What’s your love language?

Words: Rachel Grunwell

Hugging another human a little tight, and for longer than a minute, is like chocolate for my soul. And I drink up that feeling from friends, my kids and family whenever I can.

I used to find hugging a little awkward as a youth; I’ll blame my English parents. But now I’m a grown up, I know how much I love, and need, hugs, and so I give them out with any excuse. 
I also love to get them back. My friends know about my badass huggability. There’s no going past me without “a squeezing”. Hugs lift me up. They calm me and soothe me. They turn the corners of my mouth up. It’s a heart-connected thing. 

And it all comes back to my primary love language. I love physical touch. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate was published in 1992. Its author, Gary Chapman, outlines five ways to express and experience love between romantic partners that Chapman calls “love languages.” 

According to Chapman’s theory, each person has one primary and one secondary love language. He suggests that watching how a person expresses their love often indicates how they like to receive it. You can see how this can cause issues if the person on the receiving end has a different primary love language.

Therefore, working out exactly how you most like to feel loved is important to ponder so you can articulate your wants and needs exactly with your partner. Then they have a better shot at knowing what to do to help you feel loved and happy. Don’t make the mistake of hoping your partner will read your mind about what you want. Instead, communicate what you need. Be frank. Be specific. Be honest. If your partner ignores your wants and desires, then you can have a conversation about how to work on that.

And remember to return the favour. Ask your partner what helps them to feel most loved – it may not be what you expect. And then you can rise up to cater to their desires, too. Love languages is something I thought sounded a bit wu-wu and weird when I first looked at the concept. But if you step back and look at the idea, it makes sense.

Good communication is key to successful relationships at the end of the day. Taking the time to notice, listen and give attention to anyone will help with a deeper connection. And feeling connected helps underpin our wellbeing and happiness levels. 

So, have a think about your love language and what you need. Then ask loved ones about their primary love language, too. 

Meanwhile, even if your love language isn’t touch. I still recommend the emotional pulling power of a good hug.

Take time to think about what makes you feel most loved and ask your loved ones about theirs, too:

Words of affirmation 
This is all about the power of spoken words to show appreciation.

Acts of service 
Some people feel most loved with actions, rather than words. It could be something as simple like helping with the dishes.

Receiving gifts 
The person with this love language may like gifts without an occasion to celebrate.

Quality time 
Stop, pause and give your full attention to the person you love. Better still, do something with them that they dig.

Physical touch 
Reach out and connect. The power of touch can be so nurturing and healing to some people. They need it like a plant might need water to thrive. 

Rachel is a wellness expert and the author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.

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