One of the first rules we learn is the golden rule: Treat others how you want to be treated. While that sentiment has bearing in many aspects of life, The Five Love Languages, a book-turned-relationship-phenomenon by Gary Chapman, has completely turned the golden rule on its own head. When it comes to romantic relationships, the book says not to treat others how you want to be treated, but how they want to be treated — simply because everyone expresses and receives love differently.
Whether you’re moving in together, finally having the “money talk,” or simply thinking about getting back together, the five love languages can seriously change the way your relationship works. But don’t take our word for it; couples and family therapist Earl Lewis says that the five love languages can help you understand more about how to be the best self and partner you can be.
“It’s very simple,” he says. “The concept of the five love languages is this: This is what’s important to me, and I need you to validate that for me to feel like this relationship is progressing and going well.”
1. Words of Affirmation: If you’re like Dr. Lewis, your love language means that you need verbal validation from your partner. “If I’m in a dating relationship, I need someone to validate what I’m feeling and how our relationship is going,” he said.
2. Acts of Service: People whose love language is acts of service cherish the idea that actions speak louder than words. They notice when you help them with little tasks like taking the trash out or cleaning a shared space.
3. Receiving Gifts: If your love language is receiving gifts, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you just like material things; for some people, a gift is a physical manifestation of what your relationship means to them.
4. Quality Time: Take notice if your partner’s love language is quality time: It means that they care deeply about having your undivided attention. That’s not to say that you have to spend a lot of time with them — it simply means that to them, your time together is precious.
5. Physical Touch: Snugglers and huggers, unite! People whose love language is touch thrive on positive physical interaction.
Knowing your love language is important, but Dr. Lewis says that it’s even more important to be able to communicate it with your partner.
“Your love language is what’s meaningful for you, and once you find that, you have to help your partner understand it,” he said.
Want in on what the five love languages can offer? Read about them here, then take the online quiz to figure out which one fits your relationship style best.
What’s your love language? Let us know @BritandCo!
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