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5 crucial love languages you need to know

Not too long ago, I listened to a pretty interesting audiobook and I’d like to share some insights from this book with all of you. The audiobook is titled ‘The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts’ by Gary Chapman.

I know this title may invoke some eye-rolling or snickering, but it does provide some useful information on improving relationships. Chapman’s primary premise is that we each have our own love language that we understand and communicate in, very much like actual languages. We are most fluent in our native tongues with the words bouncing off the tongue so naturally, while we may struggle to grasp the complexities of a foreign language. Chapman states that there are 5 primary love languages namely, words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

Our love language affects how we express and feel love from others. Here’s a quick break down of each love language:

1. Words of affirmation

This person feels loved when they receive positive words of appreciation or encouragement.

If this is your partner's love language, then...

Do’s: Compliment their physical appearance and character. Express your appreciation for all the things they do for you.

Don’ts: Avoid critical words.

2. Quality time

This person feels loved when they are given time and undivided attention.

If this is your partner's love language, then...

Do’s: Look at them and listen intently to what they say. Make time to do things with them.

Don’ts: Multi-task as you talk to them.

3. Receiving gifts

This person feels loved when they receive thoughtful gifts.

If this is your partner's love language, then...

Do’s: Give time and thought to what they like and either buy or make gifts for them on special occasions. Leave handwritten notes as a way to remind them that you’re thinking of them.

Don’ts: Ignore gift-giving due to budget constraints. Gifts need not be expensive; they can be home-made such as handmade cards or free altogether such as flowers you pick from the garden.

4. Acts of service

This person feels loved when certain things such as household chores are done for them.

If this is your partner's love language, then...

Do’s: Help out or do certain chores like doing the dishes or washing the car. If you’re not sure what to do, listen to their requests.

Don’ts: Tune out their ‘nagging’ and make constant promises to get to it later. It’s alright to be busy, but communicate with them and figure out a suitable time to help them with the task at hand and follow through.

5. Physical touch

This person feels loved when they are given physical affection.

If this is your partner's love language, then...

Do’s: Hug them regularly, hold hands, or simply sit close to them as you watch TV.

Don’ts: Dodge hugs that come your way or refuse to hold hands because it’s mushy.


So why do these love languages matter? Here’s an example, say A and B are partners. A’s love language is quality time and B’s love language is receiving gifts. As such, B may express his love by buying beautiful gifts for A. Though A appreciates this, her love tank (as Chapman calls it) could be a tad low because she yearns for quality time with B who is always busy with work. Interestingly, it’s possible for two people to care deeply for one another, but feel their emotional needs are not being met because they are speaking in different love languages.

Chapman's audiobook actually comes with a sort of quiz that you can take to identify your primary love language. My husband and I decided to take this quiz and the results were pretty much spot on. My husband’s love language is acts of service whereas I am what Chapman calls bilingual or in other words, I have two love languages namely, words of affirmation and receiving gifts. This made sense to me because I love presents and I also love hearing positive words of encouragement from those closest to me. I’m that girl who loves flowers and chocolates for Valentine’s Day and surprise trips for her birthday. As I’m typing this, it dawns on me that I might be a tad bit high maintenance, but oh well, what can you do?

Jokes aside, understanding our love languages taught us to appreciate each other more and how to express our love in a way the other understands. I began to see that doing the dishes and folding the laundry were my husband’s way of expressing his love. I also began to appreciate his efforts to give me gifts; receiving gifts isn’t his primary love language and it may not come very naturally to him, but he tries knowing that it’s important to me. I’ve also started cooking more meals at home as a way to express my love. My husband appreciates this act of service and often gets excited about home-cooked food.

Doing a quiz, just as we did, could help you discover your partner’s love language. The quiz we took came as an attachment to the audiobook, but Chapman does have a website where he offers the quiz online (click here to take the quiz). I think this is useful for couples or even friends who wish to understand each other a little better; words of encouragement from friends make me feel loved too and some of the best gifts and memories I have are courtesy of amazing friends.

I hope you find this little summary of Chapman’s work useful. In essence, what I learned from him is this: it’s easy to fall in love, but it takes effort and understanding to stay in love. We all have different needs and expectations, and sometimes, we don’t quite know how to communicate that to others. So why not give this quiz a try and see what you learn about not only your partner, but also yourself. I figure if words of affirmation is my love language, then a crucial step to self-love is to remind that voice in my head to be kinder to me and repeat positive affirmations in areas in which I’m most critical of myself.

So explore, learn, and love.


Hi there!

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Hi, I’m Vidhya. I’m a freelance writer and millennial who often struggles with adulthood.

Join me as I explore all things adulting!

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