Love Languages

Additional Information for Chapter 3, page 37

In The Compatibility Code we urge you to purchase Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. As we consider what additional material we should include about love languages an obvious question emerges. Why try to duplicate what Chapman has already done very well? The eventual answer is simple: We won’t try.

What we include here is a duplicate from The Compatibility Code (in case you have access to our website but not to the book). If you want more detail, buy Chapman’s book!

In Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, one of the most useful relationship books in print. He suggests that we speak different languages when expressing love to one another. The basis of the book’s idea is that there is a great deal of marital discord because we attempt to express love to our partner but find ourselves speaking a different language than what our spouse understands. In this context, great effort to express love may not be received or appreciated by the recipient of those efforts. I will list and briefly describe the five languages here, but treat yourself to the much more in depth picture that Chapman paints. It is one of our absolute favorite books and we highly recommend it. Remember, if you put these principals into place in your dating relationship, you’ll be ready and much more able to use them when you’re married.

Listing and Description of The Five Love Languages

Here they are:

Words of Affirmation: For many, words of encouragement, expressions of gratitude, and heartfelt complements go a long way toward helping one’s partner feel loved. As you come to know your partner better, it will become increasingly evident which words pack the highest voltage. For one, complementing how your partner looks may carry great weight, for another expressing appreciation for their actions (“Thanks for taking out the garbage!”), encouragement for their projects (“I know your presentation will be terrific!”), or uttering words of kindness (“I love the way you care for the children”) may touch them more deeply.

Quality Time: How many stories are told of one partner spending so much time pursuing his or her career that little time is spent together and the relationship withers and often dies? All the gifts or verbal compliments in the world cannot make up for the absence of the relationship due to such neglect. If you both operate on a tight timetable, then schedule times to be together and make sure those times are systematically honored. Further, realize that spending time together may require more than passive involvement such as watching TV or a movie. While some passive time together may be important, quality conversations or romantic getaways are almost always an important component of quality time.

Receiving Gifts: Chapman points out that practically all cultures use gift-giving as an important way of expressing love. Gifts are often actual objects that one can look at years later and remember not so much the gift as the love that inspired the gift. However, gifts that express love, but do not last, may be equally important. We know this as women because we like to receive (as well as give) flowers. But, don’t think for a minute that your special guy wouldn’t like to get flowers too sometimes. I remember one year when I surprised Darren on his birthday by walking into his university lecture with a long stemmed red rose and a big block of his favorite cheese. He’s talked about it ever since. Whatever you choose to give, make sure that it speaks his language, not yours and also make sure that you’re not giving presents in lieu of something else. One tragedy of gift giving is when our beloved is hungry for something else-physical touch or words of affirmation, for instance-and we’ve given an expensive gift as a substitute or out of guilt for not providing emotional needs.

Acts of Service: Clean the house, cook the meals, take out the garbage, wash the car, fix the toilet, change the diapers, help with an assignment-the list is endless. For those who value this language, such acts may be a powerful expression of love. The practical behaviors that make another’s life easier contribute to the dynamics of a loving relationship. As with gifts, do be careful that the acts are done from the heart. If you do them because you fear the consequences of not doing them, then it becomes something other than the expression of a love language.

Physical Touch: It is the rare individual for whom physical touch is not important to the nurturing of an excellent relationship. Touch can, of course, cover the entire spectrum from linking pinkie fingers to sexual intimacy. There is huge variation from person to person on which type of touch communicates love most effectively. It may be frequent embraces, rubbing shoulders or running fingers through hair, playing footsies under the table, nesting in front of a cozy fire, or a wide array of sexual activities. Perhaps more so than in other areas it is important to determine which type of touch brings your partner greatest pleasure; once you know what that is, then provide it in abundance.

Now that your interest is piqued, go buy the book. The link is under the reference icon in this chapter.

Additional Resources

A quiz to help find your love language:

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