Unpacking & Understanding Love Languages


Izzy Welch

“Knowing what makes you feel loved can help to create more meaningful and genuine relationships.”

Being able to understand your own and recognize how others give and receive love is very important when maintaining relationships. Whether the relationship is a romantic relationship or a friendship, valuing and listening to the other person is a key detail in healthy relationships.

There are five different types of love languages; words of affirmation, acts of service, gift-giving, quality time, and physical touch. Now, it can be difficult to not only break down what each of these love languages entails, but to also understand the difference between what people give out and what people enjoy receiving. The way someone shows their love to you might not be how they prefer to be loved. Having that conversation with a loved one about what makes them feel appreciated and loved can improve a relationship greatly.

The first love language is words of affirmation. If someone gives out words of affirmation to those around them, there are some important things you can do to ensure that they feel like you care about what they are saying. You should never belittle someone’s thoughts by ignoring them or not taking those words to heart. Often if someone expresses their love to you through spoken or written words, they just want you to absorb and appreciate what they are saying.

Acts of service are the next love language. Some common examples of how we provide acts of service to those in our everyday lives can be something as simple as helping your parents carry the groceries in from the car. Though this can be a small act, it is about the thought behind it. People who prefer to receive love through acts of service, often appreciate the thing you do as well as feel loved when they think about the thought behind that kind act.

Although we all love getting gifts, some people primarily seek love through gift-giving. This language goes hand in hand with acts of service in my mind. This is because, there is less thought of ‘Oh wow I really love this gift,’ and more thoughts of ‘Oh wow, they were thinking about me.’ Giving gifts to someone solidifies to them that you were thinking about them. The giving and receiving end of gift giving is very similar. Often, people show their love by giving gifts because it is their way of expressing their love. They can see things that remind them of other people, and show their appreciation through small meaningful gifts.

Quality time is something we all cherish with those we love. People who prefer to spend quality time with their loved ones embody the next love language. Quality time can be as simple as an invitation to hang out; this can be someone’s way of saying, ‘I miss you and want to see you.’ Those who long for memorable moments with others, do not care about what they’re doing together, but rather that they are together. Being in the presence of those who bring out the best in us, is a love measured in quantity rather than quality.

The fifth and final love language is physical touch– that human touch we all crave. To those who express or want to be loved through physical touch, the reassuring squeeze of a hand can mean more than words can say. After having a bad day, instead of talking or having to explain things, some people just yearn for a tight hug and a back rub. The touch of another human can speak louder than their words ever could.

While navigating through relationships in life, finding the tedious balance of your preferred love language can be difficult. Knowing what makes you feel loved can help to create more meaningful and genuine relationships. Being aware of the love your family members, friends, and partners need can also strengthen those relationships. Some people may not even know what the five love languages are, so take it upon yourself to educate those around you.