The Five Languages of Love

Just as people around the globe speak different languages, we also speak most fluently in the five different languages of love. When we communicate in a language in which our significant other is fluent, however, we strengthen the connection with our partner. 

Author Gary Chapman coined the phrase “love languages” in his 1995 book called “The Five Languages of Love.” According to Chapman, there are five primary love languages:

  1. Words of affirmation

  2. Quality time

  3. Physical touch

  4. Acts of service

  5. Gift-giving

The five languages of love explained

Words of affirmation

To love me is to talk to me.

People whose foundational love language is words of affirmation want to hear that you care for them through the spoken word. They like to be told that they are important to you through engaging in conversation as well as through your loving, appreciative tones of voice, and they will never tire of hearing you say, “I love you.” They feel most loved when their partner verbally expresses heartfelt feelings and appreciation.

Quality time

To love me is to spend time with me. 

Individuals fluent in this language feel most loved when the person they care about most spends time with them. This doesn’t mean that they want or expect to monopolize all of your time, but they do desire some dedicated, undivided attention as an expression of your devotion. Perhaps you two could take an evening walk, cook a meal together, go for a leisurely drive, enjoy your leisurely morning coffee, or go out to dinner at a restaurant you both like. 

Image credit Axelle B.

Image credit Axelle B.

Physical touch

To love me is to touch me.

Holding hands, hugging, sitting close to each other on the couch while watching television, touching his arm as you walk by him -- if your significant other speaks this particular love language, you can show him you care through touch. These sweet physical connections speak volumes to your partner, letting him know you are there and are demonstrating your affection to them through a gentle touch on their face, a peck on the cheek, or walking arm-in-arm.

Acts of service

To love me is to do things for me. 

When we do certain things that we know our loved one will appreciate, this is performing an act of service. If it is important to your partner to have a full tank of gas in his car, for you to grocery-shop as a couple, or to bring him a hot cup of coffee in the morning, these are small things you can do to show you care. These acts can be a smattering of small events done each day that, together, convey you are truly thinking about, and care deeply for, your partner.


To love me is to give me things.

People whose primary love language is gift-giving need something tangible that proves that they are loved. These gifts can be as simple as a heart-shaped rock, a beautiful flower from your garden, a delicious meal, or homemade cookies. If your partner speaks this language, it is important for them to “see” your love in a gift.

Although typically we speak multiple dialects, every person has a dominant love language that resonates most deeply with them.Chances are, your primary language isn’t the same as your partner’s. Many of us speak to others in the language in which we are most familiar, not realizing that your partner very well may not understand what we are trying to say. Because of this, it is vital that we discover his or her primary love language so that the expressions of our affection are both received and, more importantly, understood.

To learn the love language in which you and your mate are most fluent, you can take an online quiz. These love languages can (and should) also be spoken to children, parents, and other family members, as well as close friends. Speaking the language of those you love most creates relationships that last, while simultaneously building an enduring foundation of affection and appreciation.