Have you ever gone out of your way to do something nice for your partner, only to be greeted with a ho-hum response that baffled you?  You might be speaking different love languages! 

Did you know there’s an actual love language test that can tell you which dialect you prefer?

But wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. You’re probably still wondering what the heck we mean by “love language” in the first place. Let me explain.

In his New York Times best selling book, The 5 Love Languages longtime relationship counselor Dr. Gary Chapman uses the phrase to describe the way in which people express and interpret love.

And while yes, the book can get a little corny at times, the core concept is solid and can really change the way you view your relationships.

Dr. Chapman believes that when there’s unhappiness in a relationship, the root cause is often that each partner is speaking a different love language.

 

Love Language Test:

 

While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, Chapman identified five emotional love languages.

These are the ways that people speak and understand emotional love.

Chapman firmly believes each person has a primary and secondary love language. You can take the love language test on his website to determine yours.

 

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Chapman also suggests that people tend to give love to others in the way they want to receive love.  

The trouble is, since we don’t always share the same primary love language preference as our partner, we may be communicating our love in French… while he or she wants to hear it in Spanish.

This can cause a disconnect between partners that leaves people feeling unappreciated, misunderstood, and ultimately unloved.

But if we know and understand our partner’s primary love language, then we can empathize with them and start speaking in a way we both can understand.

Makes you want to take the love language test to find out yours, doesn’t it?

What exactly are the five love languages? We’ll break it all down for you.

 

love language test
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The Five Love Languages:

 

1. Words of Affirmation

Expressing affection through spoken words of praise, appreciation, or affection.  

For people who prefer words of affirmation, hearing “I love you”, or “I’m proud of you” and other compliments are what they value most.

The reverse it also true. For words people; cutting remarks, criticisms, and negative comments hurt deeply and are difficult to forget.

 

2. Receiving Gifts

For some people, gifting is symbolic of love and affection.  

This doesn’t mean the person is materialistic, it means selecting a meaningful and thoughtful present is how they express love.

Receiving thoughtful little ‘gifts’ just because makes them feel loved and appreciated in return.

 

3. Acts Of Service

For service people, actions speak louder than words. They do favors for people as a way to express love. To them, lending a helping hand is the ultimate sign of affection.

It makes sense then that these people are also very hurt by broken commitments and laziness on the part of their partners.

If you don’t return the favor, or pitch in around the house, you’re saying you don’t value them.

 

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4. Quality Time

For time people the ultimate way to express your love is by giving your undivided attention. They want you to carve out time, free from distractions, just for them.

Postponed dates, not actively listening, and tardiness are all hurtful to these types of people.

 

5. Physical Touch

For these people, appropriate touch is what makes their heart sing.

It can be sexual (but it doesn’t have to be). Cuddling, holding hands, kissing, a hand on the shoulder, any kind of reaffirming physical touch is what makes these people feel loved.

They also love to touch their partner and express their love often in this way.

 

love language test
Getty Images

 

Putting The 5 Love Languages Into Practice:

Understanding these languages and where you and your partner fall in terms of preference gives you some new tools to help you understand each other better.

If you know what your partner cares about, it can help you see the “why” behind some of their behaviors so you can relate to them in more constructive ways.

 

Deepen Understanding

For example, if you’re a “words of affirmation” person, you may be constantly complimenting a partner and telling them you love them and feel hurt when they don’t reciprocate.

But if you come to realize that your partner is actually an acts of service person, you’ll start to see that they are reciprocating… by doing the dishes, changing your oil, etc..

This is their love language! You hadn’t heard it because you were speaking a different dialect.

Once you understand your partner’s service preference, you might compliment them less, and help out around the house more (because action is more meaningful to them).

The reverse is also true. Your “acts of service” guy, once he knows how important words are to you, might start saying “I love you” more often.

 

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In my case, my husband is a physical touch person while I am a quality time person who isn’t known to be a “touchy-feely” type.

But understanding how he communicates his feelings has helped me loosen up and show more physical affection, because it matters to him.

While he, in turn, goes out of his way to plan date nights with me because he knows I value couple time.

Small tweaks in how we interact have improved our overall relationship. We are both glad we took the love language test!

And that’s the real beauty of knowing each other’s love language. It gives you an opportunity to express your affection in the manner most meaningful to your partner.

It can also cut out a lot of misunderstandings and reduce feelings of ungratefulness.

 

Use All Five Languages In Your Relationship

Just because your partner favors one love language doesn’t mean you have to abandon all the others.

According to Dr. Chapman, even though we have a preference for one, we still enjoy receiving the others. So don’t go cutting out the other four!  

My husband knows darn well that while I value time, I love kind words and gifts too. It’s not a all-or-nothing proposition.

Overall, love languages for couples are just a guide to help us understand our partners a little bit better. Understanding helps build intimacy and that is where real connection begins.

So what’s your preferred language? Take the love language test and find out.

 

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