The Five Love Languages

In episode 80 of the Happier podcast, Gretchen Rubin discussed Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages at length.  I'd heard of The Five Love Languages before, but it never piqued my interest because it sounded a little hoakey.  However, if there was someone to convince me otherwise, it's Gretchen.

But seriously.... the cover is cheesy.

But seriously.... the cover is cheesy.

The theory of The Five Love Languages is that each of us has a way in which we want to be loved and a way in which we feel the most loved.  In order to feel truly loved by your significant other, they need to show or tell you they love you through that "language" for it to resonate.  Often times someone will express their love for their partner using their own love language rather than that of their partner, which leads to each person not feeling as loved as they could be.  

The five love languages are the following:

  • words of affirmation
  • quality time
  • receiving gifts
  • acts of service
  • physical touch

For example, if I crave quality time (doing activities together where you have your partner's undivided attention) and give my partner a lot of it, he or she may still not feel loved if what they really need are words of affirmation (praise for housework, compliments about appearance, statements about how much you love them). 

I took the quiz a few months ago and persuaded Rob to do the same.  I had two love languages that tied: physical touch and quality time.  Quality time came as no surprise as Rob and I both feel the best about our relationship when we participate in activities together - mountain biking, running, watching a movie, even driving in the car and having an uninterrupted talk.  This has been particularly important since becoming parents, both of whom work outside the home.  Time together without Blythe is limited but very important for our relationship.  Physical touch, on the other hand, really surprised me -- for those of you who know me, I suspect I'm one of the least physical people you know.  I'm not a big hugger or toucher and nothing gives me more social anxiety that figuring out how to greet someone abroad (Two cheek kisses? Three? Do you actually kiss or just kiss the air near the cheek?  Do you hug?  Shake hands?).  But it is true that I highly value and need to be hugged, hold hands, and snuggle while reading or watching a show.  It was pretty insightful, as was learning what Rob's are. 

If you are curious what your love language is, you can take the quiz online.  I read the full book a few weeks ago and didn't feel that it offered additional insight other than examples (but the five languages are pretty self explanatory).  If you want to read more, this Science of Us article delves into the topic in even greater detail.  

Has anyone else taken the quiz and/or read the book?  I'd love to know what you thought.


Images credit to The Five Love Languages.