The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate
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Published: 1/1/2015
In the #1 New York Times bestselling book The 5 Love Languages, you'll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman's proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner-starting today.

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

Key Insights

There are a million different things that make people feel loved.

But, all of these things can be categorized into five long languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

In order to make your relationship as strong as possible, Gary Chapman, in his book, “The Five Long Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts,” explains how by knowing your partner’s love language or love languages, you will be able to satisfy them on a deeper level.

“For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships. Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardships our lot in life.”― Gary Chapman

We don’t all speak the same language, and the same goes for our love languages. So dive into Chapman’s insights to learn how to please your partner and create a stronger bond.

Key Points

  • After the Wedding

Oftentimes, couples meet, fall in love quickly, leap into marriage, and have their love fade as quickly as it started.

And, couples who experience this are often at a loss of what to do. As much as they try to please their partners, they are unable to. But, why is that?

“What we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage.”― Gary Chapman

It’s simple, the partners are not speaking the same love language.

If you are not speaking the love language that your partner responds to, then the love you felt at the beginning will inevitably burn out.

Partners who do not feel the love from their partner will end up feeling resentful, start arguments, and want to cut ties.

The only way to save a relationship is to make sure you are speaking the same love language.

  • Make Sure Your Partner Always Feels Loved

Chapman calls the love your relationship holds a ‘love tank’ and he argues that a love tank should be full, not empty, just like the gas tank in your car.

The love tank is where all the memories of love are held. And, just like a gas tank if you start to run on empty during a toxic or bumpy time in a relationship, you are essentially running on fumes.

Oftentimes, in long-term relationships love tanks start to deplete. The initial spark of love begins to fade and partners are at a loss of what to do. This is where people become complacent.

It’s usually not the case of a partner not feeling love toward their significant other. But, rather them not knowing how to show it in a language their significant other understands.

For example, to show your love maybe you are spending time with them watching TV after breakfast on a Sunday, when really doing the dishes after the meal would show that you love and appreciate them.

If you learn your partner’s love language or love languages, you will be able to keep each other’s love tanks full.

  • Falling In Love

When you fall in love, you tend not to think rationally. You fall hard for the image of a person, regardless of deeper things such as emotional stability and financial income.

But, what happens when those issues come to light and you are forced to face them?

One of the biggest factors of a failed relationship is a partner’s lack of motivation. Partners who have no sense of purpose become unattractive to their significant other because it’s a frustrating issue to deal with.

Partners with unmotivated significant others often feel disappointed. The perfect image of their significant other quickly declines and they are stumped at how to move forward.

A study by psychologist Dr. Dorothy Tenner discovered the initial feelings of love lasts approximately two years. After two years, the feeling of love begins to decrease.

So if that’s true, how are people staying married for 30, 40, or 50 years?

To be frank, in order to love, you must understand that love is more than giggles, kisses, and romantic evenings.

Love requires a great deal of commitment, loyalty, dedication, and most importantly, time.

By understanding the five love languages, you will be easier able to navigate your love life in order to make it successful.

  • Words of Affirmation

Feeling loved, appreciated, and understood when your partner compliments or encourages you is a sign that your love language is words of affirmation.

Words of affirmation can range from an “I love you” to “you’re beautiful” to a simple “how was your day?” There are no rules for what is said as long as it is said with love and kindness.

“Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouse's perspective. We must first learn what is important to our spouse. Only then can we give encouragement. With verbal encouragement, we are trying to communicate, "I know. I care. I am with you. How can I help?" We are trying to show that we believe in him and in his abilities. We are giving credit and praise.”― Gary Chapman

It is also important to talk to others about your partner using words of affirmation. Talking about your partner’s accomplishments or about them in a kind way will make your partner feel loved and appreciated if they speak this love language.

  • Quality Time

It’s true that we only have a limited amount of time each day. And when we don’t use it wisely, we consider it wasted.

In our modern-day world, we often waste time by spending it on social media, scrolling through our feeds or watching endless amounts of TV.

So, it’s not uncommon for us to occasionally forget the person who needs our attention the most: our partner.

People who speak the love language of quality time feel love the most when they are spending quality time with their partners. This is time uninterrupted by social media, TV, or other distractions.

Partners who enjoy quality time with their partners tend to enjoy road trips and vacations, game nights, and dates out on the town with their significant others.

Quality time must include self-expression too. Quality time that is spent without conversation does not allow your partner to share their feelings with you. Make sure every quality time session is interactive and full of conversation.

“Recent research has indicated that the average individual listens for only seventeen seconds before interrupting and interjecting his own ideas.”― Gary Chapman

  • Receiving Gifts

If your partner’s idea of feeling the love is through receiving gifts, you may be worried about the status of your bank account. But the truth is, you don’t have to be!

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘it’s the thought that counts.’ And nothing could be truer in regards to this love language.

Gift-giving doesn’t have to be expensive. But it does need to be sentimental and meaningful.

Flowers are a great gift-giving surprise because they are often given unexpectedly and are a reminder of the love you share with your partner.

Gifts that shed light on specific memories or dates, such as anniversaries, are also wonderful ideas.

“Gifts are visual symbols of love.”― Gary Chapman

Even your presence can be a gift for some! This is different from the love language of quality time because it doesn’t have to include the factor of conversation.

Your presence is especially important when your partner is going through a difficult time. Sometimes they just need the gift of you to feel ok at that tough time.

  • Acts of Service

Acts of service is a love language that is very popular in married life.

A lot of people feel love by having their significant others do things for them. And these don’t have to be big tasks! These are normally smaller tasks such as cooking dinner, taking out the garbage, changing the oil in your car, or picking your sister up from the airport.

People who speak this love language feel the most loved when their significant other helps to eliminate their workload and stress by helping out around the house and eliminating items off their to-do list.

However, if this is a love language you speak, you must be careful not to take advantage of your partner. To do this, be open to working outside your regular marriage roles and duties to perform tasks you normally wouldn’t perform to help out your partner too. They can’t do everything!

  • Physical Touch

Physical touch is important to many relationships. But it is not what you think. The art of physical touch is associated with all parts of the body.

Intercourse is, of course, a part of physical touch. But there so are kisses, hugs, and backrubs.

“When an action does not come naturally to you it is a greater expression of love.”― Gary Chapman

If you are not a fan of public displays of affection or PDA, you don’t have to worry. Physical touch does not need to include a passionate kiss in the park. A handhold or an arm around your partner will allow them to feel loved in public.

A hug before work or a kiss on the head before bed may be vital to a healthy relationship if your partner speaks the love language of physical touch.

It’s important to pay attention to how your partner reacts to your touch. That will allow you to see if physical touch is a love language they speak.

And physical touch has actually been proven to help babies have healthy emotions as they grow older. So it seems like all humans can benefit from a little physical closeness!

  • How to Discover Your Love Language

“No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse understands only Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other.”― Gary Chapman

There are three main questions that will help you discover your primary love language or love languages:

  • What do you always ask your partner for?

The answer could be anything from help with the household chores to a kiss before bed.

  • What does your partner do that hurts you?

The answer could be feeling ignored, not being intimate, or anything else that makes you feel sad.

  • What do you do to show your partner you love them?

Perhaps you hug them and squeeze them or maybe you send flowers to them at work.

  • Love Is A Choice

Love is something that is a choice. When the initial spark of love starts to burn out, you must choose to continue loving your partner.

When you learn your partner’s love language or love languages, you will be able to better navigate the relationship and make your love last. You must make sure that your significant other’s emotional needs are met.

Both partners need to be fully committed to expressing love through their partner’s love languages in order to have a satisfying relationship and be able to work through the bumps of marriage.

And to fix already toxic relationships, you must have an open discussion about the way you both feel loved in order to repair the damage.

“Can emotional love be reborn? You bet! The key is to learn the primary love language of your spouse and choose to speak it.”― Gary Chapman

Make sure to have monthly check-ins to see if implementing these love languages into your relationship is working to improve it.

The Main Take-Away

In the modern-day world, it is not uncommon for people to have multiple relationships, marriages, and divorces. That’s why now, more than ever, it is important for people to learn the five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. When a person knows their partner’s love language and can implement it into the relationship, it will make their partner feel loved and appreciated to help create a stronger and more understanding bond.

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