Nicky de Koning

Learning the Languages of Love [+Vlog]

Do you know how you express your love? And how you need to be loved?

This past week or so, I have picked up the habit of listening to an audiobook about 20-30min each morning while preparing myself for the day. So. Good. This past week, I listened to a book which I’d been wanting to read for ages: the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book is such an eye- and heart-opener, which is why I’ve chosen to share about it in this week’s blog article and the video below.

The Five Love Languages                       

In the book, Gary Chapman, describes how we all have our preferred ‘love language’, a unique way in which we are most ‘effectively’ loved. When we are loved in this way, we flower, we feel alive, we thrive… because our ‘love tanks’ are filled.

Author and counsellor Gary Chapman states that we all have a primary love language, in other words, a way in which love is best received. When someone expresses their love to us this way, our love tank get filled and love blossoms between the two of you. When both individuals speak different love languages though, it can create many miscommunications and difficulties in relationships.

The book focuses on marriage, because the author observed that once a couple got  got married or beyond the ‘in love’ stage, that’s when trouble in paradise would often arise. But it may as well be for any type of meaningful connection that you have in your life. Because as you grow closer to another person, you inevitably start seeing things that weren’t visible from a distance. You then have the choice to communicate about it, or distance yourself again. Each time you choose to communicate, it’s as though you sink a level deeper in the connection and both persons, as well as the relationship grow deeper, instead of growing apart.

So what are the five love languages? The author and experienced counselor Gary Chapman, has defined the following five expressions of love:

5 love languages

Below is a summary of all five love languages, ending with ways to discover your own.

Love Language #1 – Words of Affirmation            

You know that feeling when you receive a compliment from someone you love, right? It can make you feel approved, appreciated, attractive, as well as warm and fuzzy on the inside. “One kind word can change someone’s entire day”.

Words are powerful, and even more so when your loved one’s primary love language is ‘Words of Affirmation’. Being aware of this, you now have the key that unlocks the heart of the other person. With this key in your hand though, also comes a sense of responsibility, because those who have this primary love language are most deeply hurt by words of criticism, anger or lack of encouragement.

That said, you can get started with a sincere compliment, expressing your appreciation for something they did or who they are, simply saying that you are grateful to have them in your life… You might find that often you already think these things inside of your head, but do you actually express them? This can make all the difference.

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Love Language #2 – Acts of Service                  

Did you ever think about simple activities, such as doing the dishes, taking out the trash, cooking dinner or doing the laundry, as expressions of love? Well, for the person whose primary love language is ‘Acts of Service’ these are some of the most heart-warming things you could do.

The native speaker of this love language feels most loved when you actually do things for them. You can say you love them in all ways you can think of, and it’s beautiful, but it just doesn’t bring the message across as strongly as when you actually do something for them.

Love Language #3 – Receiving Gifts                  

The third Love Language is about receiving gifts. And no worries, if this is your primary love language it doesn’t mean that you are superficial! It just means that you get excited and feel loved by the idea of someone thinking of you throughout the day and actually making the effort to express that with a gift. You can feel the love that is shared behind the gift, and this fills up your love tank.

The way to communicate your love with someone who has this primary love language, is as you might think, by regularly giving this person a gift. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, it could even be hand-made or free. Whether you buy a piece of jewellery or pick up flowers or bring a shell from the beach, it’s the thought behind it that counts.

Love Language #4 – Quality Time                     

This love language is all about expressing your love by spending time with someone. And not just sitting next to each other and staring at a screen (whether it’s your phone or the TV) which can be cosy as well, but this is about being really present with the other person. No phones, no other people, no distractions or worries about work.

At times this may mean going somewhere together, whether it’s a (road) trip or a dinner at a restaurant, the important thing is to be fully present with the other person, for instance by asking eachother questions and really listening to the answers.

There is this video that tells the heart-touching story of a little boy and his father (I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil the plot, but I can say it has me in tears ever single time)

Love Language #5 – Physical Touch                

Most of us know about the importance of physical touch, it creates all sorts of positive emotions and hormones, and as babies we actually need physical contact in order to survive. We all know how a hug can say ‘I care about you’ or ‘I love you’ more than anything else.

When it comes to those individuals whose love language is physical touch, these effects are meaningfully multiplied. You can literally see these persons flower and come alive as they are loved in this way.

There are so many different types of touch, such as a hug, a hand on someone’s shoulder, a gentle neck massage, holding someone’s hand. They may seem casual to some, but to natives of this love language, it communicates love more than a thousand words could.

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Becoming Fluent In the Language of Love                            

Learning the language of your romantic partner, or basically any (loved) one that you regularly connect with, is one of the most mutually fulfilling tasks that you can undertake.

Similar to learning a foreign language, as your skills start to improve, you finally feel that you are able to communicate on a deeper level, you experience a sense of belonging and you create genuine connection. The person whose language you are learning on the other hand feels as though they matter to you, they feel understood and loved.

Listening to this book, I wish I would have known about this before! It clarifies how on the surface misunderstandings arise, even though underneath it all you feel deep love. You have been feeling unloved when it turns out that the other person was simply speaking a love language or dialect that you didn’t understand and thus didn’t interpret as love.

But thankfully there is divine timing and “it’s never too late to change your luck”. If you believe in that too, I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the love languages, and perhaps even reading the book if you choose to do so. It’s love-changing for sure.

“The best thing we can do with the failures of the past is to let them be history”
-Gary Chapman

How About You?                                       

How has reading this blog article made you feel? Did you get any insights about your own love language or that of a loved one? If you want to dive deeper, you can take the free test on the official website: www.5lovelanguages.com. And if you want inspiration on ways to express your love in the different languages, see this chart below:

                           Your Next Step In Love                             

Now that you are more aware of your primary love language and perhaps also that of an important person in your life. How can you put this knowledge into practice? It can also be to simply watch the accompanying video above.

It would be great to hear your first step in the comments below, and as always, sending you much love.