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6 Steps to Understanding Love Languages

By Jay Shetty

Sometimes a relationship falls apart and you’re left not only heartbroken, but completely confused as to why things didn’t work out.

This sort of thing happens at some point to almost everyone on the planet. We all get disappointed by love in some way. It’s important to remember that being hard on yourself after the fallout is never the solution. 

Relationships are fragile things, and in order to make them work you need to have a deeper understanding of the 5 love languages. Let’s begin.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” is a book by Gary Chapman.

In the book, Chapman explains what he believes to be the five main languages people use to communicate love to one another: words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, and acts of service. 

Love Language 1: Words of Affirmation

Chapman states that any form of words will do— written or spoken— to fill the “love tank” of someone who appreciates words of affirmation. Being conscious and active in our words of praise and recognition is really fulfilling to some of us. 

Love Language 2: Physical Touch

Hugging, closeness, sitting together, holding hands, and even high-fives make a person whose love language is physical touch feel loved and accepted. Many of us feel the most loved when we’re hugged, when we’re embraced, and when we’re cared for physically.

Love Language 3: Receiving Gifts

Those with this love language deeply appreciate meaningful gifts, regardless of size or price. And it doesn’t always have to be a physical present. A gift can look like many different things— an object, a meal, a date, a thoughtful gesture— anything.

Love Language 4: Quality Time

Quality time is focused, intentional time spent giving your partner your full attention. This includes active listening, quality eye contact, and conscious effort on appreciating and prioritizing the other person. A great way to nurture quality time is to create a space where you can truly connect, free of anything that’s taking away your focus.

Love Language 5: Acts of Service

Some people feel most loved when they’re being served in a thoughtful, selfless way by their partner. Chores, odd jobs, making dinner, or watching the kids are a few examples of acts of service that can express love far more than words ever could.

Now that you know the 5 Love Languages, here are 6 steps to more deeply understanding them in your everyday life.

Step 1: Determine your own love language. 

What makes you feel good, safe, and cared for? Answer as thoughtfully and honestly as you can. Getting to know yourself better is the first step in understanding your partner on a deeper, more intimate level. 

Step 2: Know your partner’s love language.

Ask your partner the exact ways they want to be loved. Be upfront and direct. Trying to be as specific as possible in your communication will allow real progress to be made. 

Step 3: Return to your childhood.

For a lot of us, our love languages were determined long ago. The way we choose to love ourselves and others is often a direct result of the way our parents loved or didn’t love us. In order to more deeply understand this, try to reflect on your childhood in a meaningful, self-compassionate way.

Step 4: Go deeper.

Just ticking love language boxes doesn’t always cut it. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut doing the easiest form of your partner’s love language, but what’s required here is a little more complex. Approach your partner with consistent, authentic, and unconditional love. 

Step 5: Okay love is not good enough.

As you’re on this journey, remember that you deserve to be loved exceedingly well. If you feel your partner isn’t putting adequate effort into the relationship, don’t try to force things to work. Love that is just okay is not good enough. You are worthy of a partner who is willing to learn the ways in which you want to be loved. 

Step 6: Money can’t buy love.

There’s nothing that can substitute deeply understanding and loving your partner. Replacing connections with material things will never create a fulfilling, real relationship. What you need to give is your heart and your time— both of which cannot be bought.

Real love is figuring out how someone wants to be taken care of, and then loving them in that exact way. 

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