d like to find out what you and your partner’s Love Language is, click here for the 5 Love Languages quiz.  Also, I would recommend you read the The 5 Love Languages book.  Not only can the 5 Love Languages help you with your partner, they can also help you love your children, family members, and friends in the ways they prefer to be shown love.  It’s applicable to all relationships!

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

*Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling. Christy enjoys doing marriage/couples counseling, individual counseling, premarital counseling. She also provides family counseling, teen and adolescent counseling.

Journey to Joy Counseling serves the Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.