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The 5 Love Languages & How to Apply Them

Updated on March 24, 2013
"I Love You" in American Sign Language
"I Love You" in American Sign Language | Source

Everyone has relationships. We have friends, family, co-workers and significant others. Typically, the biggest factor in these relationships failing is communication. This is because you can't communicate if you are speaking different languages. Everyone has a different love language and all human beings want to feel loved. So, to have the best communication you can with the people you interact with, you need to learn the 5 love languages and how to use them with different people. I'm not saying you need to love your co-workers or the strange guy from down the street. But, applying the principals of the 5 love languages will help you improve any kind of relationship and not just the one you have with your spouse of significant other.

This article is my application of the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

What is your primary love language?

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Love Languages Test

If you want to know what your love language is, you can take the test at the 5 Love Languages website. There is a specific test for husbands, wives, children between 5 and 8, children between 9 and 12 and teenagers.

It is important to note that you can have more than one love language. This is the case when there are two love languages that are very important to you. The most important one is called your primary love language and the next is called your secondary love language.

Deciding Others' Love Languages

If you are trying to determine another person's love language, the easiest way is to get them to take the test themselves. If that doesn't work, you can attempt to determine this for yourself. In doing so, you need to ask yourself three questions.

  1. How does this person show other people that they care? Most people show love in the way that they wish to be loved. Is this person always buying you presents, telling you how nice you look or helping you with projects?
  2. What does this person complain about the most? You never hang out with them, you don't cuddle enough, etc.
  3. What does this person request from you the most? Favors, doing something together, a massage?

Put the answers to these three questions together and figure out if there is a common theme. If so, you have just figured out that person's love language.

An example of putting words of affirmation to work. I left a note in my hubby's shoe. He found it in the morning while I was asleep. I woke up to find a reply note on my laptop.
An example of putting words of affirmation to work. I left a note in my hubby's shoe. He found it in the morning while I was asleep. I woke up to find a reply note on my laptop. | Source

Words of Affirmation

This love language uses the ears as the primary way of receiving love. These people need to hear you affirm or validate them through words. Words of affirmation lovers need you to compliment them, talk to them and praise them. Words are important!

Use the following ideas to communicate your love and appreciation towards those whose primary love language is Words of Affirmation:

  • Thank them when they do something for you. ex. "Thank you for dropping that letter off with Jane for me"
  • Tell them you love them
  • Compliment their clothing, hair, purse, etc. ex. "Your hair looks so cute curly"
  • Tell them when they do something that you appreciate. ex. "I appreciate you taking out the trash for me"
  • Tell them you believe in them. ex. "I know you will do well on that test"
  • Encourage them. ex. "You can do it"
  • Leave little love notes for your significant other
  • Write your loved ones a letter

Perfect example of an act of service. This man would have just made me feel loved, i hate dishes!
Perfect example of an act of service. This man would have just made me feel loved, i hate dishes! | Source

Acts of Service

If you have ever heard the phrase "actions speak louder than words", that is what the acts of service love language is all about. The person whose love language is acts of service doesn't really care how many times you tell them you love them. They need to be shown, not told, that you love or care for them.

Use the following ideas to communicate your love and appreciation towards those whose primary love language is Acts of Service:

  • Take out the trash
  • Clean the house
  • Wash their car
  • Bring them their favorite coffee
  • Ask your spouse for a "Honey Do List" and complete everything on it
  • Cook them their favorite meal and invite them over for dinner
  • Organize and clean the office before they get to work

Recieving Gifts Love Language
Recieving Gifts Love Language | Source

Recieving Gifts

So, your kids, wife, husband, sister or friend are constantly asking your for material objects or hinting at the fact that they want them? Chances are, they might not just best be a gold digger or greedy. They could just looking for evidence that you care and love them. Receiving gifts is the love language where a person feels most loved when they receive gifts.

Use the following ideas to communicate your love and appreciation towards those whose primary love language is Receiving Gifts:

  • Don't forget any holidays, even if the gift you get is small and inexpensive, get them some for of gift for their birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.
  • Don't look for the most expensive gift, look for the one that is going to be special to that person
  • Get them a gift "just because". ex. Their favorite candy is Reese's, so you pick one up on the way home from work because you were thinking of them.
  • Make something for them like a candle, picture frame, or any kind of craft. I learned how to cross-stitch one year just to make my mom something and she adored it!
  • Donate to a charity that the person supports and let them know you did it in their name


Spending quality time at our daughter's first birthday party.
Spending quality time at our daughter's first birthday party. | Source

Quality Time

The quality time love language focuses on just that: quality time. Those with this love language crave your undivided attention. This does not mean you need to be attached at the hip to show that you care. It simply means that you need to not only be in the same room as the person, but also interacting with them.

Use the following ideas to communicate your love and appreciation towards those whose primary love language is Quality Time:

  • Make eye contact with the person you are talking to
  • Do not interrupt the person when they are talking
  • Make a specific time that is just for that person. ex. Agree to meet your best friend for coffee every Saturday morning at 9.
  • Find something you both enjoy doing and make a point to do it together
  • Go for a walk together and just talk
  • Surprise your significant other, friend or family member at work and have lunch together

Physical Touch Love Language
Physical Touch Love Language | Source

Physical Touch

This love language uses a variety of different touches to convey love and appreciation. These people tend to hug their loved ones often.

Use the following ideas to communicate your love and appreciation towards those whose primary love language is Physical Touch:

  • Hug or kiss them when you see them and when you leave
  • Put your hand on their shoulder or arm when you are talking to them
  • Hold your significant others' hand when you are walking in public or sitting next to each other
  • Give them a massage after a long day at work
  • Make time to "get intimate" with each other. You can even schedule it on your calendar if you are both busy. Trust me, they will count down until this day
  • Take a nice long bubble bath together and bathe each other

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    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 13 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      This article has given me some great ideas on how to show my husband how much I love him, in his language.

      Thanks for writing.

      Namaste

    • profile image

      Anonymous 3 years ago

      ~~~ LORD loves you ~~~ JESUS saved and healed me from drugs ~~~ May the LORD bless you and keep you ~ May the LORD smile down on you and show you his kindness ~ May the LORD answer your prayers and give you peace ~~~ Glory to LORD JESUS ~~~

    • Learning in Life profile image
      Author

      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      I agree Julie. In my first marriage, our paster gave us the book to read before we got married. Neither of us read it. Fast forward to 9 months into the marriage and divorce papers were being filed. I then decided to read the book and any guy I dated after that. I am now coming up on my 2 year anniversary with my current husband. lol

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      The 5 love languages was so helpful to my husband and I when we first got married. His was quality time and mine was acts of service so you can see where the problems came in. LOL