As a couples counsellor specializing in premarital counselling, I love talking about relationship resources and tools.
In previous weeks in this relationship series of videos, I spoke about communication, conflict resolution, and keeping the intimacy alive.
Please feel free to check those videos out if you haven’t already.
In upcoming weeks, I will be covering boundaries, adult attachment, how to manage struggles, and personality differences. In this vlog,
I will be talking about Love Languages.
In Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages,” he writes about:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
You can take the Love Languages test on Dr. Chapman’s website to find out what your primary and secondary love languages are:
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Chapman last year.
He came to do a talk at Tyndale University, and I was volunteering for the event.
He has such a kind soul, and I was grateful to learn from him for an entire day.
He has written many books, but in this vlog, I will be referring to his book, “The 5 Love Languages.”
It is helpful to know not only what your primary love language is, but also that of your partner, so that you can express love in a way that actually feels heard and meaningful.
In this way, you can fill each other’s love tanks.
In this vlog, I will go through each love language. Click here to watch my vlog on 5 Love Languages:
1. Words of Affirmation
- this means giving your partner compliments or words of appreciation.
They can be encouraging words, kind words, gentle words, words verbal or in writing, and even indirect words where you say positive things about your partner to other people.
For those whose primary language is Words of Affirmation, words are important.
This also means that negative words to them are extra hurtful, and so is being distracted or interrupting when they are trying to talk.
Try giving your partner one compliment every day!
Some examples of compliments from Dr. Chapman’s book are (p.37-38):
- “You look sharp in that suit.”
- “Do you ever look hot in that dress! Wow!”
- “I really like how you’re always on time to pick me up at work.”
- “Thanks for getting the babysitter lined up tonight. I want you to know I don’t take that for granted.”
- “I love how you are so responsible. I feel like I can count on you.”
2. Quality Time
- This is my primary love language.
I appreciate time together with loved ones.
That has made COVID time extra hard, but the use of video technology has made it easier, and physically distanced visits.
For couples, Quality Time entails spending intentional focused time on your partner.
You can refer to my video on Communication to practice an exercise on Active Listening.
This is being tuned in and attentive without distractions or interruptions.
Some examples from Dr. Chapman’s book are (p58, 68, 69 and 71):
- going away for a weekend together
- meet up for lunch just the two of you
- get a babysitter and go out for dinner
- sit and talk together at the end of the day
- go on a picnic as a family
- take a vacation together at least once a year
- go for walks together
- taking up a hobby together
- gardening together
- shopping together
- going to a concert together
- inviting another couple over for dinner
- go for a bike ride together
- workout together
3 - Receiving Gifts
- Gifts are visual symbols of love and it shows that the person thought of you and remembered you when they picked it out and shared it with you.
Gifts can be anything at all - an expensive wedding band as a symbol of your love, or a flower your child picked for you from the garden.
Sometimes it is also the gift of being present.
As Dr. Gottman writes, “Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts.
Your body becomes the symbol of your love” (p81).
Some other examples of gifts are (p87-88):
- box of candy
- flowers delivered
- stone or feather you saw along a walk
- handcrafted painting you did
- a book you know he/she has been meaning to read or has an interest in
- give to his/her favourite charity on his/her birthday
4. Acts of Service
- These are things that make you feel loved when your partner does for you, things that are helpful to you.
If this is your partner’s love language, then listen for requests for acts of service.
As Dr. Chapman puts it, “Why not decide to see the nag as a tag?” (p.105).
Pay attention to these nagging requests, as this is something that is important to your partner, and you would be showing him/her love by gladly following through on the request.
Some examples of Acts of Service
- doing the dishes
- weeding the garden
- organizing the office
- preparing coffee just how she/he likes it
- take the car for service
- prepare dinner
- do the laundry
- helping with a project
- helping with an item on the to-do list
5. Physical Touch
- This is my secondary love language.
This is one that was harder to meet the need of during COVID time.
You can send virtual hugs all you want, but it’s just not the same.
Hugging a loved one to the point of feeling your muscles relax and breathing a sigh of relief is so powerful.
Your body is then releasing cuddle hormones, oxytocin, that makes you feel safe and secure.
In Dr. Chapman’s words, your emotional love tank is then full.
Physical Touch is not just sex.
It can also include:
- holding hands
- foreplay without intention of intercourse
- giant hugs
- a touch on the shoulder
- a playful pat on the bottom
- playing footsies under the table
- putting your arm around your partner while watching a show
After going through the process of figuring out each other’s love language, it doesn’t mean to only focus on that and ignore the rest.
Even if the other languages are not your partners primary language, it doesn’t mean it won’t also be appreciated.
For example, if your partner’s love language is quality time, it doesn’t mean to only focus on that and ignore the rest.
It is nice to still add in a compliment, give a gift, hold hands and do something helpful for them.
You would have to use your discretion as to your partners needs at different points in time, so being in tune with them.
Hope this was helpful.
Let me know if there are any other relationship videos that might be useful to you.