What’s your love language, and why should it matter?

Expressing love to someone can be difficult, but using the five love languages, it may be easier to understand your loved ones' affections.

Georgia Purcell
12th November 2021
Image: @PublicDomainPictures via PixaBay
Since the late 2010s, love languages have become a commonly discussed and compared personality description. I can’t count how many times I’ve sat with friends avoiding work by filling out twenty-question quizzes to find out how we express and experience love – but is any of it real?
Image: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman via Goodreads

The idea of love languages is fairly simple. It's the idea that people express love most strongly in one of five ways - either receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, or physical touch. Gary Chapman introduced the idea in his 1992 book The Five Love Languageswhich has now sold more than 12 million copies. At best, they’re a way to better understand your partner and friends, but at worst they’re a way to drive a division between you and friends.

I personally adore the idea of love languages. They’re a way to express to someone that you care for them – although as Chapman urges in his book the important love language is not your own, but the language others use to express their love towards you. I find it intriguing to try and work out the love languages of some of my best friends – one of my housemates expresses her love through physical touch, and I’ve never met anyone who can give a better hug. I feel like you learn so much about someone when you know their love language, as though it opens up a tiny window into their soul – and it helps you to make and maintain strong friendships. 

It’s easy to think that if you have opposing love languages to someone it will be impossible to form a meaningful relationship, but Chapman is adamant in his book that this isn’t the case.  His reasoning behind this is that once you know someone’s love language, you can adapt your actions to make sure you convey your feelings in a way that they can appreciate. There was a study done in 2000 which claimed that the five love languages can be a very effective way to help communication between couples, but only when ‘both spouses exhibit appropriate self-regulatory behaviours’ – when both you and your partner are able to acknowledge and appreciate each other’s way of expressing your love. 

Not only can you learn lots about your friends and partner through love language quizzes, but I found that I learnt loads about myself! Give this quiz a go and see what you end up with – you might surprise yourself! 

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