Understanding which love language enhances relationships

Illustration by Darian Maroney

Miscommunication is one of the most common reasons for arguments in relationships. Whether with a best friend, partner or parent, misinterpretations of people’s intentions in words or actions is often the root cause.

Many arguments in a relationship revolve around demonstrations of love and romance. For instance:

  • a woman yelling at her partner for never bringing her flowers

  • a man feeling resentful and underappreciated for performing tasks around the house

Both of these examples are really caused by a misinterpretation of action.

A little insight into the motivations of others and oneself can often lighten up any resentful feelings one may have towards another person and ease future conflicts.

People most commonly demonstrate or need to receive love in at least one of the five following ways:

1. Words of affirmation

Whoever said actions speak louder than words was wrong — at least for people that use or need words of affirmation. People who fall into this category might like to hear things like, “I love you” or “Thank you for taking out the trash” or even “Your hair looks really nice today.” Simple lines or phrases can really make their day and make them feel loved.

2. Acts of service

On the opposite side is acts of service. For people that like or use this love language, actions in fact do speak louder than words. Performing a daily task that a partner may hate, like washing the dishes, can often show love and appreciation more than just positive words of affirmation.

3. Quality time

This is obviously about spending time with a special person, but it also includes having someone’s undivided attention. One-on-one time together can show people that their loved one cares enough to take time out of a busy schedule to be with them.

4. Receiving gifts

For people who fall under this category, receiving an unexpected gift like flowers or chocolate can often show how much a loved one cares. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate necessarily, but something that shows some amount of thought or effort.

5. Physical touch

This can include anything from holding hands or hugging to more intimate acts as well. For some, nothing shows how much someone loves or cares more than touch.

Not one of these love languages is better or worse or is more demonstrative or less. It’s a matter of people knowing themselves and their loved ones and making sure they know they are loved.

It’s most likely that a person has preference for many of these and often feels indifferent toward others.

People understanding themselves and how they show love, and how they would like to be shown that they are loved, is very important to minimizing miscommunication and increasing satisfaction in relationships.

Realizing that not everyone is going to need or appreciate every type, or even recognize a type as a way to demonstrate love, is important.

But it’s also recognized that loved ones can feel underappreciated or even unloved if their preferred way of receiving confirmation is not being performed.

Allison Galbreath can be reached at [email protected] or @agalbreath19 on twitter.