Love Languages

#contentology #lovelanguages

Gary Chapman has written a number of books including The 5 Love
Languages, indicating he believes that humans have different ways of
expressing and receiving love from our partners and those we care
about. He’s gone on to write about these love languages and how they
can be utilised with our children and family members, not just our
romantic partner.
He indicated that for each of us, we can feel more ‘loved’ when it is
‘spoken’ to us in the manner that we value the most.

The 5 kinds he described are:
Words of Affirmation-when people use words and praise, you feel
Acts of Service-when people do things for you, you feel valued and
Receiving Gifts-when people buy things for you, you feel loved and
Quality Time-when people spend time with you, you feel valued
Physical Touch-and when you experience touch from another, you feel
loved and valued.
However looking at these closer, it is clear that while we may have a
preference along these at different time, the purpose behind
understanding this is so that we begin to learn to understand our
partner or children’s language better, so we can become better at understanding them and adjusting our behaviour so that our actions are
aligned and in tune with them (not so that we find a partner or expect
others to necessarily learn our ‘language’.)
While these love languages seem to have a simple solution for
‘matching’ with others, it is really just the beginning of understanding
relationship styles and does not predict that a match in this regard will
produce more positive or long-lasting relationship satisfaction.
On the other hand John and Julie Gottman have been researching
relationships for decades and their model is about having layers of
relationships, with the foundation is built of developing a ‘love map’ of
your partner and their internal world. After this foundation is laid then
the further layers can be built upon. And core indicators of success in a
relationship will be around the habits for bidding for attention and how
conflict is managed. (The Gottman Institute is also responsible for the
research around emotion coaching parenting style and how we develop
more emotionally resilient children!)
So no matter what our preferences for expressions of care (and in fact
quality time is something that all successful relationships require), the
point is how to we learn about and respond to the needs of those
around us, rather than expecting that it will occur the other way around.

Published by Kate French

Clinical Psychologist; expertise in autism and child and family psychology.

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