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Dona Caine-Francis offers a variety of articles related to anxiety and sex therapy, couples and marriage counseling, and medication management to help individuals nurture their emotional and sexual health. 

  • Writer's pictureDona Caine-Francis

The Five Love Languages

Updated: Aug 23, 2018

Dr. Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages is a sure way to enhance your relationship and move you beyond relationship blahs...

The five love languages

To be effective communicators in our relationships we must be willing to learn our partner's "love languages". Love language refers to the manner we speak to express emotional love. Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages believes these languages are distinct and important to each person to maintain the relationships' well-being.

Many couples begin their relationships talking, sharing, and communicating their love effectively. Being "in love" is that period of obsession when we long to be together, hold hands, kiss forever, can't bear to think of being apart. Dr. Dorothy Tennov, a psychologist, who has extensive research in the "in love phenomena", believes the average life span of a romantic obsession is two years. Eventually, however, we all descend from the clouds and plant our feet on earth again. Our eyes are opened, and we see the warts of the other person. We recognize that some of his personality traits are actually irritating. Her behavioral patterns are annoying. He has the capacity for hurt and anger, perhaps even harsh words and critical judgments.

Welcome to the real world of relationships, where, all too often: hairs in the sink, little white spots in the mirror, and arguments that center on which way the tissue paper comes off and whether the toilet lid should be up or down.

In those early days you felt your "love tank" was full. Your partner made regular deposits in your love tank, you felt appreciated and understood. What happened? You have entered the world of "real love". Real love involves an act of will, it is a conscious choice and requires discipline, and it recognizes the need for personal growth.

Partners long to feel affection and love from their companion. We feel secure when we are assured that our partner accepts us, wants us, and is committed to our well-being. That means your partner makes regular deposits in your love tank to assure a conscious and committed relationship prevails.

When your partner's emotional love tank is full he feels secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your partner will move out to reach his highest potential in life. But when the love tank is empty and he feels used and not loved, the whole world looks dark and he will likely never reach his potential for good in the world.

The 5 distinct Love Languages are:

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Physical Touch

Receiving Gifts

Acts of Service

A brief explanation of each follows:

Words of Affirmation: including using words that build the person up such as compliments, words of appreciation, encouraging words, and kind words. This language requires empathy and seeing the world from your partner's perspective; learn what is important to them and join them there.

Quality Time: the basis is “wanting” your partner's attention (undivided attention), you want him/her to give you time, to focus on you, to do things with you. It also includes quality conversation where you can share your feelings, expectations, experiences, and thoughts. And this language involves "quality activities" spending time that is meaningful together.

Physical Touch (of, the good part): holding hands, kissing, hugging, a gentle massage of the shoulders (or other body parts), and sexual intercourse are all ways of communicating physical affection. A tip: your partner is the best instructor for the type of touch he or she prefers. So learn the dialect!

Receiving Gifts: gifts are visual symbols of love and symbols that have emotional value. Gifts may be purchased, made, or even found. Some couples choose to give themselves as gifts. A husband recently gave his wife a gift of two hours of his time for the Honey Do List!

Acts of Service: doing things you know your partner would like you to do is an act of service. The potential list varies as much as the person you are trying to please. Actions of love can be taking out the trash, sweeping the floor, clearing off the table, putting the children to bed, or drawing a warm bath on behalf of the other.

So take the time to discuss these languages with your partner. Can you guess the top two your partner prefers? Sit down and rank them with #1 being your favorite. Then give your partner a list of five for each language, let these examples fuel the warmth between you!

Best of luck and love.


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