There are few people who haven’t heard of The Five Love Languages. It has been an international bestseller, since its original publication in 1992. As a relationship counselor and coach, I have become passionate about assisting couples with the development of relationship-enhancement skills and communication skills. The Five Love Languages has always been one of my primary teaching and intervention tools. I even encourage people who are not involved in romantic relationships to read the book, because all intimate relationships are not romantic ones; an intimate relationship simply means that we are closely acquainted with someone, or very familiar with them. That could mean a cousin who grew up with you , or a coworker that has worked with you for 15 years. At any rate, everyone has a primary love language regardless of whether or not the person is in a romantic relationship.
The author’s purpose in writing the book was because after 30 years of marriage counseling he believed that people speak and understand love in five primary ways: Words Of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Receiving Gifts. He also realized that in a relationship, the individuals rarely speak the same love language...confusion occurs when one person repeatedly expresses love, but the other person receives it as a foreign language. Herein lies the miscommunication.
When we assume that others know what we are thinking, and what we expect of them, we do them a real disservice. We assume, we blame, we become angry and resentful when things don't go the way we expected, and we realize that our needs have gone unmet.
I won’t go into detail describing all of the love languages because I’m recommending that you read the book... but I will give a sneak peek of examples:
Words of Affirmation
“I really appreciate it when you help me keep the house picked up.”
“Thank you...I really feel like I can count on you.”
“You look great in that color!”
“I’m here to listen to you.”
Having quality conversation
Ask significant other for a list of activities he/she would enjoy doing with you
Plan a date night for the two of you
Think of something that your significant other really enjoys but you don’t; say that you want to expand your horizons
Keep a list of gift ideas handy
Enlist a personal shopper
Listen to thing in conversation (of which your significant other shows interest)
Give “little” gifts frequently
Acts of Service
Take the initiative with tasks that need to be done (don’t wait to be asked)
If you have more money than time, hire a cleaning service a few times a month
Ask your significant other for a list of things that he/she really wants done and add these things to your schedule immediately
Any non-sexual touching
The author even has love language assessments in the book (it’s also online). I always ask people to take the quiz before reading the book...it gives puts them in a frame of mind for personal growth, and provides some incentive to further explore the love languages of others.
When I joined the Sexology Institute team as a relationship coach and counselor, I was delighted to discover that The Five Love Languages is used as a relationship-building tool there also! The Institute has the book in supply, and Dr. Melissa Jones often recommends it to couples as part of their intimacy development.
If you are thinking about some pre-marital coaching or counseling, or if you just want to enhance the relationship skills you already have, check us out.