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The Five Love Languages: Finding Your Language

The Five Love Languages: Finding Your Language

Posted on April 24th, 2017 by Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C

Okay, so, we’ve talked a lot about the different Love Languages. But how do you know which is yours? Below we’ll discuss a couple of ways you can try to determine which language fits you best. You and your partner can both try to figure out for yourselves, and for each other, what your love languages are and share your answers with each other.

1. It’s obvious

Sometimes, one of the Languages just jumps out at you.  You read about it (see our above posts) and it really resonates with you; you know that’s YOU.  If so, consider yourself lucky, and pass the info on to your significant other so s/he can use it to his/her advantage!

2. Which one speaks to you most?

If it’s not immediately obvious to you, spend some time thinking.  When do you feel most loved and cared for?  What does your partner do that really makes you feel connected? What have other people in your life done that made you feel connected to them? The concept of the Five Love Languages applies just as well to familial and platonic relationships as it does to romantic ones. What did your mom do when you were a kid that you particularly remember as a gesture of love? Was it a gift she gave you?  Something she said? Perhaps just a hug?

Consider also theoretical examples from each of the Languages.  What do you really want from your partner? Would it ring your bell if she gave you a handmade gift? Or not so much? Maybe receiving a genuine compliment would be meaningful to you; or maybe you feel “talk is cheap.”  Look through some of the examples we’ve given of different applications of the love languages and see if you can discern which of them resonates most with you.

3. What do you feel you’re missing?

Sometimes it can be helpful to look at the converse – what do you not have that you feel you are missing?  If you are feeling deprived of physical closeness, that’s a hint that you might be a Physical Touch person. If you consistently find yourself wishing for more help around the house, maybe your Language is Acts of Service. What do you feel you’re missing?

Another way to look at this is to think about what you complain about in your relationship. (This is often a good way to think about your partner’s Love Language – what does s/he complain to you about most regarding your relationship?) “We never go out anymore” is a common saying in the Language of Quality Time.  A spouse who repeatedly asks things like “how do I look?” and “what do you think of my dress/project/cleanup job?” is probably a speaker of Words of Affirmation.  Pay attention to these cues and see where they lead you.

4. What hurts you the most?

To some people, failing to get a birthday gift is a serious offense; to others, it doesn’t much matter either way.  Some people can go for extended periods without sexual contact while others start feeling distant after a few days of celibacy.  Is there something in your relationship that you find especially hurtful?  Are your partner’s criticisms daggers in your heart or minor infractions?  Are missed date nights subject to makeup dates or do they feel to you like a message of rejection?  If there is a consistent pattern to the hurts you’ve experienced in your relationship, that can point you to finding the Love Language that needs the most focus in your relationship.

5. Take the quiz

For those of you that are test-takers, the Five Love Languages website has a quiz you can take to determine which Love Language most fits you. If you can’t get a handle on what your preferences are, it may not help all that much, but it can certainly help organize and prioritize your thoughts on the matter.  And it’s free, so there’s nothing to lose!

You might ask, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on figuring out what my partner’s language is more than my own?  Certainly one aspect of this is knowing how to best convey your love to your partner. But it is also crucial to know your own language. First of all, this is because no matter how well your partner knows you, only you are inside your own head and only you can tell whether something really feels loving to you.

Secondly, you need to be able to know if you are getting what you need. If you don’t know what your love language is, it’s hard for you to communicate to your needs to your partner – and you’re the only one who can do that. If you’re missing something in your relationship, it is much harder for your partner to figure out what that is if you don’t know yourself.

Determining what your Love Language is and what your partner’s is can be a big help in moving your relationship forward and turning it into a loving, fulfilling part of your life.  If you’d like to discuss further how the Five Love Languages can help you in your relationship or how you can improve your relationship in general, please be in touch!

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