A friend tells you that she is going to end her relationship, because her partner “doesn’t treat her like she should. This is that friend of yours whose partner keeps taking her on a trip despite the fact that she makes little money.You are jealous of the photos that are uploaded to her facebook, because you like to travel a lot; you haven’t even been to the Alhambra in Granada with your boyfriend yet.

Your friend, however, is jealous of your relationship, since your boyfriend is a hopeless romantic, and according to you: “a cloying man who talks a lot but does not do much”; from what you translate, he will not love you as much.

The 5 Languages of Love

Often, in the private sphere, people comment on the various problems we experience as a couple . Some problems are more perceptible (such as discussions in decision-making, individual hobbies not shared, etc.) than others, which go more unnoticed. This is the case of the type of problem we are going to explain below.

The 5 Languages of Love: Modal preferences for showing and receiving love

According to Chapman (2009), there are 5 love languages . These can be very important for the relationship to improve substantially, not only as a couple, but also between friends, colleagues or family. Chapman emphasizes that each person tends to express his or her love and prefers to receive it in concrete ways. It is interesting to know what are the types of love that exist . You can consult it at:

“Types of love: what different kinds of love are there?”

The five modes or languages of love are explained below:

1. Words

We express affection by verbalizing words of encouragement, support, affection, congratulations, praise, kindness, or humility towards another. These are words that are sometimes said without thinking and cause a very positive effect on the other person; increasing their self-esteem, security, and well-being. “Almost all of us remember fleeting words that… marked our lives.

It is recommended to use direct, simple and forceful sentences: “I love you so much, really”; “I love it when you explain things so well”. But above all, it is important that it is credible for the person who receives it and for this it is indispensable that the person who transmits it really feels it (body expression, appropriate context).

2. Quality time

We live in the society of rushes that, together with the false needs created by the market (to have the best car, trip, house, etc.) makes us forget what really means the quality time . Sharing quality time is not so much the act (a good dinner in an expensive restaurant), but the enjoyment of it by sharing it with our loved ones; listening and being listened to, without rushing or other distractions. There is no other objective for the person, but to share that time with the person who wants it.

3. Gifts

The meaning of the gift seems to have lost value in a consumerist society: “The more gifts and the more expensive the better”, the latter tells us, regardless of their need or usefulness. But many of you will agree that there are gifts that express a lot of love and affection for being made by the person themselves or bought with effort.

That is why, for some people, this kind of gift symbolizes a very beautiful expression of love; the one who gives it has spent time striving and thinking about it. On the other hand, whoever is working on making or obtaining that gift, enjoys it from the moment he has the idea, until after he has given the gift to the other, without expecting more than his smile .

4. Acts of service

Trying to please the person by serving them or doing them favours is rewarding for certain people. Cooking, cleaning, fixing things, taking care of the heaviest tasks or going to faraway places are acts that are done thoroughly and with a smile on their face, without expecting a return of the favor or an immediate compensatory response. “It is not a necessity or an obligation, but something that is done generously to help the other.

5. Physical contact

It is the simplest and most direct form of communication. Hugging, kissing, caressing, touching, having sex; these are ways of transmitting and receiving love from the partner. For some people physical contact is their main language, they feel safe and happy through it; and without it they do not feel loved. “It can produce or break a relationship. It can communicate hate or love.

Sharing the way of love

It is common for a couple to come to the clinic without receiving any signs of love from the other (Punset, 2010). Knowing, identifying and sharing the different ways of loving is a great help; it gives us a plus for communication as a couple. Obviously, there are multiple strategies and tasks to improve relationships, as the field of Couple’s Therapy is very broad. The 5 languages of love is one of them. Once visualized they may seem obvious, but if we think for a moment, we rarely tell the other person which one we prefer. Nobody is a fortune teller, and forgetting that the other person knows is a very common mistake between couples.

Each person has preferences for manifesting one or more types of language that may or may not coincide with the reception preference. If they do not show love to us through our language of preference, we may not feel loved (Punset; 2010). So, to make these concepts useful, I propose to meditate on them and to discuss them with your partner, friends, colleagues or family (because it can also be a useful tool for our close ones):

  1. Knowing the 5 languages of love : Physical contact; Quality time; Gifts; Acts of service; and Words. (Explained above).
  2. Identify them in ourselves : What is the way I prefer to receive love ? And what is the form in which I prefer or usually express affection ? It may be difficult to answer these questions, as well as to identify only one (there may be two). To do this, we must remember the intensity and duration of the emotion we feel when we receive the different signs of affection, and the ease or frequency with which we perform these.
  3. Share them : Once identified it will be useful when you expose them to your partner; if he has any doubt at the time you solve it (the more specified the better, remember that nothing should be taken for granted); and that the other party also exposes his preferences to you.
  4. Put them into practice . This section seems easy, but it can go wrong. So you have to be patient. Each person develops in a context and gets used to it (families where hugging is a daily ritual vs. families where the components never hug). What we see as normal is not so normal for others and changing habits sometimes costs a lot. Therefore, we must have patience during the change; positively reinforce the effort of the other when he/she performs the desired act; and if he/she is ignoring or not performing it as we wish, explain it to him/her again (in a different way, through examples, etc).

Finally, we should reflect that every healthy person has the capacity to express the five types of love , and that to a greater or lesser extent we express all or almost all of them.Elsa Punset (2010) defends in her book that: “if we accustom our children to give and receive love from all languages, tomorrow they will be able to communicate freely in all of them”.

Bibliographic references:

  • Chapman, G. (2009). The five languages of love . LifeWay English.
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  • Punset, E. (2010). Compass for emotional navigators . Aguilar.
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